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VoIP Switch - Vonage iPhone App Lowers Fees for International VoIP Calls

August 15, 2011


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.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

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.

Edited by John Lahtinen

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Intro to Basic System Features

Accounts Overview
An account is a logical entity usually representing some logical or physical end point in the VoIP network.

Customers are logical entities in the system for which invoices will be generated. They may be termination partners, resellers of a service, or a virtual .

Tariffs and Rates
Tariff is logical entity in the system, which represents rules for rating and billing calls made by Account or Customer to which this Tariff has been assigned.

Balance and Credit Limit
In addition to Tariff, each Customer or Account, except Root Customer, has those two basic rating/billing parameters associated with it – Balance and Credit Limit.

Intro to Advanced System Features

On-Net Routing
On-Net Routing is the feature that allows placing calls from one account in the system to another account in the system.

Ability to Charging On-Net (Account-to-Account) Calls
In some cases it might be necessary to charge either caller or callee or both for the on-net call based on per-minute rate.

Automatic Database Backup
The Softswitch includes the system which allows performing automatic backup of the database periodically.

Ability to Get exchange rate using external script
Exchange rates can be set using external custom script.

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