Rogers One Rocks… Skype back on its heels.

On Wednesday, Rogers Wireless released as beta a game changing free service. If you have a Rogers mobile phone, install “One Number” immediately! (www.rogersonenumber.ca). I’ve used it more than a dozen hours in the past two days and it is changing my view of telephony and VoIP. Rogers One has replaced my desk phone.

Once you install the Mac service (also available for windows and presumably soon for iOS and android) all calls to your mobile phone will simultaneously ring on your laptop. In fact, most incoming calls are missed by my iPhone 4 altogether but now I know about it because they ring on my laptop. The voice quality is astounding, throwing in sharp contrast the pathetic reliability of Skype. I never would have imagined hour after hour of perfect audio without a single dropped call over the Internet.

Skype offers video (unreliably, and it often compromises audio quality), has far superior echo cancelation, and is terrific for multi-party conference calls, but bugs in recent releases across all operating systems has made it near unusable, and the insane pricing complexity since the Microsoft acquisition has me actively shopping for alternatives.

The big win is having a single number; that I’m no longer saying, “can you call me back on my landline?” Even better, I can switch a call from cell to VoIP or back again without missing a syllable, ideal on those long conference calls when I need to hop in the truck to start for a meeting while continuing to listen.

The killer value will be out of country use, where I’m now in the habit of turning off my mobile due to the roaming extortion we’ve come to expect from Canadian carriers. No longer will I even need to toggle call forwarding on and off when crossing the border.

Now if only there was a simple way to buy a reasonably priced data plan while roaming…

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