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VoIP allows for charge free calling over data connections, be that a wireless or wired connection. Who doesn’t want to talk to their friends and family for free? Others can work as an interface to VoIP service providers, many of which offer some telephone service features such as voicemail, 3-way calling, call return and Do Not Disturb to name a few.
Consumers who need to make a fair number of calls to others, who aren’t running proprietary VoIP software such as Skype, can still save quite a bit of money on long distance calls. Of course they will need to access VoIP and SIP services from providers such as Acanac, SMSdiscount and even Skype. Here are some apps that can be used to make VoIP calls from Android phones or tablets.
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Voxofon Call Abroad (free)
Voxofon is marketed at people who call overseas frequently and want a cheaper option to do so. This makes Voxofon a direct competitor of Skype, Vonage, Jajah, Vopium and Truphone. Using Voxofon is quite simple (as it should be). After you launch the app you are given the option to route the call through a local access number, this is a separate charge that you pay to your service provider. The international portion of the call is charged at Voxofon’s International rates, which are pretty low (Australia is $0.0195 and Mexico is $0.0150).
Voxofon integrates well with the contact list on Android devices, so you can make calls without having to re-enter a number. A note of caution though: If you intend to make an international call using this service, ensure that the app is open before you proceed, otherwise the call will be routed through your service provider as per usual.
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Allows users to route calls to any of their numbers (cell, office or home). A favorite feature of many Google Voice users is the transcription service. Google Voice can transcribe voicemails and send you an e-mail or SMS with the transcription (only available in the US). Admittedly the accuracy of the transcriptions does need some work, but it is usually enough to give the user a fair idea of what the sender meant to say.
Google Voice can also be used to make very cheap international calls to far away places – calls to Afghanistan costs just $.029 and those to Argentina costs as little as $0.03 per minute. On the other hand, you can also screen and block calls if you need to do so.
You can access and use Google Voice through a web browser, but the Android app version of the service makes the solution a better mobile VoIP solution for Android phones. Once you set up a Google Voice account and install the app you will then need to tell the app how to handle your calls. For example, you can have Google Voice handle all your calls or just the international ones.
If you choose to have Google Voice answer all your calls, the person you are calling will not see your phone number, but the Google Voice number that is being used. This is great if you want to keep your real number private, but it can cause some confusion to those who expect to see your old telephone number when getting a call from you. The app is free, even for sending text messages, but you will need to spend some money to access Google’s low international calling rates.
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Sipdroid VoIP + Video Calling
Not only is this popular SIP/VoIP app a good option for routing calls outside the more expensive cellular networks and onto data networks, but the app makes video calls as well (if the phone has a camera). The app is designed to work seamlessly with the SIP provider pbxes.org can also work with other such as Voipstunt and Voipbuster.
Sipdroid VoIP can also manage Google Voice SIP trunks and integrates well with your Skype contacts if you have Skype installed. SipDroid is free to install and use. However, you many need to pay for calls depending on the SIP service you are using.
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Skype for Android is perhaps one of the most popular VoIP solutions available. Skype is well known as a VoIP solution that enables its users to talk to each other for free. Of course both users must have a data connection (Wi-Fi and 3G) and have the software installed on both ends in order to call for free.
If you need to call someone who doesn’t have a Skype phone that is possible too, but you will be charged for the call. The Skype solution is especially cost effective for making international calls. If, on the other hand, you find yourself overseas, you can avoid roaming charges and use a Wi-Fi network to make your Skype calls. While Skype Mobile users will appreciate being able to Instant Message other Skype users, those who are used to the desktop version of the app may miss not being able to make video calls or do file transfers.
This app is free to download and use, but you may need to purchase Skype credit to make some calls. Owing to the fact that Skype requires Android 2.1 and above to install, you may have to resort to another Android VoIP app if you are running an earlier version of the Android OS.
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Image Credits: Each app is the property of the respective app developer
- “Voip on mobile - best rated voip mobile android app”
- “Android for VoIP – Skype Mobile”
- “Android sip - Sipdroid VoIP + video calling”
- “Android WiFi VoIP - Google Voice”