Making Calls Through Your Mobile Phone Using VoIP

VoIP Lets You Make "Free" Internet Phone Calls

Man and woman looking at phone over coffee
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VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) would fail if it stayed wired. The world is increasingly going mobile when it comes to not only smartphones but also laptops; it plays a pretty important role in communication.

Home users, travelers, business people and the like can take advantage of mobile VoIP since it works the same no matter where you're at. As long as you have access to a wireless data service and a compatible device, you can start using VoIP right now.

However, there are some things you should be aware of that makes VoIP different from regular phone calls. Sending your voice over the internet is an amazing feat, which is why there are some great benefits that come with it, but there are also some downfalls.

VoIP Pros and Cons

These are some quick-hit items that point to the benefits and disadvantages of VoIP, with more details at the bottom of this page:

Pros:

  • Extremely portable; available worldwide
  • VoIP software is supported by major operating systems on both mobile and desktop devices
  • Isn't hard to implement and start using right away
  • Most VoIP services are free for basic usage
  • Features are available that aren't seen with traditional phone calls

Cons:

  • Some sort of data plan is required
  • Not all phones support mobile VoIP software
  • Call quality differs between wireless carriers

If you want to make free calls using your mobile device (phone, tablet, PC, etc.), you need to be connected to some type of data service. Some mobile network technologies work basically anywhere, like 3G, WiMax, GPRS, EDGE, etc., but others like Wi-Fi are extremely limited in range.

Since most data services require a monthly fee, and mobile ones are almost always not unlimited, it's the main obstacle barring the way to seamless free VoIP telephony.

Another caveat is that mobile VoIP requires the use of a phone that's compatible with the service you choose. Unlike house phones that can be bought nearly anywhere and used in any home to make regular phone calls, VoIP requires that you have a softphone (a phone-like software app) and often necessities that the contacts you call have the same app on their device.

However, on the bright side, phone calls made over a data network often have benefits not seen in traditional phone systems like digital recognition for voice to text services, higher call quality and service in areas where cell service fails (e.g. planes, trains, homes and other places that have Wi-Fi but no cell service).

Also, since most homes and businesses already have Wi-Fi networks set up, and mobile phone users typically subscribe to a data plan right now, it just takes a quick account set up and app install to get the device working with mobile VoIP. Plus, business people and travelers might benefit more from data calls than they would paying per minute with their carrier.