Best Communication Apps

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In a perfect world, the best communication service would be one that would provide unlimited services of any kind to everybody in the world…for free. Unfortunately the pie has been already cut and most of us didn’t even get a minute piece of a crumb. The big pieces have been reserved for the mighty rich and powerful, but if you see it from a different perspective, it is highly unlikely that one of these days you will need to make an emergency call from the middle of the Sahara desert, the North Pole or the summit of Mount Everest. Fortunately for us there are more and more independent small companies pushing the envelope to narrow these social differences.

Different Types of Networks

The largest ever-existing network is still the old telephone network. It is the backbone of all the networks, even the Internet. Everyone from the most remote regions of the world have access to this network. The big telecommunication companies or “Telcos” for short will be very pleased to help even my grandma to get her phone line connected to the world.

With more than 1.3 billion users, the largest social network to this day is Facebook. This type of network allows you to communicate only and exclusively among users, it doesn’t allow you to interact with the most important telephone network or with no other networks for that matter. Nor the bank, the hospital or even the corner’s pizzeria will try to reach you dialing your Facebook ID or the other way around.

The Free App-to-App Only Communication Network.

Remember when it was possible to call any telephone number around the world for FREE using Skype? Well that little candy didn’t last long, it was a tactic that Skype and the vast majority of companies like (Fring, Truphone, Ninbuzz, iCall, ePhone, and hundreds of others) used in order to get the most people on board to gradually cut their free access to the telephone network leaving you with only two choices; either you start paying for the candy or you start teaching your peers how to install Skype on their computer so you can continue talking for free, creating in this way an army of people working for the company…for free. Soon, other companies followed this line of business and people started hopping from one to another for free candies leaving behind a bunch of software and applications installed in their computers or communication devices. That is why Skype and other companies with the same approach didn’t make the cut to be reviewed in this list.

The App-to-App + Telephone Network.

This is a network were people are able not only to communicate for free between users but also directly or indirectly with the telephone network as well. In my opinion, these are the most valuable networks that we can find today.

The following list is the effort of countless hours of testing and reviewing the best and most popular apps that these companies can offer. We gave each application a score from 1 to 10 based on the following points:

1. Reliability
The ability of an application to perform and maintain its functions in most circumstances.

2. Networks connectivity
The amount of networks/people that users can reach using the application.

3. Geographical access
The region or regions where the application is available and useful.

4. Services and tools
The quantity and importance of communication services and tools offered by the application.

5. Usability
The ease of use and learn how to interact with the application.

6. System configuration
To get some services or tools not provided in some applications you will need to install a third party application or program.

7. Help and information
User’s access to seek help and information about the application.

8. Services stability
The history of the company to keep and improve the services and tools already provided in its application.

It is important to remember that the goal here is to get the most services at the lowest price possible.


groove ip ring to
Groove IP + ring.to

Since Google pulled the plug (May 15th 2014) on allowing third-party mobile applications to use Google Voice to provide free text and calls services, many former Google Voice users are left running around looking for other similar alternatives. From the very few alternatives that we have found so far the partnering between Groove IP and ring.to is your best bet.

To get the most from these two services you will need to download both application starting from Groove IP that will provides you with a new free U.S local number for free incoming and outgoing calls to anywhere in the U.S and Canada, then you’ll need to download ring.to to send and receive free text, free voice mail, voice mail to email, personalized voice greeting, calls and text forwarding and all this using your new Groove IP number. If you want to use another number ring.to also provides a number porting service and that is not all….ring.to also provides you WebRTC using the Google Chrome browser which means that you don’t even need a smartphone to communicate, you just need to login to your ring.to account from any computer with Internet access in the world and start calling and texting for free.

The best part of it is that ring.to will assign you a Personal URL that you can send via email to anyone or you can link it in your post or web page. Friends and customers using Google Chrome (PC or Android devices) can call you for free just by clicking your Personal URL link. Here is an example of a ring.to Personal URL: https://ring.to/supportfmn/

Good news for Canadians

Groove IP and ring.to are available in Canada for Android and iOS devices. Strangely Groove IP allows Canadians to choose a local U.S number to enjoy these free services (No Canadian numbers yet).This is very convenient if you are a Canadian resident that has family and friend in the U.S or if you often travel south of the border.

The Groove IP application makes the registration and navigation a very easy process. On the other hand we found that the ring.to applications still have some room for improvement.

