What is VoIP and can I use it on my Smartphone ?

VoIP – Or Voice Over IP Is Calling Using Data

Voice over Internet Protocol (‘VoIP’) is one of the fastest growing telephony solutions in the world. Businesses and private individuals are adopting the technology for its cost-effectiveness and wide range of features. Talking on a V o IP connection offers voice calls and other multimedia communications over the internet. Its cost-effectiveness comes from the fact that users don’t need to pay traditional line rental. In the opinion of WhatPhone, this capability on mobile devices and Smartphones is a major trend to watch for the next few years.

At a Glance

VoIP uses an internet, Wi-Fi, or other connection to enable users to make voice or video calls. Depending on which program or app you use, you can usually get a range of additional features, including:

  • Call history
  • Dialled and missed calls
  • Encryption
  • Contacts list
  • Integration with your other VoIP devices, such as a computer or tablet
  • Conference calls
  • Local landline dial-in
  • SMS

Using VoIP on Your Smartphone

It’s increasingly common for users to have VoIP on their smartphone as well as other internet-enabled device such as iPads. The principle is the same as VoIP on your computer: a software program installed on your smartphone (known as a softphone app) allows you to make calls or send SMS over your 3G, Wi-Fi, or alternative connection. A second way to use VoIP on your phone is to have your VoIP calls diverted from your home or office VoIP line to your mobile phone, although this method doesn’t allow you to make VoIP calls through your smartphone.

Some common smartphone VoIP apps include:

  • Skype for Android and iPhone
  • Vonage
  • Viber
  • Fring
  • Truphone
  • 8XX
  • Google
  • Counterpath

Since some apps allow mobile users (often on Skype which uses Voice Over Internet Protocol as its transmission mechanism) to make some video and voice calls for free (and pay for only the mobile data used), making calls this way could end up being much cheaper than traditional mobile phone calls, particularly if you’re using WiFi. WhatPhone says travellers might find mobile VoIP to be very useful. Many travelers save money on international roaming fees by using mobile VoIP at WiFi hotspots to make cheap international VoIP calls.


MAY ’12

Written by:
Kurt Hands

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.