When an industry gets shaken up by newcomers to the market that provide the public with a free or cheaper alternative to the established providers it's called 'disruptive technology'.
This is exactly what has happened when it comes to making free phone calls abroad, or even any local call for that matter. This may be why some of the best iPhone 6 deals no longer include unlimited data in the plan. The Networks now need to make money from the data usage rather than the talk time.
There are many examples of disruptive technology that have enabled people to use the Internet instead of their old-fashioned service provider. In the early days of the Internet, the first Industry to get disrupted was the Music industry.
Music became free for all to download in the new internet age and nobody saw any reason to buy old-fashioned CD's any more. That disruption severely dented the profits that the music industry was used to making and corporate music changed forever. The result that we live with today is that any music that someone wants to listen to on their iPhone is available to them to download or stream for free.
More recent examples of disruptive technologies that provided huge value to consumers at the expense of the established industry providers would be WhatsApp for free text messaging and Uber for cheap and convenient personal car transport services.
In contrast to some of the newer disruptive services, making free calls over the Internet has been around for some time. Back in the 90's there were messaging services like ICQ and then Yahoo messenger which added Voice allying functionality.
The difference with the more recent services like Viber is that it's totally convenient as an App on the iPhone and integrates with your existing contacts automatically. Back in the day Internet voice calls were a slightly complicated affair. A certain amount of knowledge was required to set up microphones and headsets and modems, so it was never going to be the mainstream activity that making free calls abroad is today.
So lets get back on topic and review the top 3 best iPhone apps free internet calls over Wifi or your data plan.
iTunes Store Download link: Download Viber
Why is Viber such a great app for free calls abroad over Wifi? I'll go into some of my own reasons for liking this app so much because it really is the king of calls. Free calls abroad aside, if your friends also have the app then you will never use your iPhone contract minutes allowance even for local calls.
There will be some overhead with using the Data allowance in your contract, however so I recommend using Viber with a WiFi connection as much as possible to avoid any overage charges on your data plan.
It would be interesting to find out exactly how much data Viber uses per minute when using it for free calls on the iPhone but that investigation will have to wait for another article.
So as far as setting up Viber goes, it was very easy and took less than a minute to do once it was downloaded from the Apple App Store.
Perhap the best part about setting up Viber which sets it apart is that no email registration is required at all. Just put in your mobile number, set your name and a photo if you want and you are good to go immediately.
A photo of yourself is useful so that others can find you more easily in the Viber directory. If you just want to call people you are already I contact with, Viber makes this easy too.
The app will put an icon next to all the contacts in its address book (this is a copy of your existing iPhone contact book, but within the Viber app). The icon lets you know who else already has the app and if they are online you can start calling straight away.
iTunes Store Download link: Download Facetime
Facetime has to be on this list of top 3 apps for making fre calls on the iPhone because it's native to the iPhone, built by Apple and was really the first app that used the iPhone's front=facing camera properly. Before Facetime lots of smart phones had front facing cameras but as a friend once told me when the iPhone 3G was released...
People will use front-facing cameras now that Steve Jobs has told them to
I personally consider Facetime to be a pioneer in the convenience of what used to be called VOIP or (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology. Sure, you could make an internet call to someone before the iPhone but it involved hooking up a camera and installing an app like Skype, AOL Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger and then playing about with microphone levels until you got some sense out of the conversation.
Yes, making a call over the Internet used to be like attending a recording session at a studio. Too many wires and cable and too much room for error. The iPhone fixed all of that in one go.
The coolest things about Facetime is that it is very easy to use right from your iPhone Contact list. You choose whether to make a Video call or an Audio only call, press the button and off you go.
The one drawback with Facetime is that you can only make calls to other people who have an iPhone as it is not available for any other type of smart phone. This a well-worn part of Apple's strategy to create a 'walled garden' around their technology.
But hey, while the iPhone remains the best smart phone on the market and while most of the population are using one then it's not a problem just to call iPhones with Facetime. The chances are that all your friends have iPhones too!
In fact, Facetime is available for all Apple platforms, so you can install it on your Macbook or other Mac OS computer. Apple users can unite, chat and communicate to make the world a better place!
iTunes Store Download link: Download Skype
We include Skpe in the Top 3 iPhone apps for making free Wi-Fi calls because it has been around for so long and is ubiquitous. Everyone has used Skype at some point in their lives. From 75 year-old Grandma's calling their grandchildren abroad or youngsters making free video calls to their friends at home, we all know what Skype is.
Skype gets a special mention because it was the first application for Windows computers to work really well on a laptop with great sound quality.
You still needed the old cables and camera though, so when they created an app for Symbian smart phones, then Apple iPhones and Android phones it meant that everyone could call everyone else for free. The Skype app does a great job of integrating into the iPhone hardware and using the front or rear facing camera.
The only drawback is that it does not integrate with the iPhone contact list like Viber does. This means that you have to maintain a separate list of Skype users that you know. The old routine of asking them their Skype name and then
requesting an add to their contact list is a time-worn ritual among Skype users
The advantage of this, though is that you can login to Skype from any Laptop, notebook, computer or smart phone and your Skype contact list is carried across to all of these devices by the internet computer magicians. Most people have a Skype contact list these days as it's been around for so long. So Skype is the winner for pure cross-platform chat-ability and longevity, which is no mean achievement in this internet age.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our article about the best ways to make free phone calls with your iPhone. Please go ahead and leave us some comments below.