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Conferencing Featured Article

November 08, 2012

Could the New Virgin Media's SmartCall App Finally Challenge Skype's Dominance?

By David Gitonga
TMCnet Contributing Writer

With more and more Internet users welcoming VoIP and IP Internet solutions, different companies are on the move to provide these solutions, at a fee or free of charge. For years, Skype (News - Alert) has had a smooth run with a small amount of competition from rivals. However, the days of calm might soon be gone after Virgin Media, a UK-based mobile operator, announced a new app that allows subscribers to make free calls over Wi-Fi connections.

The SmartCall app, now available to Virgin Media’s home phone subscribers, allows for the making of Virgin Phone (News - Alert) inclusive calls from smartphones connected to Wi-Fi on any mobile network. The company claims that the app comes with a capability to identify compatible Wi-Fi connections and respects no geographical boundary limitations.

Theoretically, the SmartCall app will give an extension to the home telephone to anywhere you might want to make a call from on condition that the spot is compatible Wi-Fi connections and you have a smartphone to complete the connection.

Though this might seem to be a no-value invention for Virgin Media (News - Alert), it gives customers the capacity to control how they call and pay their call dues. By making all your calls through one carrier, no matter where you are, you get to pay all your bills from a central point, hence eliminating the need to manage multiple bills, one for your home phone, for your personal cell and family members.

Currently, the service is only viable for calls inbound to the UK, which actually gives a solution to the depreciating but still expensive roaming call rates. Virgin Media says that the technical trial of the solution is complete and the service will be open in the next few weeks and then going live in the first quarter of 2013.

It does not take a genius to figure out that settling for an existent landline package to make video or audio calls is more convenient compared to getting a roaming package or topping up your Skype account. Virgin Media now has the ultimate tool to challenge, if not topple, Skype’s dominance and give people better video and voice call rates.

The SmartCall app will be available on both the Android (News - Alert) and iOS platforms at launch.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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