Did we say Mobiboo was the first commercial Voice over Wi-Fi service to be launched in the UK? Well now we’re not so sure we were right about that.
Established in 1999, aql started out life as a provider of internet based services such as hosting and domain registration. It was only later that it diversified to take advantage of the booming VoIP industry.
However, its first step into telecommunications was to offer SMS text messaging, a technical area that offers certain advantages for its current VoWLAN service as we will see later.
In addition to the more traditional VoIP services aql is also now offering a VoWLAN service according to this report.
The service is free with no monthly charges or set up fees and is currently available if you have a Nokia eSeries phone.
The neato thing about the service is that it is dead simple to sign up as you can be done it by just sending a text message with the word ‘Nokia’ to the company.
aql will then send back an auto-configuration message back to your phone and you’re done.
Unlike the Mobiboo service we reported on earlier, however, aql has not done any deals with hotspot providers, so you’re pretty much on your own in regards to setting up Wi-Fi access.
aql’s network interacts directly with embedded software in the eSeries handsets to enable able to auto-configuration so there’s no software to download and the service will be “up and running within minutes” according to the company.
On network calls are free, but calls to landlines and other mobiles incur additional charges. To make these off-network calls you need to pre-purchase credits to use the system, which is a bit of a pain, but this can either be done online or using your mobile phone by sending an SMS message.
Call rates are variable depending on whether they are during peak or off-peak times.
The service supports music on hold, call transfer, call forward, do not disturb, follow me call forwarding and you can view your history online. Also when you make a call the Caller ID will show up as your normal mobile phone number, which is pretty cool.
Subscribers can also pay extra for a geographic number if they prefer which is an additional £2 per month.