In what seems like an endless uphill battle with Microsoft’s Skype, Vonage has just taken steps that may help level the playing field a bit.
The VoIP service provider has released Vonage Mobile, a new service for use with a couple of slick new mobile applications for the iPhone and Android smartphone platforms that the company feels surpasses Skype’s mobile voice call and text offerings.
Vonage Mobile apps are available for free download on both the iPhone App Store and Android Market.
Like Skype, Vonage Mobile allows for free calls and texts between any two users of its users. In addition, users can purchase calling minutes through the App Store and Android Market to make international calls with rates Vonage claims are 30 percent cheaper than Skype.
The service works over 3G, 4G and WiFi wireless data networks. A user can dial a contact directly from the application, and can invite contacts to join Vonage Mobile for free calls between them.
For an unspecified limited time, Vonage Mobile is offering calls to any phone in the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada.
Trials of the service and applications on both an iPhone and an Android-based Samsung Galaxy Nexus resulted in high quality calls with very little latency using both WiFi and 3G networks.
Each of the apps is simple-to-use and polished, though the on the iPhone, the app displays contacts from the phone’s buit in address book in incorrect alphabetical order and, in some cases, with the contact’s name missing. No such issues came up with the Android app.