TCD team starts trials of new low-cost mobile phone system

1 Aug 2008

A project team based at the department of computer science at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has developed new software which it says could lead to consumers being able to make low-cost mobile phone calls from anywhere in the world.

Codenamed ‘Metakall’, this is the first software of its kind in the world, according to TCD. It uses public wireless hotspots and the internet as the network infrastructure.

During a month-long trial, starting today, users will be able to download call credit to try out the new system.

Users first have to register for the trials on and will receive scratch codes, which can then be converted to call credit. In turn, the call credit can be used to make mobile calls using Skype, Fring, SIP or any of the widely used internet phone systems.

“The possibilities for this new technology are huge. For the first time, users will be able to make low-cost calls from any part of the world using a handset or other mobile device, and will be able to seamlessly roam from one wireless hotspot area to another,” said Professor Donal O’Mahony, Metakall project director.

The Metakall project team secured €400,000 in funding from Enterprise Ireland last year for the initial development of the new technology. Now, the centre is looking to partner with handset vendors and manufacturers as well as wireless hotspot operators to commercialise the software and bring the service to market.

“As an alternative to cellular telephony, Metakall will open up new revenue streams for firms in the mobile industry, such as operators of Wi-Fi hotspots, and will boost the demand for low-cost handsets. With the right support, this service can be rolled out worldwide over a very short time period,” said O’Mahony.

By Sorcha Corcoran