Dell introduces Dell Voice powered by Fongo, free Canadian phone number and long distance

Daniel Bader

February 8, 2012 11:34am

The mobile VoIP app industry is awash in competition these days as every telco is trying to cash in on the action. The mobile carriers have an incentive to keep its customers using voice minutes, while companies like Skype, Vonage and now Fongo, through a sponsorship with Dell Canada, is next in line.

Today Dell and Fongo are launching Dell Voice, a mobile VoIP app that allows you to obtain a Canadian phone number and make free calls to numbers in 30 large metropolitan areas, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, as well as hundreds of smaller cities. Incoming calls, regardless of location in Canada, are always free. International calls can be made by purchasing credit, and countries like the U.S. and U.K. are 2c/min, 0.7c cheaper than Skype.

The service offers things for free that its competitors charge for, including call display, call waiting, voicemail and, surprisingly, 911 emergency service.

The interface is sparse but usable (though a little clunky on Android), but call quality is good over 3G and even better over WiFi. The company claims that one minute of calling uses 1MB of data, so beware those long calls home to mom and dad. It’s likely the high bitrate codec used that accounts for the extreme bandwidth usage. While I was able to hear the person on the other end as clearly as a regular call, my recipient told me I sounded distant and muffled.

One of the advantages of Dell Voice, on Android at least, is that it can be integrated into the existing Dialer app, which means you can force all outgoing calls to use your Fongo number; for those without a long-distance plan, this could be a godsend. As well, if you’re so inclined you can port your existing cellphone number over to Fongo for $25 and take advantage of the free local calls and low-cost international rates.

An issue I encountered on Android is that it doesn’t appear the app can be killed. This is not entirely true, though: to exit the app, head into the Settings/Account tab, and use the menu button to Exit or Log Out. A bit convoluted, but at least it’s available.

Dell Voice is available for Android, iPhone and, soon, BlackBerry. There is also a Windows desktop version. Check out the website for more information.

Source: CNW

  • Haligonian

    What’s the catch?

    • Jon Doh

      There’s no Halifax numbers.

  • Justin

    when i click register in the app, it does not do anything…

    • Justin

      i downloaded the desktop app and registered that way

  • lukeiphone

    Awesome news!

  • Brian

    Is Fongo the same company as Freephoneline, the company that powers Bud Phone? The have the same address in Cambridge, ON.

    • djino

      Yes same company is FreePhoneLine.

  • djino

    This will complement my WIND MOBILE service when roaming, but connected to Wifi! :)

    • navrsalem

      with Dell Voice WIND is NOT needed!

    • dwn

      Theoretically, navrsalem is correct, but in practice it’s not quite that robust. On various phones and situations it doesn’t work too hot, and in order to get equivalent pricing you need some technical knowledge for equipping a data only plan to the phone. And unfortunately, no texting through Dell Voice (so you’ll need a third party app and subsequently a second phone number with HeyWire or something).

      That said, it’s a lot of effort for equivalent savings and potentially increased robustness of the network (i.e. outside major cities), but it doesn’t really deal with the problem. If you find a way to beat Robelus, they just turn their model around again into a new penultimate consumer f you. :P

      You’re not going to hit that appropriate data cap any other way for $25/mo.

  • P.L.

    Hopefully his will inspire Google to hurry up and introduce Google Voice in Canada.

  • Alex Perrier

    This is pretty neat! A second phone number! :)

    1 MB = 1 minute of calling
    (according to Dell Voice website)

    Hoping it makes it to Windows Phone 7! Otherwise, got it on my Android too!

  • EmperumanV

    I agree with P.L. Well there is the Google Phone or Voice so to speak via one’s Gmail account from a computer and it got extended till the end of the year.

