During the last year, mobile technology has expanded business capabilities to unprecedented levels. Now, two new mobile applications are giving users the ability to make calls and conduct business outside of their traditional mobile plans for free or for a fraction of the cost.
Verizon Wireless’ Skype Mobile application is now available on nine of the company’s smart phone models including the Blackberry line and Android, said Carolyn Schamberger, Verizon spokeswoman.
“Business continues to become a more mobile operation,” Schamberger said. “At Verizon we are constantly looking for new opportunities to offer our users, and this exclusive Skype Mobile application can significantly lower the cost of doing business for them.”
According to Schamberger, the application is available for download on nine different models of Verizon phones. It functions completely off Verizon’s 3G network and can be used anywhere there is a signal, she said.
“Just like with traditional Skype, users can make calls to anyone for free as long as the person they are calling is a Skype user as well,” Schamberger said. “So now because Verizon users can make calls to the other 90 million Verizon users for free, but add the 500 million Skype users to your calling family and that’s an incredible value.”
Verizon Wireless is always looking for ways to provide innovative value to its customers, Schamberger said.
“Skype Mobile certainly does that, bottom line,” she said. “We can now efficiently connect hundreds of users around the world, and make their smart phones more valuable to them.”
The Skype Mobile application gets people away from their computers, and also has an “always on” feature that alleviates the need to pre-schedule a Skype call, she said.
“With traditional Skype on a computer, you almost have to predetermine when you are going to be at your computer,” Schamberger said. “The Skype Mobile application tethers people who enjoy using Skype and gives them greater mobility where they don’t have to worry about missing or scheduling that call.”
Apple recently approved the Line2 application for sale in its store which gives the iPhone users the capability to add a second line to their existing phone and also allows the iPod Touch and the iPad to function like a cell phone.
Peter Sisson, founder and chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Toktumi, Inc., originally launched the Line2 platform as an alternative for small businesses looking to set up feasible professional phone system. The original web-based platform evolved with changing technologies to become a mobile application base for the iPhone and other Apple application compatible devices.
“Our customers were evolving with the trend of increased mobile technologies and they wanted the capability to add a business line to their mobile phone so they could be in the office anywhere,” Sisson said.
The Line2 application can function off the AT&T calling network, but Toktumi has also expanded its capabilities to be able to make calls using a separate Wi-Fi network.
“A lot of time business owners are working from home or areas where they don’t receive good reception,” Toktumi said. “We still want them to be able to use their Line2 phone. So we made it function off of the area’s Wi-Fi access point as well. In addition, we wanted to find a way for small businesses to save money, so when the phone is using a Wi-Fi signal to send and receive calls, it is not using AT&T minutes.”
According to Sisson, the application can be preset to automatically detect the best available network including an accessible Wi-Fi signal when a traditional mobile signal is weak.
Line2 carries all of the functionalities of a traditional business VOIP system, including visual voicemail, call waiting, call transfer and conferences for up to 20 people, Sisson said.
With the explosion of Apple’s iPad on the market, Line 2 can be used to turn your iPad into a portable speaker phone on the conference room table, he said.
“Our main goal was to help businesses adapt to the ever-changing mobile network,” Sisson said. “And since the approval of Line2 can significantly decrease the amount of calls businesses need to make through their cell service, we hope it can save them some money as well.”
The Line2 application is available in the Apple Store for 99 cents and comes with a 30-day free trial. According to Sisson, the trial version doesn’t allow for international calls, but once the free trial is over users can choose to subscribe for an additional $14.95 a month.
“Users can make unlimited calls anywhere in the U.S. and Canada using the Line2 application, and can also make international calls at a rate of two cents a minute,” Sisson said. “Users will have access to all the great features of Line2 and won’t be bound by a contract. They get billed monthly and can cancel at anytime.”