The whole point of my blog is to inform Canadians on how to save unnecessary mobile phone costs. In prior posts I have discussed using Skype as an alternative to traditional mobile phone voice calling. Skype works very well for outbound voice calling over either 3G or WiFi networks, and they have very competitively priced outbound calling packages. The package I use is approximately $30 per year for unlimited calling to Canada and the US. The one missing feature for Canadians, which restricts people from eliminating the voice aspect of their mobile phone plan and going purely data (like an iPad plan), has been Skype-In. While there is the option, for an additional fee, for you to add an inbound telephone number where traditional phone callers can reach you, Canada is not one of the supported countries. I had been plugging that hole for the past few months by using a service provided by Virtufon, which charges approximately $7/mo for a Canadian inbound phone number that they bridge to your Skype account.
Enter Fongo, sponsored by Dell Voice. The new Dell Voice app for iPhone and iPad released today provides users with free long distance calling to 30 centres in Canada, along with free Caller ID and voicemail. The most compelling feature for me, however, is the free inbound Canadian phone number. Finally, this is a true replacement for the voice side of your mobile phone plan (or landline for that matter), and is perfect for iPad users who would otherwise have no traditional mobile voice option.
If you’re on vacation outside of Canada, but still want to receive phone calls while you’re away, and especially if your hotel has free WiFi, this is an amazing service. It won’t cost you a cent to receive WiFi calls on your Dell Voice number, regardless of where in the world you are. And, if you have followed my instructions on how to obtain inexpensive local SIM cards in foreign countries, it should cost you next-to-nothing to receive Dell Voice calls over 3G. It also won’t cost callers a cent to phone you, because they’re calling a phone number that is local to them.
Outside of Canada’s free calling zones, and also to the USA, calls are charged at the rate of 2¢ per minute. So if you make 125 minutes or less of outbound calls each month, paying Dell Voice on an a-la-carte basis for calls is a better option than the Unlimited North America (at $2,50/mo on an annual subscription) that I use.
I’m an Apple fanboy, so the idea of using any App sponsored by Dell is a bit unnerving. Finally being able to tie all of my inbound and outbound voice calling seamlessly into one iPhone app is something I’ve been looking for though, for quite a while. I’m happy to just hold my nose and garner the savings.