Vonage announces iPhone and Android apps that allow you to call and text message other Vonage Mobile app users for free, worldwide, on iPhone and Android. You can also call any phone number in over 200 different countries at discounted rates. You can even purchase calling credits through iTunes or Android market accounts.
Calls will work over WiFi, 3G and 4G. You do not have to be a current Vonage customer to use the apps and it uses your existing phone number and contacts list. The app supports notifications also.
The text messaging feature is easy to use and organizes texts by conversation. It even has a group and individual invite feature to invite others to connect with you via Vonage.
Rates are lower than Skype and can be purchased in $4.99 and $9.99 credit options through iTunes or the Android Market using your current account. Rates are very reasonable.
It's very easy to get started. Simply download the app and enter your mobile number and email address. Vonage will send you a free text message with a code to validate your phone number. Then you can start inviting others to do the same and call and text you for free.
If you call a number that is not Vonage mobile, the app will display the per minute rate for that call before you connect so you can decide whether or not to make the call or if you have enough credits.
This could be a good option for schools to use. Administrators, teachers, and others could use the app for free calling.
Here's a video that demo's the app:
The app is very easy to use. You install it from the Android Market or iTunes, enter your phone number and email, and then Vonage will send you a code to enter. The code actually gets sent right to the app for easy install. The app will use your current contact list on your phone. If a contact has a Vonage number, it will take the contact with a "V" indicating that the person either has Vonage service or the app. Calls to Vonage users (home or app) are free. Your current phone number will show up on other people's phones as the caller ID.
You can use the app to make phone calls internationally without needing to activate special services with your mobile carrier. You can even make calls when out of phone coverage, but have WiFi access.
I downloaded the app and within minutes was up and running. It really is that easy to use. Once the app is installed and verified, you simply open the app to make calls or send text messages. The app supports notifications also.
The app could also be very useful for schools. Teachers, students, administrators could all use the app as a great way of communicating.
Vonage envisions a future where people will have smartphones and other devices with unlimited data access, and no need for a calling plan. They would just use the Vonage app. It would also be great for non-phone devices that do not even have cellular connections, just WiFi.