Man was saved the trouble of writing letters for emergency long distance communication with the invention of the telephone. Later, wired phones gave way to cordless ones. Then came mobile phones and they have stayed the course. However, a revolutionary technology called VoIP is creating huge waves in the telecom sector with some enthusiasts even going to the extent of saying that it could replace traditional phone calls completely. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. With the advent of internet, communication across the globe has become easier but till recently this was restricted to the written word. What VoIP does is convert the audio signal into a digital one so as to enable its transmission over the internet. Essentially, this means that VoIP makes it possible for voice calls to be made over the internet. In the process, your telephone expenses are sure to reduce if you have an unlimited WiFi/Broadband connection at home. Let’s take a look at five apps that use VoIP that you must have to save some buck :
1. Messenger – The Messenger app by Facebook is not the quintessential instant messaging app. It does a lot more and thank god for that. How many times have you felt the need to call the person with whom you are chatting in the middle of the conversation? Well, with this app you can do so very easily by clicking on the blue call button on the top of the conversation page. The voice quality is impeccable on 3G and WiFi. Once in a while, there are issues like echo but very minimal. The only issue one might have with this app is that it is integrated with your Facebook friend list so you might receive unexpected calls (which can be good or bad, depending upon your friend list). However, video calling facility is not available as of now. It is available on Android, iOS, Windows phone and Blackberry.
2. Skype – Skype is one of the pioneers of the VoIP technology offerings. It offers completely free voice and video calls between its users. It also offers you the facility to call non-users with its paid plans. Apart from one to one communication, you can even use this app for conference calls and free group video calls, taking things to the next level. The call quality is really good. Moreover, unlike Facebook Messenger, Skype can be used on your laptops and desktop computers too. It is available on Android, iOS and Windows.
3. Hangouts – Hangouts, by Google, is another interesting app that makes it easier for you to communicate over the internet. You can make voice and video calls free of cost to other hangout users. The voice quality is good, especially if both the users are using WiFi/3G. Like Facebook Messenger, Hangouts is the instant messaging service of Google which doubles up as a VoIP app. If you are on an Android device, Hangouts is pre-installed and since you are already using your Google account on your phone, you are already logged in on this app. If you consider the fact that a majority of the people have a Google account, the number of people that you can contact over Hangouts is huge. It can be used on laptops and desktops too. It is available on Android, iOS and Windows phone.
4. Viber – Though we are mentioning Viber at no.4, it does not in any way mean it is lesser than the ones above. In fact, loyal Viber users can’t stop talking about the amazing call quality and seamless movement from WiFi to 3G without any impact on call quality. Free texting and free voice calls to any Viber user over the internet is what this app offers. You can use this app to call non-users too using the Viber Out service which is paid. Viber is a mobile only app available on Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone and more.
5. Nimbuzz – Nimbuzz not only lets to make calls and text each other but it also allows you to send files over the internet. It can be used over mobiles and over PC. One added feature of Nimbuzz is that there are chat rooms where you can meet new people and make friends. The voice quality, however, is not great with a little background noise. It is available on a whole lot of platforms including Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows, Nokia, Java, and Kindle Fire.
Apart from these, there are many other apps that use VoIP but if you have these five then it is very unlikely that you will not be able to connect to your friends and family (at least the ones who are internet friendly). Some other noteworthy apps are MagicApp and Vonage. Personally, Facebook Messenger is what I use for communicating with my friends and Hangouts or Skype for professional conversations. Whatsapp calling has recently entered the fray. But it is only available for Android users as of now. It will take some time to become a cross-platform offering.