When talking of quality VoIP service providers, it is hard to look past Vonage. To cater to the needs of smartphone/tablet users, Vonage just recently released its Android and iOS apps, allowing users to make calls and send text messages to other Vonage subscribers over the web (Wi-Fi, 3G & 4G networks) on the go and for free. With Vonage Mobile, users can register for an account using their phone numbers (just like WhatsApp & Viber), and connect with friends anywhere in the world, provided they too have the app installed. The app automatically detects other Vonage users from your phone’s address book. Apart from using a high-definition audio codec to improve call quality, the app lets you send unlimited free text messages, keeps a detailed log of calls and texts, displays caller ID and network strength/quality for calls, lets you send invites to multiple contacts in one go, and cancel incoming calls by replying with a quick (predefined) text message. That’s not all; the app provides low rates (30% less than Skype) for calls to numbers that don’t have the app installed, and allows you to purchase credit using your Android Market account.
Upon launch, the app prompts you to provide your phone number and email ID for registration. Once past that, you’ll receive a 6-digit confirmation code via SMS that must be fed into the app in order to activate your account, and start availing Vonage services. After that, it’s pretty much smooth sailing.
From the app’s main interface, you can check the list of all your phone contacts, make calls and/or send Vonage invites to them. Invitations can be sent via email or text messages (standard texting rates apply). The Vonage icon beside each contact name on the list indicates a subscribed Vonage user.
To start calling or texting over the internet, just tap the required contact name. Incoming calls can be rejected normally or with an instant text reply that can be sent right from within the caller ID screen. Another good thing about Vonage is that through status bar notifications, it keeps you apprised of incoming and missed calls, new text messages, as well as whenever one of your contacts joins the network.
On the downside though, the app does not support integration with your device’s stock calling app, which means that you must launch the app separately each time you wish to make a Vonage call to your contacts. Still, based on our observation during a brief test-run of the app, we must admit that Vonage could prove to be a tough competitor for the likes of Skype, Viber, Fring and other popular cross-platform VoIP calling and texting solutions out there.