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Summary:

Skype has new competition on the iPhone platform thanks to Viber, a new VoIP app that allows iPhone-to-iPhone calling over 3G and Wi-Fi connections. The app is free, runs in the background, doesn’t have any ads and won’t charge you anything to make calls.

viber-feature

Skype has new competition on the iPhone platform thanks to Viber, a new VoIP app that allows iPhone-to-iPhone calling over 3G and Wi-Fi connections. The app is free, runs in the background, doesn’t have any ads and won’t charge you anything to make calls.

There are some caveats. You can’t call any number for free, just other Viber users. Calling a number not associated with a Viber account will boot you out to the iPhone’s own Phone app to place the call, which will incur carrier or long distance charges. And there’s no warning of that, so watch your usage.

Also, unlike with Skype, there’s no way to call out to landlines or mobile phones, even through additional purchases, which may be a deal breaker to some. But for my purposes, which mainly consist of not using up my limited daytime minutes talking to my girlfriend, it’s a perfect solution. Perfect that is, as long as everyone involved has an iPhone. Viber is advertising an Android version as in the works, though, so cross-platform calls could be on the horizon.

But why not just use Skype? Well, for one, Viber doesn’t really require a sign up or separate account. All you do is enter your iPhone’s phone number once when the app launches, and you’re all set to begin making calls to other Viber users. That means I don’t have to worry about whether or not my girlfriend is signed in to Skype or has the app running, since Viber uses Apple’s push notifications to receive calls even when closed. Clicking “Answer” on the resulting alert opens the app and connects the call.

Viber suggests using the app as a way for businesses to provide a toll-free international calling number, but of course, those wanting to call would have to have Viber installed in order for this to work. They don’t, however, have to have you as a contact. Instead, just dialing the number you provide in the Viber app will automatically place a call using the service instead of your cellular minutes.

Planned future features for Viber include free text messaging, custom ringtones and wallpapers, and location-based services. Viber’s business model doesn’t yet include any way to make revenue, so expect a few of those to be features you end up paying for. But since the press release explicitly says “free text messaging” and promises that calls will remain free, which is all I care about, I’m happy to see Viber embracing a freemium model.

Full support for the iPod touch and iPad is also said to be on the way, although right now I wonder how that’ll work, since the whole service seems based around your phone number. Hopefully, it will arrive, because that’ll go a long way to extending Viber’s potential reach.

Even without any new teachers, I doubt I’ll be using Skype on my iPhone again any time soon. Anyone else a convert?

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  1. So, correct me if I am wrong here. But how is this useful if I can call only someone with an iPhone? Doesn’t AT&T already offer free Unlimited mobile to mobile calling when it comes to the iPhone? At least that is what it says on my contract. So why would I want to use Viber, if I am already going to get free calling to other iPhones?

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    1. Not to mention the fact that according to the recent Nielsen report, http://bit.ly/g4CQI1 the iPhone is only 8% of all mobile handsets in the US.

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    2. That’s a temporary, U.S.-centric viewpoint. a) if Verizon gets the iPhone, as rumored, then it’ll give you free U.S.-based calls between carriers. b) If, however, you are NOT in the U.S., or you are in the U.S. but have friends who aren’t, you can use this to call them. Not everyone has the same phone deal as AT&T. My bestie is on Rogers, and I’m personally thrilled to not have to deal with Skype.

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    3. USA is not the whole world!!
      Think of it, me personally I am living in London, all my friends live in Germany, and most of my family in Poland and I do not know any of them who does not have an iPhone. You know how much it is to call internationally? It is ridiclulous expensive, this app is one of the best apps that has ever been made on the iphone.

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  2. i was thinking the exact same thing, shaun

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  3. shaun usa is not the only country with the iphone. you use this app to make calls internationally for free and, also when they get android sopport this app have more ppl to call not just at&t customers

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  4. Hi,

    Thank you for commenting and sharing your feedback on Viber. As mentioned in previous comments, users from any country (not only the USA) can use Viber to call each other internationally for free. In addition, we are currently working on an Android and Blackberry support for Viber, which will allow you to call your friends in different providers as well.

    For more questions/suggestions, be sure to check out our Viber Forums at http://support.viber.com

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  5. For those who don’t have an iPhone, you can check out a demo of Viber here: http://bit.ly/ViberDemo

    Click on the boxes to play with the application.

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  6. What about Nokia Symbians? Most of my friends are using Nokia and I like to call them with Viber too. I am hoping you to add the Sms function too just like Whatsapp application so we can also send the messages to other Viper users. Tango makes same things plus they provide us to make video calls too, why don’t Viper allows video calls?

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  7. For ppl who said “its not useful..the app is only for iPhones”

    Android and BlackBerry versions are coming Soon!!!
    check their official site

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  8. So this is a great missing link to free international calling.
    So I’m Att, but travel overseas! I use my iPhone or ipad and WHISTLE app to call anyone/ any number back in the states.
    Now, from the states, I can call any Iphone user for zilch using VIBER app!
    Fancy that???
    All we need is USA calling to ANY LANDLINE OR CELL PHONE in the world, and it will be time to start shorting the stock price of all telecoms!
    Why is it in the USA we still pay for in& out bound cell calls????

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  9. So this is a great missing link to free international calling.
    So I’m Att, but travel overseas! I use my iPhone or ipad and WHISTLE app to call anyone/ any number back in the states.
    Now, from the states, I can call any Iphone user for zilch using VIBER app!
    Fancy that???
    All we need is USA calling to ANY LANDLINE OR CELL PHONE in the world, and it will be time to start shorting the stock price of all telecoms!
    Why is it in the USA we still pay for in& out bound cell calls????

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  10. I was using viber the other day and at some point instead of telling me how long I’d been making the call there was a countdown. Does that mean there’s a restricted amount of time I can spend calling?Has anybody experienced that too?

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