A select group of some 5000 beta customers in North America can now make and receive international VoIP calls through Skype, GoogleTalk, SIP, and many VoIP services for the cost of a local cell phone call with the RF Dialer from Ring Free Mobility, Inc.
Ask the developers behind RF.com, makers of the multi-platform calling service designed to enhance the phone capabilities of the iPhone, and they will tell you reports of the death of the web app are greatly exaggerated.
The SanFrancisco-based company’s application allows users to make Internet calls over their cell phone’s GSM network. RF Dialer is the first iPhone application that allows SIP URI calls, integrating with thousands of SIP-based VoIP telephone providers and IP-based PBXes (such as the popular open=source Asterisk PBX and Communigate Pro.), allowing business users to utilize their iPhone as a direct PBX extension.
Here’s how it works (after registering with RF, providing your email address, country of service, mobile carrier and Caller ID):
1. You dial a number, or enter a user name, SIP URI, etc., on the RF Dialer, and click “Call”;
2. Using any kind of data connection (Edge, 3G or WiFi — it doesn’t matter as it’s only a small bit of data being sent) and encrypted HTTP, the RF Media Server is sent a call request: your cell phone number, RF password, call destination, and calling service used (i.e.: Skype, GoogleTalk, your own VoIP provider, straight SIP calling, etc.);
4. The RF Media Server answers the call knowing it’s you through caller-ID; and immediately makes the connection to the desired call destination stored in its queue.
RF is currently in beta with customers in the US and Canada and plans to go live in Europe sometime in August.
“We use the right technology for the task at hand,” according to RF founder Marcelo Rodriguez. “The calls we facilitate are transmitted via the carriers’ voice network. Our users have mobile access to Skype, GoogleTalk, MSN, Yahoo, etc., and the carrier is reimbursed for that access. It’s a perfect partnership.”