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Vonage Releases Free Calling App – Do You Even Need Minutes Anymore?

Note: This post is sponsored by Vonage and I’m being paid to write it. Not in a “yo dog, you wanna trade lies for money?” way, but a “hey bro, we think our app is cool and we’d like you to write about it” way. All opinions are my own. Including my opinion on the peanut butter stuck to your upper lip.

I’ve often wished I could get a data-only cell phone plan. Seriously, with 4g coverage expanding and covering more of the nation, I find the need for actual cellular voice service to be waning. Why pay for minutes when I could just message people or use VoIP to talk to them?

According to some industry experts, the idea of data-only cell phone plans might not be so far away after all. You can already get a prepaid plan that gives you 5GB of data with only 100 minutes from Wal-Mart and T-Mobile; it would seem that this trend is going to continue until “minutes” are a thing of the past.

Of course, even if you’re like me and would rather use data instead of paying for minutes, you might still want to use something that looks and works like your standard smartphone. If you’re in that boat, you’re in luck; Vonage has just released a free calling app that uses VoIP but looks much like a standard phone app. I just got my hands on this app, so I’ll be reviewing it a little later; today, I just want to give you a bit of an overview so you can try it out if you like.

The Vonage Mobile app works a lot like the Skype app. You can call and text anyone else using the app for free, and calls to all other phones (both cell and landline) are super cheap. The main differences between this app and Skype seem to be:

  • Vonage Mobile lets you add calling credit directly through you iTunes or Google Checkout account, which should be a bit more streamlined than buying Skype credit
  • Vonage claims their app features high-definition call quality that should set a new standard for mobile VoIP calling. It’s supposed to be even better than regular phone calls.
  • Vonage Mobile doesn’t do video – it’s strictly focused on calling and texting
  • While Skype has you choose a username, Vonage Mobile uses your actual phone number
  • Vonage Mobile lets you look up international calling rates in-app
  • Vonage Mobile uses your phone’s existing contact lists (with your permission), so you don’t need to import any contacts

In addition, Vonage’s calling rates are supposed to be around 30% cheaper than Skype’s. The call quality is something I’m going to pay particular attention to as I test the app; I’d really like to see if it’s better than a regular phone call.

Here’s a quick video that goes over the app’s features:

As a launch bonus, Vonage has made all calls to any phone in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico totally free for up to 3000 minutes a month. This won’t last forever, but it’s a pretty sweet deal.

I think this app could be pretty beneficial to students when coupled with a super cheap, data-enabled phone plan. I’d love to pay $30 a month for a data package and just use this for all my calls. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can check out the Vonage Mobile app and judge its value for yourself. As I mentioned above, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the app soon!