Remember the days when we used to top up for our mobile phone prepaid credits so that we can make phone calls or send SMSes? With the rise of mobile penetration as well as high speed mobile data plans, gone are the days where we need to pay for phone calls or SMSes, because they are all replaced by VOIP as well as mobile messaging apps.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over the Internet. As long as you are connected to the web, you can make free phone calls. VOIP is made popular by Skype, as well as other apps such as Viber, which was recently bought over by Japanese e commerce company Rakuten.
In Hong Kong, another similar app called Maaii also allows you to make free phone calls over the internet.
The app allows users to chat and make free or low cost phone calls – similar to what other apps such as WeChat, Line, Viber, and Skype offer. However, this chat app, which offers IM features like group chat, media sharing, and stickers, is being recognized by users for its free calling functionality like video messages, Facebook calls, and voice calls between Maaii users.
Similar to Skype, Maaii enables calls to regular phones across the world directly from the app. Users can purchase calling credit, or alternatively earn it by completing tasks such as inviting friends to join, rating the app and more.
Unsurprisingly, Maaii is led by Chris Lewis, who was formerly head of Skype Asia. When it launched in Thailand last July, it became the number one overall free app on iTunes Thailand and gained 500,000 downloads in 24 hours. Maaii has also ranked number one on the iOS app stores in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and others.
Of course, you can use other more popular apps such as LINE or Viber to make phone calls to one another, but Maaii allows you to connect to Facebook and let you find and chat with friends from the social network.
Earlier on Monday, LINE announced that it has launched its own LINE Call for some of its select Android users. LINE Call allows LINE users to not only call their friends on LINE, but also to other mobile phones as well as land lines.
With LINE Call, you would only have to pay for the pricing, which starts at 2 cents per minute, up to 12 cents per minute in the Philippines.
With all these options available, you can choose to call your friends over the internet for free if they are using the same app, and pay a little extra if they are not using any mobile apps.