Free RIM BlackBerry VoIP App, Truphone: Cheap International Calls
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
BlackBerry-toting travelers take heed: The popular (free) Truphone mobile voice-over-IP (VoIP) application for Nokia and iPhone devices is now available for Research In Motion (RIM) smartphones, in beta form. Thanks to some “clever mobile VoIP trickery,” Truphone users can place international calls from their home countries to 33 major cities across the globe for as little as six cents a minute.
Truphone routes mobile phone calls over the Internet to save users money on wireless service costs. Where available, the service employs Wi-Fi networks to place voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) calls, but BlackBerry and Nokia device users can place Web-based phone calls from wherever they may me be, Wi-Fi network or no—a feature that’s not yet available to iPhone users.
Truphone’s new offering is by no means the first BlackBerry VoIP application—there’s Raketu, EQO and WebMessenger Mobile for Skype, among others—but Truphone’s quick setup and ease of use place it at the top of the pack.
So how does Truphone work? First, you need to download the application by either surfing over to Truphone.com/blackberry using your BlackBerry browser or by entering your mobile digits into Truphone’s site. An SMS text message with a download link will then be sent to your mobile.
After installing the app, you can place international phone calls just as you normally would, expect a prompt will ask you whether you want to use Truphone or your mobile network before the call is connected. If you choose Truphone, your call will be automatically routed to the Web. You still have to pay the charges you would incur for using the mobile network for a local call—if applicable—plus a small fee to Truphone. But the company doesn’t charge for any upfront service costs or for anything other than your international calls. (You can calculate the costs of calling specific countries on the Truphone home page.)
New Truphone users also get a one dollar credit that can be immediately applied to their accounts. A dollar certainly doesn’t sound like a lot, but at just six cents a minute, that’s more than enough free time to get a feel for the service.
Calls between Nokia Truphone users are always free no matter where callers and recipients are located, according to Truphone.com, but this feature does not yet appear to be available for BlackBerry or iPhone users. However, the site does state that the company will be unveiling new features soon.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.