When I first got my first generation iPhone I was foaming at the mouth – I couldn’t wait to experience Mobile VoIP on it. Unfortunately for me, I would have to wait almost a year – until Apple launched it’s iPhone App store. The first official VoIP application to hit the store was from Truphone – the UK based Mobile VoIP provider who I had been watching blaze a trail in the industry since their inception.
I have been using the Truphone iPhone application for a handful of weeks. What follows is a review of Truphone for the iPhone – enjoy.
For those of you who are not familiar with Truphone, Truphone is a mobile operator for the internet era. Truphone provides service over a third-party WiFi (Wireless Internet) connection that you connect to using your iPhone or Nokia cellphone. That means free mobile calls to other Truphone users or very cheap calls to anyone else. Truphone can offer these free calls to other Truphone users and low rates to others because Truphone does not use your cellular providers network to send or receive calls, it uses your home, business or public hotspot WiFi connection to route calls over the internet.
As stated above, I used my first generation iPhone with the Truphone. Most of my calls were made from either my home, work or a Boingo hotspot. Based on your set-up, your results may very from mine.
- Installation (5/5): A couple of clicks is all it took – I wish everything was this easy – high five guys.
- Set-up (3/5): Like my colleague Cory Andrews, I did have a bit of difficulty getting Truphone set-up the first time. After filling out a simple form, I kept getting an error in regards to my personal PIN number that I selected. It quite possibly could have been user error – but I am what I would consider a “savvy” user so I became quite frustrated when things didn’t go as smoothly as I had envisioned. After a few tries – then a day long break – I was finally able to set-up a new account. Outside of these PIN issues, the set-up was straight forward – though you should be near a computer as you do need to go to the Truphone website if you want to get calling credits.
- Ease of Use (5/5): Once I got Truphone up-and-running on my iPhone, I could not have been easier to use. You can tell they spent a lot of time on the application’s usability as it is very slick – high five guys.
- Call Quality (3.5/5): My first three initial calls using Truphone on the iPhone were less then stellar – on of those calls, with pal Jon Arnold was so bad that I had to switch to my RF.com account (a Mobile VoIP service I previously reviewed). Call quality was choppy – the other party had a lot of echo – it was clear that something was out of sorts. Thinking it was my WiFi connection, I tested Truphone on my work network and again using a public hotspot. The results were still less then stellar. I finally reached out to Andy Abramson (whose agency represents Truphone) and he suggested that I upgrade to the latest version of the application – a smart recommendation because since the upgrade I have had no such problems – call quality has been solid – with no complaints on either side.
- Customer Service (6/5): From their PR department, to Andy, to their customer service department, Truphone gets customer service. I got numerous emails and phone calls – and I am not even a big customer. They went above and beyond – bonus points – that’s why they get a 6 out of 5. High five and a pointer finger guys.
- Price (5/5): I picked up a 1000 US/Canada minutes for $14.99 – a steal. Truphone has competitive rates across the board and even has a few package deals for those power users out there. Another high five.
- Total Rating: 27.5 out of 30 – that get’s them on the Smith On VoIP honor roll.
I had a few headaches – and they did retract from the overall experience – but Truphone on the iPhone is a solid Mobile VoIP solution. Since I have only used one other Mobile VoIP service on the iPhone extensively (RF.com…I am currently using the new fring iPhone application) I don’t have much to compare it to, but I have used other Mobile VoIP services on my old Nokia and my old BlackBerry and can say that the Truphone iPhone application holds it’s own up against any competitor.
What really impressed me was not so much the application, the call quality or the pricing – it was their customer service. I recieved BMW service on a Yugo account. Any company that provides service like that will get my busines – any and every day. Kudos.
My advice? If you have an iPhone and want to make Mobile VoIP calls, download the Truphone iPhone application. You won’t be disappointed.