Ring, Ring, It’s Fring: VoIP on iPhone

Attention, iPhone users: Fring is now available for iPhone. What is Fring, you ask? According to their website, Fring is “a mobile internet service & community,” bringing PC-benefits to mobile devices, as well as affordable local and international calls.

Essentially, Fring is an application that one may download onto his or her iPhone, which allows a person to integrate all IM buddies to one list, to make free calls, to utilize live chat, to access Skype, Google Talk, Twitter, AIM, Yahoo, MSN Messenger and ICQ.  Arguably the biggest draw of the application is its VoIP, or Voice-over Internet Protocol technology, which lets the user switch inbound calls from using regular phone minutes to free WiFi internet access instead, resulting in a lower monthly bill.

Ever since the iPhone emerged as the premier phone for Internet users, as well as the most expensive, consumers and application developers have been trying to circumvent the attached costs of owning the phone. VoIP applications, such as Truphone’s VoIP App and Packet8 MobileTalk, began sprouting up ubiquitously, promising of low-cost solutions to Apple’s high-end, release-it-now-troubleshoot-later panache. Eventually, with the release of the iPhone 3G Apple started endorsing third-party applications through their website.

Though VoIP is hardly new (Market leader Vonage has been around for a while now), the idea of using mobile internet connection to make and receive calls on your phone is a recent, still-developing capability, which sounds counter-intuitive to quite a few phone users.

“I’m not sure why you would use the internet to make calls on your phone,” says an anonymous observer. “Why wouldn’t you just use the phone?”

“Another worthless iPhone app,” writes an online commentator.

“[A] call on the AT&T network would have cost me well over $4/min … using Fring it was less than $0.10/min,” writes another web commentator and Fring user.

Worthless or worthwhile? You be the judge.

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