Part 1: cutting the cost of calling with discounted rate services
Welcome to the CrackBerry Guide to wireless bill cutting apps; or “How to afford to keep your BlackBerry and your high usage habits.” The BlackBerry addiction is strong. Like any addiction, it typically comes at a cost. In this case, in comes out of your pocket. Some are spoiled by their employer and are given a company BlackBerry. If they leave their job, some find the addiction too strong to just walk away from. They’ve developed habits and the result is a wireless bill, much larger than they can afford. Sure, some of us have UMA enabled BlackBerrys to lend a hand, but it doesn’t help everyone-especially not everywhere. Luckily, there are developers out there that have seen the need and have provided users with other means to save a few dollars. Let’s see what some of them are.
In part 1 we will focus on a few of the discounted rate services that are available. This article will be updated with additional entries as time goes on.
JAJAH App by Almoko
JAJAH is an IP Telephony Platform, recognized by the world’s 25 largest carriers as “the Best Communication Solution”. Their advertising boasts a savings of up to 98% on your bill when it comes to international calls. They provide a local number you call in order to connect to your contacts. The application allows you to easily switch between local numbers if you are travelling. By fully integrating into your BlackBerry, JAJAH enables users to use their JAJAH account automatically when making an international call. This includes; calling international numbers from your call log, messages, address book and more. The application also allows you to display or hide both your caller ID and the per-minute cost of your calls. Through their website, they provide a list of rates separated by country.
Rebtel was recently announced and permits BlackBerry users to send inexpensive international SMS (save up to 65%), save up to 90% on international calls and even make free calls between 50 countries. Instead of using WiFi, you actually use your monthly allotted local minutes with your wireless carrier. That saves you from searching for a hotspot to make an important call. Through Rebtel, you let them know who you want to call and their number. They then assign a unique local number for that contact. If you want to get a free call, call your contact and have them call you back at the number on their call display. I know it’s a bit of a hassle, but we are talking about a free call here (you’re still responsible for your local minutes). The app also allows you to check your credits, add credits and change the settings for calls and your account. Check out their rates here
Ah, the ever useful world that is Google. Google voice is a great way to save money on staying in touch with someone. With Google Voice, users can call and send free text messages using their Google Voice number. Its integration into your BlackBerry’s address book, as well as your Google Contacts, is amazing from what I can see. Unfortunately, Google Voice is not available in Canada at this time…boo. Voicemail is also transcribed into text; allowing you to easily read why people are bugging you. You can also manage custom greetings for each caller. If and when Google Voice makes it way to the Great White North, I’ll be sure to pick it up. I'll save you the hassle of googling their rates.From your BlackBerry browser
Voxofon Call Abroad
Voxofon is another alternative that also promotes inviting friends to use the service as well. For each friend that signs up, you get a 6% reward of their account refills for a period of 6 months. Signing up yourself wins you up to 30 free minutes (sign up is free as well). Using the application is simple-You start by dialing the international number. For a brief second, your call attempt will display as normal. The Voxofon application then jumps in and pops up a screen displaying a few options available, along with their associated rates per minute. You can then choose to call via a local number, use your wireless carrier instead or set up a callback. Their rates are fairly competitive (starting at 1 cent per minute); you can have a look at their rates here.
Comwave is a Canadian company that provides long distance services to American and Canadian consumers. The company offers a few different options to save you money on your calls. For $15 per month, you can enjoy unlimited local calling. For $20 per month, it’s extended to unlimited calling across Canada. $25 every month gets you unlimited calling within Canada and the USA. A healthy 30 day free trial is available when you sign up. It should be noted that you still have to pay your current wireless provider; this is an added service that is available. You can also block or change your caller ID to something else.
Many of us take advantage of calling cards in order to make long distance or international calls. They do offer incredible discounts, (in most cases) but they are so easily lost. You try to make a call, but you’re stuck looking through your bag, wallet, purse or any pocket you may have in order to find it. WorldDialer (also known as BerryDailer) comes in and offers to lighten your plastic load. The application can store up to 100 different calling cards for you and let you decide which one to use. It can support verification codes, access numbers, international prefixes and termination characters. To help you automatically follow the typical prompts some services use, you can set pauses to separate number dialing from password entry. You can easily make calls from your call log or address book.
WorldDialer is currently on sale for $4.99 (regular price is $9.99) from the CrackBerry App Store
Mo-Call is a virtual mobile network service provided by Morodo Limited. Once installed, the application will constantly look out for any international numbers you may dial. It will redirect the call to run over their network instead. It provides inexpensive VoIP calling with or without having to connect to the internet. In some cases, the internet connection is only briefly used in order to initiate the call; that’s it. This saves you data usage, as well as standard international rates. They say that they provide up to 90% savings on calls. Check out their rates to see if they fit your budget.
IM+ Talk by SHAPE Services
Skype provides an excellent VoIP service that is free between Skype users. They also provide low cost pay as you go and monthly plans with amazing rates. IM+ Talk brings Skype to BlackBerry and give users free VoIP calls over WiFi and 3G/EDGE to fellow Skype members, as well as get Skype rates on calling everyone else. Users also have access to the callback feature when not in a WiFi zone. Since this charges both you and the other contact, you will need to have a Skype subscription or Skype credits. When on a VoIP call, you will be in “half-duplex” mode; which will require you to use a convenience key to turn your BlackBerry into a walkie-talkie. Over.
IM+ Talk is available for $29.99 from the CrackBerry App Store.
GL2Go is designed specifically with BlackBerry in mind. One of their key selling points is turning your unlimited incoming plan with your current provider into unlimited outgoing with GL2GO. This is done using their Call Back feature. Their Direct Dial feature also offers low rate long distance and international calls. In fact, you can save 95% on the regular rate for mobile long distance calling. When you first register, they provide 60 trial minutes to give GL2GO a good once over. Their services are open to residents in Canada or in the USA who wish to dial to anywhere in the world. GL2GO is currently working on adding “world to world” services that will help users connect when they’re outside of North America. The application integrates nicely and allows you to access its features through the native menu. View their rates.
So there you have it. Apps like these should help you keep your monthly costs of owning a BlackBerry down. You can use your newly available funds on more important things such as; new accessories for your BlackBerry! Stay tuned for Part 2 – which will cover more applications that help you keep costs down in other ways. What are you using that is similar to the apps listed above? Let us know in the comments.