Calling people in other countries was once an expensive, confusing and low-quality experience but technological advances have chipped away most of the problems to make it quick, clear and easy on almost any device you could imagine.
The telcom company, Vonage has just announced the launch of a mobile application that allows people to make low cost calls to anyone in another country that also has the application downloaded.
This newest application and its international calling feature appears to be another jab at pulling customers from the popular application and web service Skype.
While this isn't the first stab at mobile applications that the Internet calling company has made, this one looks like it could be a viable solution for people talking with friends and family overseas.
The app, which works over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G wireless data networks, allows users internationals calls with rates that average 70% lower than major mobile carriers and 30% lower than Skype -- when compared to per minute rates.
With the Vonage Mobile app, users can add calling credit from the app, through iTunes or Android Market, in increments of $4.99 and $9.99. The app also utilizes the phone’s existing mobile number and contact list so that you don't have to juggle and add new usernames for a new service.
While you don't need to be a Vonage customer to use the app and get the low rates, there are perks for Vonage members -- calls to any Vonage home or business lines are free.
“Vonage Mobile consolidates the best features of our prior applications, while adding important functionality, better value and improved ease of use,” said Marc Lefar, CEO of Vonage, in a statement. “It combines the best of free high-def voice and messaging along with incredible value for traditional international calls, all while using the existing mobile number and address book for unsurpassed ease of use.”
For those just looking to reduce their mobile minutes, calls to any phone in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico from anywhere in the world will be free for a limited time.
Vonage's Internet-based phone services have been suffering over the last year or so as more people lean on free options of text, voice and video chatting that are offered on mobile and PCs -- including Skype, FaceTime, Google+ and Facebook applications.
The only big issue I see is that this would be more focused on communication with friends and family that can download a Vonage application from their carrier for the rates to apply. If their mobile carrier doesn't carry the application in its store then this would be a far these useful application.
As of Wednesday morning, Vonage (NASDQ:VG) traded at $2.62, up three-quarters of a percent from the previous day.