For the longest time it was taboo to even talk about VoIP on the iPhone, because Apple simply would not permit it. As luck would have it, there is now a legitimate and free way for you to conduct such activities if you deem necessary, and it can all be done with an app called fring.
fring isn’t new to the mobile VoIP industry. In fact, it’s been around longer than the iPhone itself. And now, iPhone users can exploit its features fully, with the expense of just a few minutes of downloading their app from the iPhone App Store.
About fring for iPhone
According to the fring app’s About page, it’s already on version 220.127.116.11. What ever happened to version 1.0, I’m not that sure. But the current iteration rocks, by any proportion.
The first time you fire up the fring app on your iPhone, you’ll be welcomed by a clean Account Setup page. This is where you’ll be entering your user details, and if you don’t have a Fring User ID yet, you can register one from here.
Upon logging in, you’ll be brought to your fring account’s address book, called Buddy List, which initially only contains contact info for “fring test call.”
There’s a page for settings, of course, as well as Call/Activity History, Dialer (which shows a numeric keypad), and “More” for other options.
As you may have guessed, “fring test call” will enable you to initiate a test call to fring’s servers and get intimate with one of their recordings. Basically, it asks you to speak into your iPhone after a beep, and then plays what you just said back to you to ensure that everything is working just fine.
You might notice that there’s also an entry for “twitter” on my buddy list here. Well, it’s because aside from fring’s VoIP service itself, you can also log in to your other IM accounts and certain VoIP services via the fring app’s Add-ons page.
Another good thing that fring for iPhone lets users have is the option to dial local calls directly from inside the app itself. As you can see here, there’s a note reminding users that unlike VoIP calls, which are basically free, calls made over cellular are charged from their accounts or prepaid balances.
As far as call quality goes, I’ve found that it more or less depends on the quality of the headphones you use with your iPhone (if you’re using headphones, that is). And with the built-in mic and earpiece, call quality was terrific, provided that you were on a stable Internet connection.
VoIP was and always will be one of the most wanted features on the Apple iPhone, and it certainly took a long time coming. But fortunately for users who are looking to cut costs by making phone calls over the Internet, fring “nailed” it with the very first release of their iPhone app. fring no doubt has plans to further improve their iPhone app, but as it is, it’s one of the most useful that’s ever been released.
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