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VoIP for the iPhone - Services and Applications

Making Free and Cheap VoIP Calls over the iPhone


Have you considered VoIP for your iPhone? Many of you have been seduced by Apple's iPhone. One thing that will definitely improve your iPhone experience is to be able to make cheap, if not free, phone calls while using it. VoIP is the way to do that, and here are ways to make free and cheap calls on your iPhone to landline and mobile phones worldwide.

You can read more on the iPhone from our iPhone/iPod guide.


Woman talking on smartphone on street,smiling
Atsushi Yamada/Photodisc/Getty Images
Truphone is the earliest service to get VoIP on the iPhone. Truphone does really well here in terms of integration of the application with the iPhone interface and environment, and the quality of calls. The range of calling destinations at cheap is quite large, and the rates are interesting - around 3 pence (Truphone is British) to major destinations.


RF.com is an iPhone web application that works in 35 different countries to give users vastly expanded calling services wherever there is a cellular signal. A Wi-Fi connection is not necessary, unlike other iPhone VoIP solutions. With RF.com, you use your basic cell phone service, which is normally pinned down to your house, office or PC, to make calls while on the move using your mobile phone. You can also make voice calls to Skype, GoogleTalk, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and other IM-based voice calling services, even without an actual account with the service.


Vopium is a mobile VoIP service that offers cheap international calls through GSM and VoIP, without necessarily having a data plan (GPRS, 3G etc.) or Wi-Fi connection. If you do have any of the latter, you can make free calls to other users using the same networks. Vopium also offers new users 30 minutes free calls and 100 free SMS for trial.


Skype is late to the party but positions itself as one of the best. It offers traditional features like free calling to other Skype users, through 3G or Wi-Fi. Cheap calling to any phone worldwide can be done through SkypeOut, and received through SkypeIn. AT&T, the exclusive mobile service provider for the iPhone, at first blocked VoIP applications from operating with the iPhone, obviously for saving its interests since VoIP calls would be free or cheaper. Later on, after assessing consumers needs, they allowed VoIP over the iPhone and today, Skype can be used even over their 3G network.


Nimbuzz allows iPhone users to call for free over Wi-Fi, to another Wi-Fi phone or PC. It also supports voice and text chatting with other common instant messaging applications, a dozen of them.


Fring is one of the leader services providing VoIP for mobile phones. If you have VoIP on your mobile device, you can use it to make free calls to any person around the world who is using Fring as well, either on their mobile devices or their computer. Rates apply when calling to landline and cellular networks. Fring is also compatible with other VoIP services like Skype, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk and AIM. Skype users can also use Fring for SkypeIn and SkypeOut.


iCall goes one step further into iPhone integration by getting hold of the phone's internal address book, which can be very practical. What is more impressive is the ability to switch seamlessly to a Wi-Fi network during a call that started on a cell network. This move causes the cost to null down. Upon certain conditions, local calls to the US and Canada are free. While I am writing this, the application is still in beta version.


Jajah needs no softphone application. You access it through the iPhone's Safari browser, in which it sits on a toolbar, and use it to specify your callee's number. Then, Jajah calls you and when you answers, you are put through to your callee and your conversation can start. The strong point with Jajah is that it does not require a data network plan, which can be rather costly. No Wi-Fi either. The rates are cheap and can be paid as monthly flat rates.


Raketu works just like Jajah. No softphone is required. Some calls are free and the rates for the paid ones are quite low. You can buy prepaid credits for the call. Raketu's service also allow mobile users to send SMS and email for very cheap.


Talkety as well works like Jajah. You access it through the iPhone Safari browser and specify a number. What I find interesting with Talkety is the ability to make conference calls over your iPhone, with up to 50 participants. You will need a Pro account for that. Also, Talkety integrates so well with Apple's Mac OS that you can access the OS's address book through its Address Book Plugin.


Sipgate offers a softphone that allows you to make free and cheap calls locally and internationally on your iPhone over any Wi-Fi network. Yes, you will need a Wi-Fi connection. This will allow you to by pass roaming charges. Sipgate is open to services from any SIP provider. The service gives every new user 111 minutes free.


iPhonegnome is a web-based service that, like Sipgate, lets you use your iPhone to make calls through any SIP-based service, or common services like Yahoo, MSN and Google Talk. Phonegnome users can be called for free, and credit from your required Phonegnome account are used for calling other people.
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