Telecommunications giant O2 has launched a new app for iOS, Android, and Windows 7 (desktop) that will allow people to make and receive calls and texts via VOIP from up to five devices on their own number. This means that O2 subscribers will be able to use their phones for calling and texting when they have WiFi but no 2G/3G signal, and when someone calls them they can answer it on a number of different devices.
O2 claims the aim of the app is to free people from a single device, and to be able to start using all their devices in unison for communication – a useful change when more and more of us now switch between our smartphones, tablets, and laptops all day.
The company aren’t just releasing this out of the goodness of their hearts though, the telecommunications industry is having to find new and ingenious ways to replace dwindling revenues in the face of growth of companies like Skype which offer free user-to-user calls over WiFi or 3G. With phone networks generating the majority of their profits by charging people for minutes and texts rather than just the data bandwidth of that communication – creating a a link between people’s phones and a VOIP connection for all devices is a clever move. And the minutes and texts subscribers use up through the Tu Go app are counted as part of their monthly tariff.