Feb 4, 2012

Free Phone Service (Using an Internet Connection)

Read a helpful article by Ron Scheone today about apps that will help you make free (yes, FREE) calls using the internet. While most of these are new to me, and the concept itself still a bit mysterious, I am in full support of pursuing any alternatives to my out-of-sight ridiculouso infuriating highwayrobbery phone bill. (Every month that I pay AT&T, I feel a little piece of my soul die).
  • Viber for Apple and Android cellphones. Requires both the caller and the recipient to be Viber users, but allows free calls & texts. 
  • Fring for Apple and Android cellphones. Also offers group chatting. Uses the Internet for calling, texting, video chatting with up 4 people.
  • Google Voice   
  • Tango  A very popular & highly rated free voice and video application that supports devices and laptop computers: Apple iPad, iPod, and iPhones, Windows Phones, laptop, Android phones and tablets
  • Skype VoIP (Voice Over IP) Internet calling. Free and paid services for all devices, all device companies and also OS X, Linux, and Windows computers.  
  • MagicJack allows free phone calls from your Apple iPad, iPod, and iPhone. Call quality is mediocre; within range of a Wi-Fi signal or if you have 4G, you need to make the call through an access number that MagicJack provides.  Also in the next four months MagicJack will release "Femtocell" (doesn't that kinda sound like a pharamecutical release?) which will allow cellphone users to make calls through their broadband service via Wi-Fi and circumvent existing cell tower systems. This will help users of GSM phones make phone calls without charging minutes to their accounts.
So, with so many options, which one should we pick?  While it does feel a bit overwhelming, the good news is, they're all FREE, so there's no harm in trying any of them.  If we don't like it, we can always uninstall it and try the next one!

Are you using any of these services?  How was it?  Would you recommend it?  I would be interested to hear about peoples' experiences...

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