Most of us have long-distance calling included in our phone plans. However, few of us actually have plans that include international minutes. Most of us don’t make many international calls, but when we do, the calls can be a bit expensive. But not anymore. I’ve been playing around with the Vonage Time to Call app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch mobile devices. It’s a pretty neat app for making international calls. It’s great for international students, travelers, parents with kids overseas, and frugal dads like me. With the free Apple app, dads and moms can call and talk for up to 15 minutes to 100 countries for $1.99 or less. Read on for more information about the Vonage Time to Call app, how you can get 15 free minutes of international calling, and how you can win $715 in iTunes gift cards (for buying something called the iPad 2 — have you heard of it?).
The Time to Call app is easy to use. You just download the app, select your home country, select the country you want to call, press the Buy button, and then enter your iTunes info (I didn’t actually have to enter any info on my iPod Touch). After that, you can make a call with your address book or by dialing the number directly. In my tests, the calls were clear. And using an Apple iPod Touch to make calls to a real phone number is pretty cool.
For a limited time, Vonage is also offering free international calling (up to 15 minutes) to one hundred countries. All you have to do is download the Time to Call app. No purchase is necessary, but you have to activate the free call before the limited time offer expires (activate it by pressing the “try it for free” button). The free call is limited to 15 minutes, but you have up to one year to use the minutes.
After using the Time to Call app, here’s my take:
Time to Call Positives
- The app is free and easy to use
- No need to set up an account or plan with Vonage — app uses your iTunes account
- Time to Call users do not have to be Vonage home phone service subscribers
- Service works on Wi-Fi worldwide
- Also works on high-quality 3G wireless networks in USA and Canada
- Rates for fifteen-minute calls to 100 countries range from 99¢ to $1.99
- Additional 90 countries can be called for flat rates ranging up to $9.99
- Calls to landlines and mobile phones are the same rate
- Time to Call service is available everywhere
- Unused minutes will be available for up to a year
- For a limited time, if you have less than 5 minutes remaining, your next call can be up to 5 minutes (even if you only have one unused minute left)
- 70% to 90% savings over major mobile carriers (I did not have time to verify this for myself)
Time to Call Negatives
- Works only with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch wireless devices (Android app coming soon)
- Caller ID shows up as “out of area” because you can’t enter your phone number if you’re using an iPod Touch
- I made multiple free calls, but I can’t find my remaining minutes balance for the free call(s)
- Rates does not include applicable taxes so you don’t really know what the final amount will be
- 3G calls require a data plan with your mobile carrier
- The app is one way, you can call out but you can’t receive calls with the app
- Unused minutes can only be used for the same country or calling region
Apple iPad 2 Giveaway
Thanks to Vonage (Facebook | Twitter), a very lucky reader of my geek dad blog will win two iTunes gift cards. One gift card has a value of $15 and is for testing the Vonage Time to Call app. The other iTunes card is a $700 gift card for purchasing an Apple iPad 2, 32 GB. For $700, you can actually purchase the 64 GB WiFi version if you don’t need the 3G version. If you already have an iPad 2, you can use the iTunes card to purchase something else at the Apple Store. The giveaway is open to all humanoids on the planet Earth (including international life forms). If you don’t have access to Apple in your country, your cash prize will will be sent via Paypal. The winner will be randomly selected. The deadline to enter the giveaway is Sunday, August 14th (Pacific time).
To enter my giveaway, you have to do two things. First task, leave a comment about who and where you would like to call internationally with the Vonage Time to Call app. Second task: you have a choice of either changing my toddler’s poopy diaper or helping me promote the giveaway via Facebook (click on the “like” icon at the top of this page) and/or Twitter (use the retweet button at the top of this page). Let me know in the comments how you will help me out (diaper, Twitter, Facebook).
You can only enter the contest once on my site (no bonus entries). However, feel free to also enter at Geekzone and Small Business Trends. They are also giving away Apple iPads today. There are actually 75 bloggers giving away an iPad 2 over the next several weeks. Check out the contest schedule at Time to call from your smartphone website. And don’t forget to download the new Vonage Time to Call international calling app.
[Update: the winner of my giveaway is Dave (dlposey). Congrats to Dave!]
[Disclosure: The giveaway prize will be provided by Vonage, but they are not the administrators of the giveaway on my blog. I am not liable for the prize. I received an iTunes gift card for testing the Vonage Time to Call app. As always, the opinions expressed are mine and I am not obligated to write a positive review.]