How does mobile VoIP work?
Mobile VoIP uses your cell phone as a SIP client - that means that it uses SIP trunking to connect your cell phone to the Internet. From mobile VoIP works like a normal VoIP provider:
- The cell phone sends and receives data over the internet
- VoIP phone technology uses VoIP service for calls instead of the cell phone service
- You save, because you pay VoIP prices for minutes instead of cell phone prices
What mobile VoIP needs to work:
- Wireless Internet
- A Mobile VoIP App
Mobile VoIP service quality depends on the quality and type of your mobile high-speed Internet connection. Wi-Fi hotspots are usually provide free and fast internet, but if you rely on hotspots, you’ll only be able to take Mobile VoIP calls at those hotspots.
3G and other high-speed mobile Internet providers may offer larger coverage areas and better quality voice data, but they come with a higher price.
Mobile VoIP Apps
In order to use mobile VoIP, you also need a mobile VoIP app to install on your smartphone or computer. This Mobile VoIP App is a version of a softphone.
This app will convert your voice into data that you can send over wireless internet.
Why use mobile VoIP?
Save on your cell phone bill!
Mobile VoIP will save users money on cell phone bills. Using a VoIP service for mobile calls reduces how much you have to use your monthly minutes. Mobile VoIP rates are very affordable for long distance calling - usually long distance calls are free with mobile VoIP.
Some mobile VoIP service providers offer unlimited calling between users of their service. Skype-to-Skype calls, for example, or Nextiva-to-Nextiva calls will save users money and minutes.
Cheap International Calls
Mobile VoIP also makes international calling affordable.
Using your cell phone while abroad can rack up heavy roaming charges. International calls can skyrocket your cost per minute. Verizon Wireless, for example, charges $2.49 a minute in roaming fees on cruise ships; these roaming fees are not uncommon while calling abroad.
Because of these prices, it's not unheard of to save 90% with mobile VoIP on international calls when you compare the cost per minute to cellular plans, roaming fees, and more. Instead of using the cell phone network, you can use wireless internet or the local 3G network, which is cheaper.
Make sure that your data plan is large enough to support your VoIP calling habits; some mobile data plans can be quite expensive.
Who provides mobile VoIP?
A lot of mobile VoIP services have popped up recently.
One mobile VoIP provider is Skype, which runs off of computers as well as through your mobile phone. Skype can be used with your mobile phone, your desktop or laptop computer, or even your TV.
Skype advertises itself as free and it is - between Skype users. When you call users on the PTSN, though, Skype charges a small fee per minute. Most Mobile VoIP companies, like Terrasip, follow this practice.
Other mobile VoIP providers, such as Fring and Rebtel, also offer mobile VoIP services through the computer or smartphone.
Fring offers VoIP using various instant messenger programs such as IM; Rebtel offers low international rates because it uses VoIP to establish local lines in other countries.
Some VoIP providers, such as Nextiva, offer call forwarding to a customer's other phones. This includes cellular phones, allowing employees to set call forwarding from their office in order to never miss important calls. This is an example of Virtual PBX.
It's important that you look into your VoIP provider's terms and fees in order to see if call forwarding to your cellular phone will cost extra. Some providers offer this as a free feature, while others will charge you for call forwarding.
Mobile VoIP in the future
Mobile VoIP has grown very quickly; it's actually one of the reasons that most cell phone providers no longer offer unlimited 3G and unlimited data plans: with those plans, people could just make calls with VoIP for much cheaper.
Also in response to the growth of mobile VoIP users, many cellular providers are partnering with VoIP services. Verizon, for instance has partnered with Skype.
According to the Juniper report, the number of people using mobile VoIP technology is expected to exceed 100 million users in a few years.