iPhone owners who have resisted making international calls due to the lofty fees now have an additional option. Voice provider Vonage (News - Alert) rolled out a new iPhone app earlier this month that lets users make Wi-Fi and 3G VoIP calls to more than 100 eligible nations for prices as low as $0.99 per 15 minutes of talk time.
The app, dubbed Time to Call, can be downloaded for free at any one of 87 iTunes stores worldwide. Calls are billed in 15-minute increments and are paid for via a user's iTunes account. This means that you don't need to set up a subscription or be a current Vonage customer; simply download the app and begin dialing.
To entice users to jump on board, Vonage is giving away one free 15-minute international phone call to anyone who downloads the app. After burning up the free chunk of minutes, users will pay anywhere from 99 cents to $9.99 per 15-minute block, depending upon the country. However, Vonage says that most calls will cost less than $2 for each 15-minute call.
"Not only does this service offer tremendous value for international callers dialing from their home countries, it also provides a great solution for international travelers who want to avoid the bill shock associated with international calls and roaming charges when they call back home, Vonage CEO Marc Lefar (News - Alert) noted in a statement.
On paper, the app seems like a pretty good bargain. Lefar told All Things Digital that a 15-minute call from the U.S. to Mexico will cost around $10 when placed through a traditional carrier, and only $2 with Vonage. Meanwhile, a 15-minute call from Japan to South Korea will cost just $0.99 cents through the app, compared to around $34 when made from a handset's built-in calling app.
The Time to Call app provides a viable alternative to Skype (News - Alert), which forces users to link their credit card to the service or pay for calls on a subscription basis. The Vonage app cuts out the hassles.
As with other similar offerings, the Time to Call app can result in additional data fees when run over 3G, so stick to Wi-Fi whenever possible.
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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.