It is important to realize that with VoIP, many devices that were previously non-voice related can now be used as a VoIP phone. For example, the Apple iPod Touch, which was originally designated as a media consumption device, can use a variety of VoIP solutions to allow for “phone calls” over a WiFi connection. And this is not limited to an audio player-like device; most tablets can run VoIP applications that work over 3G, 4G, or WiFi connections.
- Skype: (original and most well-known VoIP service) initially designed as a desktop application, but it has made its way into the mobile device application arena.
- Google Talk: instant messaging service that now supports audio and video calls through a VoIP or IP telephony solution and is available through a browser, as a stand-alone desktop application, or an Android app.
- Tango: a VoIP mobile app that functions from iOS devices as well as Android devices and Windows Phone; supporting both voice only and video calls.
- FaceTime: an Apple only mobile VoIP application that can be used on iPhone, iPad, and computers running Mac OS X 10.6.6 or higher.
A VoIP service does not have to be a mobile app; in fact there are several portable devices that can provide VoIP service access as long as a decent Internet connection is available (and you bring along a traditional landline princess phone). These portable options all require that you have a standard phone to plug into the device in order to use VoIP services. They work best with cabled Internet connections and are a good option for international travel when wireless Internet might not be available or when mobile phone data service is too expensive.
- MagicJack is sold like a late-night infomercial product, but in spite of this, it is one of the more flexible and inexpensive portable VoIP solutions. The MagicJack is either a tiny device that plugs into a computer’s USB port or a small device that can connect via WiFi.
- Ooma is another VoIP that requires a basic land-line phone but can be used to make free domestic US calls from anywhere with Internet access. Ooma has an Android and iPhone app that will enable domestic and international calls on your Ooma account from a WiFi, 3G, or 4G connection.
- OBiTALK is a device is about the size of a deck of cards that provides VoIP services to a traditional land-line phone. This product has Android and iPhone apps that allow mobile users to make calls while mobile that piggyback on the OBi system. http://www.obihai.com
Mobile VoIP systems can be a way to reduce your dependence on mobile voice minutes. It is important to make sure that your reliance on data service or WiFi connections for making voice or video calls will not cause other problems. Data charges, roaming charges, over-use limitations, and bandwidth caps can be limiting factors when switching over to use mobile VoIP solutions in preference to over voice minutes. However, some non-voice service devices can be used to make voice and video calls when using VoIP, such as tablets, audio players, and game systems.
Mobile VoIP is a technology that is experience explosive growth. This growth is driven both by its inexpensive calling options as well as ubiquity of use in devices and connectivity. If you have not looked into using mobile VoIP, take the time to experiment with a few of the options mentioned in this paper. You just might discover that you can reduce your mobile device expenses by cutting back on voice minutes and spending more time on WiFi.