Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fringing you iPhone - Free VOIP Calls

What is Fring?

Fring is a VoIP client (softphone) and service that allows free VoIP calls, chat sessions, instant messaging and other services over mobile devices and handsets. What makes the difference between Fring and most of the other VoIP software is that it is designed specifically for mobile phones, handsets, and other portable devices. Fring offers all the benefits of a PC-based VoIP client, but on mobile phones.

How free is Fring?

Fring’s software and service are both completely free. Consider the cost benefits of having a softphone like Skype on your computer. You would be able to make free calls to other people on the PC, but would have to pay small amounts for calls to mobile and landline phones. Fring gives free calls not only to people using PCs, but also to those using mobile phones.

Since you can make calls from your mobile phone to other mobile phones, you save a real lot on mobile communication. However, you need to convince your buddies to install Fring on their mobile devices as well. Since calls to PSTN have to be channelled through paid services, you will require paid services like SkypeOut, Gizmo or VoIPStunt to make calls to PSTN.

Eliminating the need to call PSTN, all calls are free; and the only thing you have to pay for is the data network services like 3G, GPRS, EDGE or Wi-Fi. A person using Fring optimally is likely to save more than 95% of what she would spend on traditional mobile communication. If Fring is used with free Wi-Fi in a hotspot somewhere, then the cost is nil.

What is required to use Fring?

Let us look first at what is not required. You don’t need a computer with headsets, or complex equipment like ATAs or (wireless) IP phones.

In terms of hardware, you need a 3G or smart mobile phone or handset. Most of 3G phones and smart phones of the most common manufacturers are compatible with Fring.

You also need to already have a data service (3G, GPRS or Wi-Fi) which you normally use with your smart phone. These services normally come with multimedia, mobile TV, video chat etc.

How Fring works?

Fring is based on P2P technology and harnesses the power of data bandwidth to place and receive calls, without bearing the costs of acting as middleman between VoIP and PSTN. It uses purely data bandwidth to transmit voice.

Getting started is a breeze: download the application from http://www.fring.com/ and install it on your mobile device. Register for an account and start communicating.

Brief specifications

  • Free calls using 3G, EGDE, GPRS and Wi-Fi technologies on mobile phones.
  • Works with other voice applications, including Skype, MSN Messenger, ICQ, GoogleTalk, SIP and Twitter.
  • Free calls to PCs and mobile phones.
  • Cheap calls to PSTN using services like SkypeOut, Gizmo, VoIpStunt etc.
  • Works on most smart phones.
  • Auto-roams on Wi-Fi hotspots.
Now with iPhone

From last year, Fring began offering free downloads of a program that lets you make toll-free phone calls on an iPhone, bypassing AT&T and every other cellular carrier. In other words, it does for the iPhone what Skype does for computers.

Once you’ve installed Fring, its main screen displays your contacts and their presence status (e.g. online, offline). Not only does Fring integrate buddy lists from assorted chat platforms into one place, but it also lets you make voice calls to anyone with a phone. Fring integrates your buddy lists from various chat and communications platforms into one interface. Currently, Fring supports accounts on Skype, MSN Messenger, ICQ, Twitter, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, while offering SIP support for a variety of VoIP providers as well. But it periodically adds new services based largely on user feedback, so if yours preferred chat client isn’t supported today, check back tomorrow. This list shows the names of your fringsters - friends, your Skype/Google-Talk/MSN/ICQ/Yahoo/AIM contacts. From the main Buddy list you can navigate between your contacts, find their presence status and initiate a communication session with them. You may initiate a voice call, start a chat session and move between all open sessions using the ’Goto’ menu. You can also make SkypeOut/SIP calls directly from your Fring Buddy list.

Brief Video Presentation:


Fring - Free VOIP calls for iPhone


Sources and Additional Information:
http://voip.about.com/od/voipsoftware/p/FringProfile.htm
http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/156343/fring_for_iphone.html
http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/04/15/free-phone-calls-come-to-the-iphone/

2 comments:

Jessi said...

Hi, Thanks for this information, I think Fring is quite similiar with other VoIPs like Jajah, Vopium and Skype.

Michael Pekker (AKA Nesher) said...

Agree, there are some similarities and differences. Every company tries hard to establish competitive advantage, while Skype is already having a first-comer one. Yesterday, I have heard on the quite competitive VoxOx offerings.

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