Software Reviews: Fring VOIP Service

Fring is a free VOIP program that allows users to make calls using the internet connectivity of their internet-ready devices.
What is Fring? Fring is software for your internet-capable wireless device (most Nokias with Symbian and many Windows Mobile Phones, see website for details. Fring allows you to make PEER-TO-PEER calls over most of the VOIP networks: Skype, MSN Messenger, and Google talk. It’s a data conduit for phone calls – rather than a cellular-network conduit.

Fring utilizes both 3G and Wi-Fi to make phone calls. 15 minutes of talk time usually occupies 2 MB of data.

Many users also recommend twitter.com as a fun starting point for use of Fring. In the world of Web 2.0, it’s best to stay connected 24-7.

PROS

This techno-mumbo-jumbo sounds confusing at first, but it boils down to saving a few dollars. Why?

Instead of using the voice channel for a GSM phone, Fring uses the 3G or EDGE data network. In general, data transfers are MUCH CHEAPER than phone calls. How much cheaper?

An average phone call using 3G on Fring would cost less than 90 percent the cost of a normal phone call on a GSM network. Phone calls using the Wi-Fi would cost nothing except for the price of connectivity and battery-life.

Wi-fi is not NEEDED for Fring, but you can also use it as an alternative to native 3G capability.

With a wi-fi-ready phone (like the Nokia smartphone, or Apple’s iphone), you can make calls using the already available VOIP networks. Instead of paying for minutes, you’re paying for data.

CONS

Although I think Fring is a novel concept, it cuts out the middleman of the phone company. No longer do we need to make phone calls over the network, we simply find a wi-fi point, and start talking. Phone companies will use this as a selling point against Net Neutrality.

Secondly, Fring only works with smartphones. Smartphones are generally more expensive than regular cell phones. With that added expense, it may not be worth it to purchase a new smartphone strictly for the purpose of using it with Fring. That limits Fring usage to people who already have smartphones. Models that will accept Fring: all Symbian 8 amp; 9, Windows Mobile 5 amp; 6 devices, including PDAs. There is a large amount of information available on the website to support the Nokia model smartphones. To Summarize: Fring is a cheap and novel way to use a data stream rather than a cellular network to make calls. In Europe, and gradually over the wired world, further advances in wireless technology will make instantaneous connections cheap, easy and best of all – fun! If you’re looking for a good way to use your smartphone, try out Fring. It’s free! http://www.fring.com