Free mobile calls? Gimme, gimme...
It may take some time (like never) to reach first world countries, but - more importantly - developing ones have been given a boost this week by Swedish company TerraNet which has announced it has devised a way to bring cheap calling and wide-scale networks to underprivileged masses and those living in remote locations.
The ingenious discovery works without a base station and uses a twist on Peer2Peer technology with handsets adapted to function as peers that can route data or calls for other phones in the network. Consequently, the mobiles also work as nodes extending the reach of the entire network by approximately 1km per handset. Data charges? Not really, the collaborative routing of calls means there is virtually no detectable usage between handsets and, besides, you are the network!
Yep, I'm impressed too.
Everyday usage is simple too: switch a TerraNet adapted phone on and, like P2P software, it begins to search for other TerraNet phones. When found they connect and expand the network allowing more and more TerraNet capable mobiles to be added. Consequently, the theory is phones can form their own networks in remote areas and third world countries and - in direct opposition to the usual way of doing things - the more handsets in use the better the call quality and wider the coverage.
Limits to the technology however are that only TerraNet's specifically developed handsets work with the system and the (predictable) opposition from large networks worried about the potential impacts on their GSM based business models (ever-lasting light bulb anyone?). On the upside Sony Ericsson has lent its backing to the scheme which certainly sounds like it has legs.
Go on fellas, don't let the collective weight of one hundred multinational monoliths get you down. TR is behind you!