The enterprise mobility company Agito Networks has introduced a VoIP-over-3G system that it says can make international calling cheaper on handsets including the iPhone.
Agito has a portfolio of unified communications products, comprising datacentre appliances and mobile clients, that let people make Wi Fi-based internet telephony calls. The portfolio is designed to help companies make calls more cheaply than if they were using operators' voice networks.
Agito Global Enterprise, announced on Monday, will also allow users to make such calls over 3G mobile data networks.
The new offering adds support for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, and for the BlackBerry 9700 range. Nokia's E-series and N-series smartphones are also supported, although this support existed before Monday's announcement.
To underpin its Global Enterprise product, Agito introduced a new datacentre appliance, the RA6000 Series Mobility Router. This appliance scales up to 10,000 users, which is 10 times the maximum number of users supported by previous Agito appliances.
Pejman Roshan, Agito's founder and marketing chief, said on Wednesday that the company had decided to include 3G support because operators' 3G networks have become "more robust" in the past few years.
Operators now tend to offer enterprise customers "flat-rate plans or reasonably priced metered plans so that you can continue to do email when you travel abroad", he said, adding that running voice on these plans is more cost-effective than paying roaming voice charges.
3G data prices have come down drastically over recent years, thanks to regulatory intervention, and stand at around €1 (87p) per megabyte. However, usage is relatively expensive while roaming in Europe, compared with using 3G networks in the home country.
Some operators offer daily or weekly flat-rate packages for roaming data. Within Europe, for example, Vodafone offers 25MB of usage for £5 a day.
Asked how it could be cheaper to make calls over a foreign 3G data network than on a per-minute voice-roaming basis, Roshan said Agito's codecs — with bit-rates starting at just 5Kbps — meant 50 minutes of calling would equate to around 7MB to 10MB of data.
Roshan advised turning off the push functionality for other applications on the user's smartphone when roaming. That will allow customers to avoid using up data when those apps carry out automatic updates or perform other tasks.
Agito Global Enterprise will be made available in March. The new RA6000 Series appliance will cost $15,000 (£9,000), including a perpetual licence, while a one-time client licence payment starts at $64 per user for 5,000 users or more.