With the constantly falling prices and offers, making a phone call over a mobile phone in India is dirt-cheap. In fact, India has some of the lowest call rates in the world, with many advanced countries such as the United States paying several times more for calls and messages. But what if we were to tell you that there is a way to make calls for even less, and by even less we mean no charge at all?
This is done by something called VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. With VoIP, you can make a call using your Internet connection over Wi-Fi instead of your mobile operator. You can practically call anyone in the world for free, provided they have the software installed at their end. Most of these services don’t charge you anything for making calls from one VoIP device to another and the only cost you bear is for your Internet connection. And if you have an unlimited connection at your home or office, then you don’t end up paying anything more than your monthly Internet bill. Best of all, you can do both voice as well as video calls, provided the service and your handset supports this feature and if your Internet connection is fast enough.
Today, we will list some of the free VoIP services for all the major platforms.
(iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows, Mac)
Skype is possibly the most popular VoIP and video calling services out there. You just have to download the application at each end, create an account and then you can make voice or video calls, along with instant messaging.
Skype will even let you call to a landline number, but for that you will have to subscribe to its premium service.
On smartphones, Skype is available on iOS devices (including the iPad), Android and Symbian. Unfortunately, even though Microsoft acquired Skype almost a year ago, we still haven’t got a proper Skype application for Windows Phone, yet. There’s just a beta available for now and it’s not available in the Indian version of the Windows Marketplace.
Since Skype is also available for the desktop version of Windows and Mac, you can even call someone who is on a PC from your phone. For video calls, the person will need to have a webcam handy.
Viber is another great application for making VoIP calls and sending messages. It’s a lot simpler than Skype, and by that we mean you can’t make video calls from it and there is no desktop client for talking to those on a computer but it does have some advantages, such as the lack of need to create an account. Viber just uses your mobile number to make the calls (although the actual call is made over the Internet) and uses your existing phonebook numbers instead of having to create and add new contacts, as on Skype. If you just want to talk to someone using an Android or an iPhone (a version for BlackBerry phones is in works), Viber is a lot easier and simpler choice.
(iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Windows PC)
Tango is another great VoIP service, which is a lot similar to Skype. But one difference is that it is available right now on Windows Phone. It’s also available on the iPhone, Android and Windows PCs so until Skype comes along, this is your best bet if you have a Windows Phone device.
(BlackBerry, desktop PC)
If you have a BlackBerry device, you really don’t have a lot of choice right now in terms of services. TringMe is the only and understandably the most popular VoIP client available for BlackBerry devices. It also works only on BlackBerry phones as of now; although the website mentioned an Android and Windows Phone app, we could not find them on their respective stores. You can however, make and receive calls from your PC through the TringMe website on your browser or even from the Google Talk application.
Now there are obviously a lot more of such services out there, especially for iOS and Android, which are clearly the most popular mobile platforms out there but there’s no point going for the rest when the best is right in front of you. These are the services which we have been using for a while now and think are reliable enough for everyday use.
One word of warning though, using VoIP does use a lot of battery power so avoid using it when you are not near a power outlet. Also, all of these services are capable of running over 3G, but considering the current 3G rates from our service providers, it would be cheaper and easier just to call them directly.