updated 10:05 pm EDT, Thu October 28, 2010
Works with Wi-Fi, 3G, even EDGE
NetTalk.com, a low-cost VOIP competitor to services such as Skype, Vonage and MagicJack, is offering a free app through iTunes that enables iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users the chance to call phone numbers throughout the US and Canada at no cost -- even using a conference call function. The service can make the calls using Wi-Fi, 3G or even EDGE networks without using cellular plan minutes.
While the mobile app (also available for other smartphones) is free and requires only a free account signup to use and make calls, it cannot receive calls, be assigned to a "real" phone number or use the full range of services the company offers. For that, customers can opt to buy the NetTalk Duo, a small VOIP kit that replaces the older, bulkier boxes used by companies like Vonage and connects directly to a router with no computer required, drawing power either from a standard electrical connection or a mini-USB port. The box and service costs $70 for the first year, $30/year thereafter, and like other VOIP services can be used with conventional "landline" phones.
The free NetTalk mobile app includes free 411 directory assistance, free conference calling, free tech support and imports contacts from the iPhone's Contacts app. It can even record conversations. The company promises that low cost international dialling and automatic linking of NetTalk Duo calls to your smartphone and other services are coming soon.