Many ITSPs issue their users numeric account numbers. Sometimes these look like normal phone numbers (IdeaSIP), but other times (FWD) not so much. As more-or-less a traditional phone the A58H handset was only able to dial-by-numbers. In both cases mentioned dialing within the same service, ex between two FWD accounts, supported wideband calling.
To dial from one service (ITSP) to another I had to resort to normal phone numbers. Since that’s dialing via the PSTN only narrowband calling was possible.
I suggested to Gigaset that dialing by SIP URI would be a welcome addition to the phone. It would allow dialing between ITSPs while sustaining an end-to-end IP connection. This could be accomplished by extending the handsets contact list to accept alpha numeric SIP URIs as well as purely numeric contact details.
My contact at Gigaset seemed receptive to the idea. Time will tell if this capability is added through a future firmware release. It’s worth noting that the handsets now have a mic mute feature as a direct result of customer requests. I suspect that the moment of launch into the US market is a time when they are paying close attention to what North American users desire.
Speaking of the contact list, you can provision each handset with contacts using standard vcard files. The web management portal supports loading and exporting the contacts list. I found that when importing contacts the phone adds them to the existing list. They also provide a simple means of wiping the contact list so that you can reload the entire set, avoiding loading duplicates.
I did find the contact import/export to be inconsistent. To be specific, the handset would export a contact with several numbers per contact, corresponding to home, office & mobile numbers. That same vcard file when imported resulted in four separate contacts, each with only one number attached. This inconsistency I reported to Gigaset, who are considering the matter in their ongoing firmware development.
Gigaset provides each phone with an account on their Gigaset.net SIP service. Thus with zero setup effort all Gigaset users already have a means of IP-based calling. This can be very handy, especially when gifting phones to non-technical family members. I plan to give a system to my parents shortly. I hope that this will yield both higher call quality and reduced long distance costs.