The mobile edition of Skype should be the perfect product for owners of 3G handsets but unfortunately it can only be used via wireless hotspots since the crafty networks have blocked it. They haven’t blocked this (yet) though…
From Fring is the ‘mobile VoIP solution’ and since it currently hasn’t attracted the attention of Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, O2, et al yet you can be up and using VoIP services as part of your regular 3G data package in no time.
Stripping it down what Fring offers is a universal client for Skype and Google Talk as well as popular IM programme MSN Messenger (the latter of which some networks do allow). The beauty of Fring – other than it goes undetected – is that it brings these three programmes together under a single simple interface listing online contacts and enabling you to start IM or VoIP conversations at will.
Handily, Fring has also worked out the data usage for those of you not on flat rate 3G plans. It computes a 60 minute mobile VoIP call will use 5MB while an SMS requires 0.05KB and Fring itself uses just 10KB per hour for connectivity. From this it claims savings can be as much as 96 per cent compared to typical voice call charges and that doesn’t take into account the greater savings when calling contacts based abroad. For a full cost table look here.
Fring is a free application and – while there are many universal clients available for computers which unite this trio of apps – it is the only one I know of which works block-free in the UK. Unfortunately there is one downside to Fring and that is so far it only works on Symbian 8 and 9 devices meaning think Nokia, Nokia and more Nokia.
Ultimately, I can only wish Fring well. I suspect the networks will spot it sooner or later and have something to say about the inroads it is making into their voice tariffs but until then make hay while the sun doesn’t shine. Besides, the company has a cute logo!