Saving money is a good thing. Saving money on ever-increasing phone bills is even better. With some recent developments on the VoIP scene, it’s becoming easier and easier to make phone calls for free, using your computer or mobile device. VoIP technology, which stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, allows users to make phone calls without necessarily requiring an actual phone handset. All you need is a decent internet connection (most VoIP technology works through wireless connections), as well as either a computer, smartphone or other mobile device to get started.
Let’s look at a few of the latest updates in the VoIP arena, and see what new features are available with each one.
Facebook Using VoIP
Facebook has been a game-changer for years, in terms of redefining how people communicate with each other. With the new free Wi-Fi voice calling feature they’re testing as part of their Messenger app, Facebook is poised to capture a huge chunk of the VoIP market. Although providers like Vonage and Skype already provide similar functionality, none of them have the massive customer base claimed by Facebook, with over 1 billion users worldwide.
Right now this feature is only available on the iOS platform in Canada; Facebook appear to be bringing it in in phases, so hopefully it will soon be released in other areas, as well as to Android users.
Viber Debuts Desktop Apps
Viber has been around for a number of years now, offering VoIP apps for both the iOS and Android platforms. They’re now jumping into the desktop market, with the recent announcement of native apps being released for both Mac and PC computers. These desktop apps will integrate with the existing mobile apps; with new features added to the mobile apps which will allow users to easily transfer calls between their Mac or PC and their mobile device.
This release of desktop functionality also takes Viber’s VoIP service to the next level with the debut of video calling. Although this apps may seem similar to Skype and now Facebook’s desktop offering, they are seeing a rising share of the US iPhone market share, up from 4.7% to 5.7% since the beginning of the year.
Rebtel Introduces New API for iOS and Android
Swedish VoIP provider Rebtel is taking their business in a new direction, with their debut of a new software development kit for both iOS and Android developers. This functionality will allow app developers to embed Rebtel-enabled voice calls into their apps, using a free API. Rebtel is aiming for exposure and greater market share with this release, rather than immediate monetary gain; within apps that embed this free technology, users will see a small Rebtel logo before being connected. As usage of the SDK grows, Rebtel expects that larger businesses would be willing to pay for service-level agreements ensuring constant uptime.
The recent shift towards offering a VoIP based service has seen the market become incredibly competitive, which is why the big name players such as Facebook are now trying to get involved. This means there are even more options available for users, with further advances expected by the end of 2013. If you haven’t yet tested out VoIP technology, it’s a great time to jump in and give it a try. With more options than ever, you can harness the ability to make free phone calls, whether you’re at home or on the go!
Article Contribution: Jonny Grant is an expert in VoIP technology, and works for VoIP providers Packnet. Jonny is a regular writer on VoIP related news, and keenly follows the latest industry updates, both from a business and consumer perspective.