1. Reliability: 8

(It works better on Wi-Fi and 4G)

2. Network connectivity: 9
(Free access to the US/Canada telephone network. Groove IP network worldwide)

3. Geographical access: 7
U.S and Canada only. (you can download it from abroad here)

4. Services and tools: 10
(Groove IP + ring.to, WebRTC)

5. Usability: 8
(Groove IP is easy to use. ring.to needs some improvement)

6. System configuration: 7
(You need to download and set up two applications)

7. Help and information: 8
(FAQ pages on Groove IP and ring.to sites)

8. Services stability: 7
(Although Groove IP has been around for a few years partnering with ring.to is too recent )

Groove IP + ring.to Total score: 64

 

fongo logoFongo (for Canadians only)

This is a Canadian company that has kept its promises since its beginning: free incoming and outgoing calls to and from more than 80% of the Canadian territory. They also provide you with your own free local telephone number, free incoming texting (SMS), free voice mail, free voice message to email, free call transfer, free call forwarding, free call waiting, free call display and a lot more. It integrates very well with Android’s OS and is also available for Apple’s iOS. They also have a PC and Mac desktop application. You can even use your Fongo to receive and make calls to and from any Canadian number while you travel overseas. Texting (SMS) between Fongo users is free. Incoming texting from any regular Canadian phone number is also free, but if you want to text back to those regular phone numbers you can do so for only 1.99$ Canadian dollars a month. For Canadians, Fongo is by far your best option for your communication savings.

For Canadians only:

1. Reliability: 9
(It works better on Wi-Fi and 4G)

2. Network connectivity: 8
(Canadian telephone network and Fongo network)

3. Geographical access: 6
(You can download Fongo in Canada Only)

4. Services and tools: 7
(Canada only)

5. Usability: 8
(Very easy to navigate)

6. System configuration: 9
(You can open an account and configure every service from within the application)

7. Help and information: 9
(In the application, Fongo provided a support section under “My account” with a FAQ, Service, Status and Report Issue pages)

8. Services stability: 10
(Since its beginning Fongo have promised their customers that every free service will always remain free and today, that is a fact. Even more, they have improved their services every year)

Fongo’s Total Score: 66

 

freetone pngFreeTone

(TextMe inc.)

From all the similar applications that we tested and reviewed (Text+, Pinger, Upptalk, Fring, Text Free, and others) FreeTone came on top of the list and for many reasons. In both iOS and Android devices FreeTone was the fastest in sending and receiving text (SMS) messages, also the calls quality where way above average. It provides more services than some of the other tested applications like a real free local phone number (U.S and Canada only) for free incoming and outgoing calls and text to any number in Canada and U.S. If you live in the U.S or Canada you can even text to more than 100 countries for free. To place abroad calls you will need to earn credits either by watching video ads or by downloading third party applications. You also get a free voice-mail where you can record your own greeting. Other freebies are: video calls, video messaging, sending and receiving photos and videos among users. In the downside, FreeTone is not shy to put ads in almost every corner making the experience a little irritating for their customers. FreeTone is available worldwide in Apple’s App Store but unfortunately on the Google Play store, FreeTone is only available in the U.S, Canada and a very few other countries (may not be available in your country). Android and iOS users can communicate with each other. Today you will see more people texting than talking on their devices; that’s why we think that FreeTone is a very important tool in the free communication world.

1. Reliability: 8
(No issues concerning texting or placing calls. In our test 1 out of 3 incoming calls didn’t connect to our smartphone’s ring tone, leaving you with one third of missing calls)

2. Network connectivity: 9
(For U.S and Canada: Free calls and texts to U.S and Canada telephone network, free texting (SMS) to more than 100 countries and access to the FreeTone/TextMe network worldwide.)

3. Geographical access: 7
(Access for Android devices in U.S, Canada and very few other countries. Worldwide access for iOS devices)

4. Services and tools: 9
(Very useful)

5. Usability: 8
(Easy user interface)

6. System Configuration: 9
(You can open an account and configure the services from within the application)

7. Help and information: 7
(Limited FAQ section in the application and in their website)

8. Services stability: 9
(FreeTone is an upgrade of TextMe which since its beginning have improved their services from free texting only to free incoming calls and free texting to more than 100 countries for U.S and Canadian users. Now with FreeTone you get the full package!)

TextMe’s Total Score: 66

 

us and canada residents

 

 

 

For a highly detailed step by step tutorial on how to download and install the above-mentioned applications, get a copy of our Apps Installation Package NOW!

 

 

Other less relevant applications

The following applications will give you some access to the telephone network but they are less relevant due to flows in their conception, usability, reliability or service stability.

 

nettalk logoNetTalk

For iOS users this application will allow you to make outgoing calls to U.S and Canadians numbers. No free personal local numbers, no free incoming calls or texting are included. You will need to pay for this services.

For Android users a free personal local number is included where you can receive free incoming calls but they don’t allow you to place free outgoing calls and no free voice mail. You will need to purchase these and other services.

magicjack logomagicJack

This is another U.S and Canada free outgoing calls application and that is the only good thing that it does. For the rest, magicJack is no longer the revolutionary communication system that it was a few years ago.

So there you have it. These are the most reliable applications that provide free connection to the telephone network today. If you consider that there are other applications that have the merit to be addressed in this list, let us know. It will be a pleasure for us to update our list.

Until next time,
Cheers!

One Response

  1. What is your favorite communication app and why? Share your thoughts.

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