I have never been hot on using other third party applications on my Android smartphone to call others. However, the recently launched Vonage Mobile app for iOS and Android devices has made a believer out of me. The app has a solid interface and it makes calling people who also use the Vonage app a snap. As a bonus, US users can call any phone number, mobile or landline, in the country, along with Canada and Puerto Rico, with 3,000 free minutes a month, at least for the moment.
I downloaded and used the Vonage Android app for my Pantech Breakout phone from Verizon. The first thing the app does is ask for your email address. Once you type it in it sends you a text message with a code to activate your Vonage account. Once you put in the activation code, you can get started using Vonage Mobile. The app uses your regular smartphone number so there's no need to remember two different numbers.
The Vonage Mobile app allows you to access your phone's contact list so there's also no need to create an all new address list for the app. You can call any Vonage user anywhere in the world for free along with free text messaging. You can also invite people on your contact list to download and install the Vonage app. If you are constantly calling a person that's not in your wireless provider's free calling circle, having the Vonage app in place will definitely save you some money.
International calls are pretty cheap as well. The Vonage Mobile web site has a list of what the per minute charges would be for every nation. Calls to landline numbers with the app tend to be less expensive than mobile calls, but overall the international rates are extremely cheap. For example, a call from the US to the UK via the Vonage app would be just 2.2 cents a minute for landlines and 12 cents a minute for mobile calls. Note that this is cheaper than Skype which offers 2.3c p/m to landlines and 25.9c p/m to mobiles.
Vonage Mobile also makes it easy to pay for those calls from within the app. Vonage lets users pay in increments of either $4.99 or $9.99 for credits to call internationally.
Of course the big question is, "What's the call quality like?". In a word, excellent. Using both my 4G connection as well as my home WiFi connection I called a number of phones, both mobile and landline, and calls came in very clear. There was one time where one of my landline callers said she could hear a faint echo from my side of the conversation but that was about it as far as problems with the Vonage Mobile app.
There are still some things that Vonage could work on for future updates. If you use the Skype mobile app, you know that it also supports video calls; there is no such support in the Vonage Mobile app. Also, there's no word as to when Vonage plans to end its promotional deal of 3,000 free monthly minutes for US customers to other US, Canada and Puerto Rico numbers. 3,000 free minutes should be plenty for 99.99 percent of Vonage Mobile US users but Vonage has not said what it will charge US customers once the promotional deal is over.
It would be nice if Vonage Mobile also had a conference call mode but there's no support for that kind of feature, at least not yet. Also keep in mind if your data plan for your smartphone has a cap, it will use up data when the Vonage Mobile app is running. Finally, while US customers can use Vonage Mobile on a WiFi, 3G or 4G network, overseas Vonage Mobile users are restricted for some reason to a WiFi Internet only connection.
If you live in the US and if your smartphone monthly plan has a limited number of free minutes, downloading and installing the Vonage Mobile app is a great way to extend your free call time, especially if you can get your friends to also download and use the app. Vonage Mobile can also save you some money compared to Skype and other mobile phone carriers if you call one or more overseas phone numbers a lot. Overall, there a lot to recommend with this free app.
Download the app: Here
Images via Vonage