Ready to do your talking over your television cable? It’s a possibility.
Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Calypso Wireless certainly thinks so. The company so far has one product, the C1250i cellular video phone, a handset that connects to GSM/GPRS or CDMA networks or to Wi-Fi networks. But the company would like to parlay that unit and the technology behind it, called ASNAP, into something cable companies can sell to their customers using broadband cable modems.
Telephone companies that provide broadband services are already getting into this market. Today SBC announced a Voice over IP (VoIP) service geared toward large enterprises.
According to Calypso, the ASNAP technology coupled with an access point and handset phone could be a “powerful new profit center for cable companies providing broadband.” Any end user at home with an ASNAP phone would be able to use it out on the road as a cell phone, but when they came inside the house, it could connect to the faster bandwidth of the access point using Wi-Fi. The account for the phone call would still reside with the mobile telco, but they could now do a revenue share with the cable provider. This would work at homes, offices, and at public hotspots.
This has the added benefit for the phone carrier of freeing up the heavily trafficked cell phone towers for other users, and lowering airtime charges for the users when they connect via Wi-Fi. The use of 11Mbps 802.11b Wi-Fi to connect also means some broadband features can be used on the phone — Calypso already uses Wi-Fi to show video on its own handset. Standard cellular connects only at a fraction of the speed, between 10 and 40Kbps. So called 3G (third generation) networks won’t get above 385Kbps.
All of this is preliminary, as Calypso hasn’t yet sold any products to the cable companies like Comcast, Charter, or Cablevision that they cite as potential customers.
Yesterday Calypso announced a field trial with Nocable SpA in Italy, using ASNAP to switch between Wi-Fi on Nocable’s WIND Telecomunicazioni SpA hotspot network (found at McDonald’s restaurants) and the GSM/GPRS on Telecom Italia’s mobile network. The trial will run for 30 days, and should start sometime in the next two months. Earlier this month, it did a similar demo in Miami using T-Mobile’s cellular network.