Placing a voice call over Google Hangouts is a nice way to save some money. If you and another user both rely on the service, you can start chatting with anyone regardless of where they live. But placing a call to a traditional phone number comes with a few more restrictions.
On the positive side, Google has announced that it's loosening a major one for users in India. Now residents there can place international voice calls using Hangouts.
Good news if you make a lot of short calls overseas. Google had started offering the first minute of Hangouts calls to 25 countries at no charge. It only lasts through the end of 2014, but that's still not a bad deal.
Verizon pre-announced its VoLTE service a few weeks ago, but now it's rolling out. Customers can finally start taking advantage of VoLTE calling starting today—that assumes people still make phone calls, which is debatable. You need to have a supported device of course, and there are still a few caveats.
Nearly every phone sold in the last few years has a 4G LTE radio, but when you place a call it's still falling back to traditional 3G technologies. The all-IP voice technology known as VoLTE (voice over LTE) is still in the early days, but AT&T is beginning its rollout this very month on May 23rd.
Now that Facebook has paid $19 billion for WhatsApp, what's next for the mobile messaging app? Voice calls, apparently. According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced the upcoming feature at Mobile World Congress earlier today. With this new functionality, the app will even more directly compete with the likes of Skype, KakaoTalk, Line, and Viber. Though, without video support, it still won't be an all-encompassing solution just yet.
Looking to save a few bucks by using VoIP apps instead of voice minutes? I hear you. It's not exactly difficult to find a plan offering unlimited talk, but with a new Sprint MVNO popping up every couple of weeks and such affordable deals as T-Mobile's $30 5GB prepaid plan still lingering around, it's worth taking a look at cheaper options. Viber's latest update has rolled out, doing its part to make transitioning to VoIP all the more attractive.
Facebook has been on a real push to take over users' phones as of late, with Facebook Home, Chat Heads, and updates to its official and Messenger apps. Today, it goes a step further, offering full, free voice calls to US users. This is the same feature that rolled out to Canadian users late last month.
The service requires Facebook Messenger to be installed (naturally) – to initiate a call, simply head into your contact list, open a message, and hit the "I" in the top-right corner.
While there are advancements in almost every aspect of smartphones on a nearly daily basis, there is one area in which phones have seemingly been the same for years: voice calls. More specifically, call quality. Sure, we have nifty tools like VoIP and the like, but, overall, the quality of conversation whilst talking on a mobile network could use some oomph.
That's exactly what Fraunhofer IIS, looks to bring to the table at Mobile World Congress next week.
We're gradually working our way into an all-LTE world, but there are still a few hurdles to cross. One of those hurdles, the seamless handover from LTE to 3G during a VoLTE (voice-over-LTE) call, has now been achieved by Qualcomm.
So, what does that mean, exactly? Basically, if you're on a VoLTE call in an LTE network and you leave the coverage zone, the call would normally go dead. Thanks to this new chip from Qualcomm, though, that all changes.