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Wifi phones

Dec 2005

This news about Philly’s metropolitan wifi LAN (MOWLAN) experiment isn’t new news. They’ve been talking about it for years. I came across the story a few years ago when I was researching a new idea that has yet come into fruition.

My idea was to eradicate cellphone networks and replace cellphones with wifi phones. Phones that work using VOIP.

I was inspired by the development of MOWLANS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where there is currently the world’s largest MOWLAN. Wifi phones would allow calls to other wifi phones to become absolutely free and calls to land-line phones or cellphones anywhere in the world to be cut as much as 50%. Wifi phones use practically the same technology to communicate by voice as you do using Skype.

Wifi phones aren’t new. Currently, they work exclusively with hotspots like the ones at Starbucks or the ones being established by more and more offices. There are two things holding back the development of wifi phones.

First, there is the lack of network coverage. But with the creation of MOWLANS, this is becoming a moot point. Already, MOWLANS have been established in small towns in the US where cabling is harder to setup and maintain than an internet connection via satellite.

Second (and this was the problem with the establishment of wifi phones in Malayia), the cellphone companies are too powerful. They blocked any talk of wifi phones and the spread of MOWLANS using threats of legal action.

So far, the Philly story hasn’t spoken a single word about wifi phones. But I’m pretty sure that VOIP companies like Vonage are already on the ball.


  1. # JLT on December 7th, 2005

    The Wi-Fi idea is definately coming. I wish it would hurry up and get here. I think at the same time they should go wireless all over the major cities, which they could use the same equipment.

  2. # Possumlad on December 14th, 2005

    I like the way you think. It would make more, sense, however to move the entire operation (web, phone calls, etc) to Wireless broadband networks, such as the EV-DO 3G network i currently run on my Verizon Treo 650. The problem, of course, is price, but this is bound to go down as wireless companies compete for broadband subscriptions-phone calls, especially, will get cheaper and cheaper as the profits come more and more from wireless broadband internet. We should be moving away from land line broadband, not towards it.

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