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Apr 26

sipgate one beta launching in Germany

Sipgate LogoIn this blog post I will try to note my impressions about sipgate one in Germany.  If you’re from the United States, it had just launched and is free for everyone to register.

Around last year, I read about a service from the United States preparing to launch in Germany.

Its name: sipgate one.
The idea: Forwarding a  call to your mobile phone, your land line or your Skype account.

Just some days ago, I got my invite for sipgate one’s beta. The signup process was really easy, the longest part was choosing an eligible phone number.

What’s sipgate one?

As I just said, you first get one mobile phone number starting with 01570. Afterwards, you can set up your private phone numbers and your Skype account, where a call should be forwarded to.

Additional features like voicemail and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android are also available. I disabled voicemail, never understand its sense. However, just for the sake of completeness, you can use a standard text, record your own or upload a pre-recorded mp3-file. A convenient feature is the possibility to forward calls with a suppressed number directly to your voicemail.

Incoming calls and SMS are free. The caller has to pay his providers’ costs for a normal mobile call/SMS. I was surprised, that also the caller’s phone number is displayed correctly. Only in Skype it shows up like this:

Skype notification for a call by sipgate-incoming-call

Skype notification for a call by sipgate-incoming-call

At least, you get the phone number instantly in a text message.

So, you say it’s free. But how do they finance this service?

Yes, incoming calls and the phone number is free (April 26, 2011). But sipgate offers a wide range of other services like VoIP for private and business purposes or trunking to PBX systems. And even for you, for outgoing calls and SMS you have to pay. Additionally, you may be bound to sipgate, because you don’t want to tell your contacts a new telephone number every day. The last is your private decision, in all other questions it should be clear that they have a finance concept.

What about privacy?

I’m definitely not a lawyer, but the privacy statement (German) looks quite transparent to me. Your personal data won’t be used more than required (for billing or similar), according to German jurisdiction. You can save incoming calls in your itemized bill properties to none, anonymized (shorten by three numbers) and all. SMS won’t be deleted until you do this. For a call, they use the SIP-protocol as for example Skype does also.

What do I miss?

Sadly, I can only charge balance in 10 € steps. I would appreciate a free choice of the amount of money to charge. At least, you have many options to pay: PayPal, credit card, credit transfer or debit. Another nice-to-have feature are time-orientated profiles. So I could automatically forward calls only to mobile phone while working hour and enable land line and Skype in the evening. At night I don’t want to get calls to this number.

Why do I need this?

My primary intention for signing up was to have one “public” number to give out to acquaintances or companies. My private number is only for closest friends and family.  Also sending an SMS is cheaper than from my provider, and furthermore international calls.

Moreover, you are always reachable without giving someone different phone numbers and in case you’re really unreachable, you just have to listen to one mailbox. Another advantage is having all your contacts in one place. Neither you lose your contacts if your phone may be lost nor you have to sync all your telephones to have all numbers available. And at last: It’s free. ;-)

I don’t think that sipgate one is a must-have, but in my opinion it could improve your daily life – if you trust them. So, if you do and want to participate the beta, this month I still have an invites left. Anyone?

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