I've been a Vonage customer for a few years now. I use their service for my home office phone line. I don't really have any complaints. The service works fine and the call quality is decent. I remember when Vonage released their 1st iPhone App and the extreme disappointment that many Vonage customers had feeling that the mobile App should allow them to use/connect to the service they were already paying for. I never bothered with their 1st App as I saw no benefit to it. Apparently I'm not alone because that App appears to be no longer available. To their credit, they did release the Vonage Extensions App that does allow existing Vonage subscribers to use their smartphones to make international calls that are tied to their existing Vonage accounts that they already pay for.
Now Vonage is back with a NEW App Vonage Mobile. Vonage Mobile appears to want to compete head to head with Skype for FREE or low cost voice calls. The concept is simple. If you download the App for your mobile device and your friends/family download it for their mobile devices (iOS or Android) you can call each other all you want for FREE. Yes even internationally. Vonage, now you have my attention! Sounds very Skypish at this point. It gets better. If you are calling or receiving calls from a regular Vonage customer those are also FREE. Best of all you don't have to be a Vonage subscriber to use this App.
How does the App work?
I set up the App on my iPhone 4s. Once you download and launch it you'll be prompted to activate it. They can either text you or call you with an activation code. For whatever reason I didn't receive the text, so the App offered to call me and read off the activation code. Once I got it setup then it offered to Import my contacts. I let it do this (privacy concerns aside) because not only do I want my contacts in the App but it can identify any existing Vonage phone numbers for your contacts and put a little "V"onage logo next to them. Now you know who you can call for FREE. The next thing I wanted to do was test it! I called a few numbers just to try it and they worked. As a matter of coincidence I'd been meaning to call Vonage customer service to get my Vongage phone adapter replaced at home. I figured why not use the App to make this call. I was shocked to see that their toll-free 866 number was NOT a Vonage number???!!! No worries, because for a limited time you can call any number for FREE! Woot! It was nice that the App offered me a choice to call the number using my regular minutes or Vonage credits. My call was crystal clear.
How does it work on iPod touch or iPad?
After I got it going on my iPhone, I was curious to see how it worked on my iPad since technically the iPad isn't a phone? The app took me through the exact same setup procedure where it asked me for my mobile phone number and email address. It texted me another code (this time I got it) and I entered it and it worked. I then tried placing a call from my iPad to my iPhone and oddly enough it worked through the Vonage App. I also tried sending a Vonage Text from the iPad to the iPhone and that works too. It also uses the caller ID of the mobile number you setup the App with. This means that when I placed a call from the iPad to my iPhone, the iPhone showed it as coming from my iPhone "number". A bit confusing, but just keep in mind that you'll need a mobile phone (doesn't have to be an iPhone) to set up the App on your iPad or iPod touch and that any calls you make from your iDevices will appear to the person on the other end as if they are coming from your mobile phone.
What about calls to non-Vonage customers or Apps?
You can call any number you want. However, if you call a non-Vonage number or non-Vonage App user then you'll be prompted to use your Vonage "credits". How do you get Vonage Credits? Vonage did it right by making these an in-app purchase! Unlike Skype where you have to buy credits via their website. Currently they sell either a $4.99 credit or $9.99 credit. You can check the number you wish to call ahead of time in the App to see what the billing rate will be. For example, for me to call a buddy in South Africa it would be 23¢ a minute. Vonage claims to be 70% cheaper than carriers (not hard to believe) and 30% cheaper than Skype for international calls (for those people you're calling that don't have the App).
What could be better?
I'm stoked about this App and having yet one more way to make Free or Cheap calls worldwide. However, they missed the boat on one important feature. Currently there is no support for Bluetooth headsets. This should be an easy one to add since there is an API for it. Also there is no video call support at this time, nor is there a "native" iPad version. Sure this version works on iPad, but in the smaller iPhone screen size. Other than that this App rocks!
You can get Vonage Mobile for Free here from the or here from the Android Market and for a limited time make free calls even to people that don't have the App (Kudos to Vonage for this trial).