VoIP provider Vonage might be most famous for barely surviving massive patent battles with Verizon and Sprint back in 2007, but the company is now eager to start taking on Skype for a share of the international VoIP market, announcing Vonage World Mobile, a new calling service that offers unlimited calling to more than 60 countries for a monthly rate of $24.99 per month. The service is available to iPhone/iPod touch and BlackBerry users, who can download free applications for the service via iTunes and BlackBerry App World, respectively. The iPhone version can be used over both Wi-Fi and cellular data services, where the BlackBerry version only works via cellular data.
“Vonage World Mobile is a natural extension of the popular Vonage World home-based calling plan,” said Vonage CEO Marc Lefar, in a statement. “As mobile devices (phones, PCs, netbooks) become more powerful, broadband networks become more available, and 3G/4G data networks become more open, we envision a future where Vonage delivers calls, readable voicemail, texts, MMS, and video calls from any device, using any broadband connection.”
The applications tie into users existing contact list, and uses customers’ existing cell numbers to call recipients know who is calling. The service enables customers to call to landline phones in more than 60 countries; calls to cellular phones are supported in only a subset of those countries, though, including Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States.
Vonage’s $24.99 service competes with a similar $12.95 service from Skype; however, Skype currently only covers 40 countries. Existing Vonage World Home customers are eligible for a $10/month discount, however, making the service directly competitive for existing Skype customers who already use Vonage.