While traveling, the expenses of long-distance communication can be difficult to handle. Spending $20 for a call that is less than five minutes is absurd, but without the use of outside apps and tools, is often the case when abroad. Luckily there’s Viber, a 100% free mobile app that allows you to talk, text and share photos without spending a cent.
I learned about the mobile app during a backpacking trip in Argentina. Eating lunch in a Buenos Aires cafe, I noticed my travel companion sending texts and uploading photos without abandon, while my phone sat turned off and untouched in my bag. Unfortunately for me, calls from Argentina to the United States cost $5 per minute with texts being $1 each. When I asked her how she was able to communicate so freely without worrying about the costs, she told me about Viber. As long as you’re in a Wi-Fi zone and the person you’re communicating with uses Viber, the communications are completely free. Moreover, even when using 3G, you will only be charged the rate of your 3G plan and not for roaming.
“Viber-to-Viber mobile calls and texts will always be free and ad-free,” explains Daniel Twigg, PR Consultant for Viber. “We plan to offer premium services for even more customization, such as inexpensive calls to people who don’t yet have Viber, as well as ringtones and wallpapers.”
So how does Viber differ from the other free international calling services that exist? According to Twigg, their main competitors are What’s App, Skype and Tango. While What’s App has a great platform for texting, Viber places more of an emphasis on multiple communication platforms. In terms of Skype, Twigg believes the multiple changes in ownership and late jump on the mobile app scene have made it hard for them to stay ahead in the market. For example, most people still see Skype as a desktop product. Tango features an excellent video experience; however, Viber offers voice and text, which has helped their growth greatly.
Viber is available on iPhone and Android. Once downloaded, you will be able to immediately see who from your contacts is also using the app. According to Twigg, the app has over 60 million users and is growing by more than 200,000 new users each day. It’s completely free, so you have nothing to lose by trying it for yourself on your next trip. To learn more and download the app, click here.