VoIP operator Vonage is aiming to take some of the pain out of international calling—and tap into the huge market of iOS device owners at the same time. The company’s new Time to Call application enables users of iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch) to place international VoIP calls to more than 190 countries. However, unlike most apps that tie into commercial services, Time to Call users don’t need Vonage accounts: if you can get by with a call no longer than 15 minutes, you can just pay through iTunes.
“With the launch of Time to Call, Vonage has simplified the process of making affordable international calls for iPhone users around the globe,” said Vonage CEO Marc Lefar, in a statement. “Not only does this service offer tremendous value for international callers dialing from their home countries, it also provides a great solution for international travelers who want to avoid the bill shock associated with international calls and roaming charges when they call back home.”
The most appealing aspect of the service to many callers will be that users do not have to be Vonage customers to take advantage of the service: just download the app and pay via an existing iTunes account. Vonage is betting that Time to Call will prove easier than dealing with phone cards, credit cards, or paying for connectivity in cash.
Using Time to Call, 15-minute calls to 100 countries range from $0.99 to $1.99, although fees for the remaining 90 countries Vonage can reach can be as high as $9.99 for that same 15 minutes—taxes apply to all calls. (Users can look up country rates on the Time to Call site.) The service handles calls to landlines and mobile phones at the same rate.
The Time to Call app operates on Wi-Fi anywhere with Internet connectivity, and U.S. and Canadian users can use the app on 3G networks.
For a limited time, Vonage is promoting Time to Call with free international calls lasting up to 15 minute to 100 countries.