- Cheap mobile international rates
- Usability everywhere, even where there is no Internet connection
- Easy to install and use
- Free calls between Truphone users, using Wi-Fi or 3G
- Works for iPhone and BlackBerry
- Possibility to make cheap calls even outside a Wi-Fi hotspot and without a data plan
- Service only supports a few high-end phones
- Does not on wireless networks other than Wi-Fi
Calls through Wi-Fi between Truphone users are free and unlimited. Charges apply when you make calls to other landline and mobile phones.
The rates are relatively low. Calls start for as low as 6 cents per minute, and prices hover around that for a set of common locations, known as the Tru Zone; but prices may go up to above a dollar for remote locations. For heavy international mobile callers, this can represent a save of around 80%. Truphone's rates are not the lowest on the mobile VoIP market - there are services that charge as low as 1 cent per minute, but these services have some rather consequent initial investments, such as a device or a monthly subscription. Truphone operates mainly on a pay-as-you-go basis - you top up and control your credit through their web site. This makes it therefore very competitive.
Truphone Anywhere allows you to use the service even outside a Wi-Fi hotspot, using your GSM network partly, the cost including the Truphone cost and that of the local GSM call. This small price addition gives perfect mobility anywhere.
The American TruSaver bundle gives 1000 minutes for calls to the US and Canada for $15. Anyone in the world can register for this bundle, but they can only make calls to the US and Canada with it. That's 1.5 cents a minute, but only if you use all of the 1000 minutes a month. Monthly leftovers are gone.
To get started with Truphone, visit their site, where you select your country and enter your phone number. You will be sent an SMS containing your download link, through which you will download the application on your compatible mobile itself and install it there. Once installed, you are already able to make a first free call with the free dollar credit you get. You can then carry on with your account for topping up credits. The installation process is really simple and easy. Using the application is also quite easy.
The Truphone application installed on your mobile phone integrates the phone well and works alongside the mobile user's GSM service. The application is kind of smartly versatile - in case you are out of Wi-Fi connection, you are asked whether to use your GSM service or that of Truphone for making calls and sending SMS.
If you are within a Wi-Fi hotspot, your phone uses the Internet connection to make and receive calls through the Truphone application. If you have no Internet connection, Truphone uses a mechanism called Truphone Anywhere, whereby your call is channelled partly through your GSM network until it reaches an Internet access point, from where it is routed to your callee over the Internet.
Truphone has been the first to develop an application and service for the iPhone, so most iPhone users who want to save money on phone calls have to consider it as a first option. Using VoIP over BlackBerry isn't very common as well, and as I am writing this, very few ways of doing so exist. Truphone service for BlackBerry comes to fill a large gap.
On the other hand, users of 'normal' (not to say low-end) mobile phones cannot use Truphone service as only very few models are supported. At the time I am writing this, only iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia phones are supported. Would you believe they don't have an application for Sony Ericsson? Moreover, only a very small subset of phone models in each of these makes are listed in the service's list of supported devices. The supported phones are mostly business phones, like the Nokia E and N series. The Truphone web site says they are working hard on including other phone models into their list. So keep checking, specially if you have a high-end phone like a Sony Ericsson, HTC or Google phone.
In terms of connectivity, Truphone is limited to Wi-Fi. There is no support for 3G, GPRS or EDGE networks. But 3G support is coming soon.