Data only phone contract? Is it time?

I'm thinking about buying a smartphone cash (Xperia Z3 perhaps). With this I'll get mobile data from axxess for R139 a month (gives me 3,5 g). If my calculations are correct I'll save in excess of R5000 over a 24 month period.

My 2 questions are: can I receive calls on a data only contract and when will I be able to call people on ios and bb through what's app?

Would love to hear all your thoughts..


  • @schmeve I wouldn't hold your breath for WhatsApp or iOS to introduce internet call to cell phone number right now, but there's tons of apps that can make and receive calls using VOIP. Search for anything with the acronym SIP in its description, or go for the big gun - Skype. Sjype has supported this through Skype In and Skype Out forever.

    Businesses around the world do this all the time in fact, and many have a single app for communications (Avaya, Linq etc) which handles everything from IM to email to calls over IP. The buzzword is Unified Communications.

    Couple of thoughts on the viability though:
    - Call cost. This may work out to be cheaper for outgoing calls to landlines and mobiles - but you'll also have to pay for incoming calls. That could get expensive, and remember you will also pay for the data used in call - although that's a fairly trivial charge unless you're using video.

    - Call quality. This is more of a problem for me. Right now in SA, if you're in an area with a decent 3G or LTE signal VOIP is fine over mobile data. The trouble is that this is still the exception rather than rule. I'm in the bush right now with very patchy reception, but it's better than when I'm in the Joburg CBD...

    Having said that, there's some really exciting stuff I know about but can't write about just yet coming through. Suffice to say that "carrier grade wifi" is becoming a bussword which translates as VOIP calls over WiFi hotspots that can make and receive calls - often for free - in exactly the same way and quality as on the voice cell networks... This time next year, who knows what we'll have.

    * apologies for any inaccuracies or vaguaries in this - I'm on holiday atm but will research this properly when I get back.
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