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Free domestic Wi-Fi VoIP calling with Vonage Mobile for Android (and cheap international calls, too!)

Review by Michael Oryl on Friday April 09, 2010.

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Earlier today Vonage announced the availability of Vonage Mobile for the Android smartphone platform. Currently the app works only on AT&T and T-Mobile USA Android smartphones, but the company has said that support for CDMA devices, such as those offered by Verizon and Sprint, is in the works.

The stated purpose for the application is to offer consumers access to low cost Vonage international calling rates. To partake in those, Vonage offers both an unlimited plan for $24.99/mo (to 60 countries) and a pay per use plan that requires a credit card on file, but has no up front costs. Rates for the pay per use plan vary greatly. For example, calls to Germany are charged at a per minute rate of US$.02 to land lines and $.25 to mobile phones. Antarctica, on the other hand, costs $1.88 per minute to land lines and $2.18 to mobile phones - for those of you with family in the very, very deep south. A casual comparison of rates suggests that Google Voice's international service might be a bit cheaper for many users, but there is something that Vonage Mobile offers that Google Voice does not.

That something is true VoIP calling over Wi-Fi that can be used for placing free calls to anywhere in the U.S. as well as for calling those international destinations with one of the company's plans.

Like Google Voice, Vonage Mobile integrates tightly into an Android smartphone and can be configured to take over for outbound calling tasks automatically. You dial a number or place a call from a contact normally, but Vonage Mobile jumps in and places the call when it meets the requirements that you define in its settings. Users have options to use Vonage Mobile only for paid international calls, for both free domestic Wi-Fi and paid international calls, or to have the app ask each time. The free U.S. calling offers users a great way to save the minutes in their T-Mobile USA or AT&T calling plans.

I configured Vonage Mobile to identify itself by using my Google Voice phone number, which it verified first by calling and asking me for the PIN code I had defined when I created the account within the app. Calls placed over Vonage take longer to connect than normal calls, but that seems a small price to pay for what will work out to be free or discounted calling from home and office for many users.

The application is not without its faults, though. It appears to have no support for landscape orientation, for one. This made setting up the app with my Motorola CLIQ's keyboard exposed a bit more difficult. But apart from that, and the app's heavy reliance on the web browser for secondary information, the important stuff - like call quality - seemed to be solid.

Vonage Mobile for Android can be found in the Android Market as of today. Vonage Mobile is already available for Apple and BlackBerry smartphones.


About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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