Mobile Voice Over Internet Protocol (Mobile VOIP) is here!
(Note: The Bobsled program flopped and – as far as I know – is no longer offered by T-Mobile.)
This article is presented only for archival purposes.
Last spring, T-Mobile introduced its “Bobsled™” VOIP service as an App for Facebook users. Due to some conflict in marketing, Facebook took issue and the app was removed after about a week. It was later reinstated but got little attention. Possibly because AT&T decided that they wanted to buy out (aka “merge”) their competitor. During the months of bickering about the merger, T-Mobile went into what appeared to be a “static” mode of operations. They did little to advance their technology or offer new & interesting services.
BUT… since truth and justice has prevailed and the AT&T / T-Mobile union is not going to happen, T-Mobile has awakened and started to be an active company again. They are beginning to roll out some unique services that will set the US’s 4th largest mobile provider apart from their larger competitors. One of the most interesting is their Bobsled VOIP service. On January 12, T-Mobile announced “enhanced and expanded functionality for its Bobsled™ by T-Mobile® service.”
The expanded Bobsled service is impressive. With apps for both Android and IOS (iPhone, iPad) devices, as well as support for Windows and Mac computer browsers, the service now reaches a LOT more people than previously (with only the Facebook app.) Also, according to T-Mo’s press release, the new service “provides users with free calling to any mobile or landline phone number in the U.S, Canada or Puerto Rico from inside or outside the U.S. from their desktop browser.” Another feature: free text messaging to anyone (or group) with a text-capable phone.
What is unique about Bobsled is that the service is provided (free) by a major cellular carrier! Why would T-Mobile offer a service that has the potential for reducing our dependence on traditional cellular service?
Bobsled vs GrooVe IP – So, will I be switching over from GrooVe IP to Bobsled? No. Bobsled provides inbound calls ONLY from other Bobsled users while GrooVe IP provides inbound calls from ANY phone. And, although you can make outbound calls to standard phones with Bobsled, the CallerID appears from “Bobsled” at an unrecognized number. If you call someone who does not accept calls from unknown callers, you may never make a connection.