Vonage, the once almost-zombie VoIP company, has roared back from its flirtation with the deadpool (er, from being sued into near oblivion for patent infringement by Verizon et al.). Its latest product, Vonage Mobile, will surely continue to ruffle all the big telecoms’ feathers because it allows consumers the ability to circumvent their mobile carriers’ networks to make low cost international calls with their smartphones via Vonage’s network.
Available for the iPhone / iPod touch (2G) and BlackBerries, Vonage Mobile:
works with your existing mobile plan. This lets you keep your number, mobile device, existing contacts and mobile service provider.
You’re simply adding a pay-as-you-go app that lets you make low-cost international calls from your current mobile phone. Set up your pre-pay amount and use Vonage Mobile whenever you make international calls.
The free app works over both cellular and Wi-Fi networks (the latter for iDevices only). When used over a cellular network, consumers can:
Call anywhere, with no calling cards or dialing codes. When you dial an international number from your mobile device, your call is routed through the Vonage network. That way, you get our great international rates and only use local minutes under your regular carrier’s plan. (Carrier roaming charges may apply when outside your calling area)
Better yet, iPeople can make “calls from any Wi-Fi hotspot, anywhere in the world. Not only will you get our low international calling rates, but you won’t use any of your mobile minutes.”
Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? But, it’s also a bit of a head-scratcher, as the AP points out, considering all the recent drama with Google Voice. Both apps work by circumventing AT&T’s network to offer consumers low(er)-cost international calling rates. However, Google Voice has not received approval (supposedly for violating the App Store’s terms), while the Vonage app has been accepted by Apple.
Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company considers Vonage’s application to be in the same category as other VoIP apps that have already been approved for the iPhone. She would not elaborate on whether Apple considers there to be significant differences between Vonage’s program and Google Voice.
We’re betting Google might feel slightly different about this latest round of shenanigans. Either way, Vonage Mobile is available now for iThings and CrackBerries, for free, via VonageMobile.com.