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more on now talking about cellular ripoff
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 19:04:41 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Brad Templeton <btm () templetons com>
Date: November 29, 2006 5:20:13 PM EST
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Cc: ip () v2 listbox com
Subject: Re: [IP] now talking about cellular ripoff

On Tue, Nov 28, 2006 at 07:37:32PM -0500, David Farber wrote:
Say I am in Tokyo and someone rings my 1412 cell number in the USA.
My cell phone rings and I see it is not an important call so I either
reject it or don't answer.

Still I get billed $1.99 for a 1 minute call UNLESS I power off my

Thats T-mobile. RIP OFF

Dave, almost all international cellular stuff is a rip off.  Because
you don't have a choice of carrier, you get old monopoly thinking.

When I visit a country for more than a very short time, I buy a local
SIM card for my unlocked phone and get a local number and get local,
competative(*) prices.

The wise thing is to not give out your mobile number and tell people
to call a modern, internet controlled number which you forward to
whatever purpose you like.   Including forwarding to the number of
your current local SIM, possibly with a brief time-zone warning to
the caller -- "I'm travelling and the time where I am is now 1 AM and
I am probably asleep.  Press 1 to ring me."   Such forwarding tends
to cost 1-2 cents/minute to landlines.

(With more work or a nice UI you could even have it forward to your
hotel while in it to avoid high cellular rates if you don't have
a local SIM.  Or use a VoIP service with softphone and the calls
would come to your laptop when it's on, to your cell when it's
not.  Or try the company trufone which makes calls come to your
Nokia E91 over Wifi when it is connected to that, regular cell when

In the reverse, there are companies springing up to arbitrage the
high long international distance prices all carriers charge.  One
called jajah.com lets you use a bank of local numbers (which you put
in speed dials) to call your international friends, at tiny VoIP
rates instead of $1/minute cell rates.  Costs $1/week when you use it.

Since I have a VoIP phone with Asterisk, I have given myself a toll
free number which only costs 2 cents/minute when I or others call it.
If you call it you reach me.  If I call it from my cell phone, I
can speed-dial my friends or get an outgoing dial-tone to call anywhere
in the world -- requires a pass number because caller-id can be
spoofed -- at the penny/minute rates real people pay for long distance.

The walls are coming down in the pricing of telephony, as they should.
Thanks to the internet, once again.

(*Except in one area. Much of the world uses a "caller pays for airtime"
pricing model instead of the Usa/Canada/few others "cell phone owner
pays for airtime" model.   Many Europeans love their model, incorrectly
dubbed 'free incoming calls' but in fact it's highly destructive because
the caller paying the fee has no role in negotiating it, meaning
no competition, meaning it stays obscenely high.  It also makes number
portability, an important competitive function, impossible.  But that's
another thread, see my blog for arguments about the controversial topic
of which billing regime is better.)

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  • more on now talking about cellular ripoff David Farber (Nov 30)
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