Using a VOIP app on your wiFi phone is not a new idea..SKYPE has been doing it for years and it is not alone. A Montreal based newcomer to the field has just made it to the 101bestandroidapps.com list at number 13. ROAMASIDE claims rates 67% lower than SKYPE and offers budget VOIP calling from your Android, iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad or BlackBerry.
A search function locates WiFi Hotspots anywhere in the world and uses the GPS function of your phone to determine your location to help find hot spots near you. I tested ROAMASIDE from my home WiFi as well as a hotspot in a shopping centre. In both cases the incoming and outgoing voice quality was excellent and the price of $0.003 (three tenths of a cent) per minute within Canada is tough to beat.
ROAMASIDE uses the infrastructure of another Montreal based startup, Tribair which has smartphone apps as well and offers more services at a higher price. For example Tribair offers free calling between members and allows you to use the data service on your smartphone when WiFi service is not available. I tried it using the Telus HSPA Data network and again the call quality was excellent. If you are in a location where data roaming charges don’t apply, $0.012 per minute within Canada is quite a bit cheaper that most carrier’s long distance charges and you don’t use phone minutes.
Tribair is promoting an interesting way to expand it’s network beyond the usual free WiFi hotspots. If you agree to allow Tribair members secure access to your WiFi router the company will share up to 20% of the revenue from calls made through your router. An interesting concept. Take a look at this promotional video.