    However this is also neat and I got set up with a 289 in Richmond Hill, but no 647 :(. Oh well. Shall test and see how it is in terms of battery usage – stock ICS on GN

    • Jeff

      just to clarify, ther is an app called “groove IP” that works in Canada and is EXTREMELY useful.
      It uses the gmail calling function from a PC…but you use it through your phone. The app specifies that it’s a “google voice” app…but if you log in from canada…you can place outgoing calls for free in north america with only using data (you just can’t receive calls since we don’t have a google voice number)

      FYI for anyone who wasn’t aware of this already…it’s probably the reason why i’ll probably pass on this and wait until google voice comes for full functionality (visual voicemail, sync for sms, etc)

  • Androcanuck

    Sweet. Signed up and it works. Voice is a little quiet on callers end and a bit choppy at times on 3G but overall good for a free product.

  • SAM

    1 MB FOR 1 MIN!!!! ITS TOO MUCH

  • bill

    Freephonrline.ca offers free usa calling, delll voice is a rebrand with less features

  • David

    I justed tested on BELL LTE on SII Skyrocket. Its crystal clear and both parties are able to hear each other without any problems. When I tested it on Wind, pretty choppy. It all depends on what kind of connection you have. Even on my home internet, my upload is only 800kbps and the other person cannot hear my properly at times but I can hear them perfectly fine because my download is 6MBPS. So again, all depends on your connection strength.

    • bob

      800 kbps is more than enough for VoIP

      ulaw (the default codec used in telephony in north america) is only 64 kbps

    • dwn

      Just to elaborate on this, I’ve found the same response on the Wind network as with my Wifi. On some phones, it works well, on others, it barely works at all.

      When the Wind signal starts to die down a bit, though, it begins to get a bit flakey.

      So far, both Skype and rebranded Google Voice have been working better. Hopefully this improves for Dell Voice.

  • Local

    No texting? Guess will have to stick with Textplus or Textme.

  • Tony

    No saskatchewan numbers, suprise!

    • ciotog

      Unfortunately Fibernetics doesn’t have any central office code blocks in Sask

  • SAL

    I assume Google Voice is down the pipe, CRTC won’t have any problem

  • Craz

    Who cares. I want Google Voice!!!

  • EmperumanV

    @Jeff – Didn’t know. Will keep that in mind.

  • B.W.

    As other have said, it’s possible to make outgoing calls via Google’s services using 3rd party apps, but having a Canadian number with free voice mail seems useful. Even Wind charges $5/month for voice mail but now you can just forward your busy/unanswered/unreachable calls to your Dell Voice number. Forwarding those calls is also useful if you don’t have network coverage but do have WiFi coverage (for example in a basement.)

    I agree full Google Voice would unify everything including support for txt messaging but this fills a gap that existed for now.

  • Ryan

    Anyone having problems registering?

  • Jeff Reitzel

    This is totally awesome, local free number, free voicemail, free caller ID. I know have a phone in my IPAD with no monthly fees of any kind

  • boojay

    MY GOD!!! Thanks for showing this to me! I’ve been making soooo many prank calls all day!

  • c

    Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number Rogers One Number ftw.

    • Daniel

      I remember whctaing Mark daly on City for many years (off and on), but I found him to be very professional and great at his job. We miss you Mark and I’ll gladly nominate you for a Canada Walk of Fame once I can get onto the site (having trouble getting onto the site for some reason).RainbowRay??????

  • Owen Finn

    Seems to have stopped working this evening… too many people trying it out, perhaps?

    I’m in Winnipeg, but I have family in Hamilton… so I grabbed a Hamilton number since there is no Winnipeg number available!

  • darrell44

    Yes it was down tonight for awhile,but back on now.Very good call quality on my pc,but not as good on my android over wifi,,think they still have some bugs to work out,but pretty good & its free!

  • Kris Morey

    Correct me if I’m wrong… but is this the first available VOIP service to Canada to give you a free Canadian number?

  • Wolf

    Hi All,
    I have a question …
    how to register to Dell Voice if I don’t have a phone number ? … in the the registretion account we are asked to enter a valid Canadian number !!!
    Isn’t suppose to work on PC’s, I pads…

    Thank you,

  • torontomario

    if you have a phone number I guess home or cellphone number you need to enter that for the 911 service in accordance with the crtc .I also noticed with this app its takes awhile to sign in. maybe 2 minutes over wifi I am using it on the ipod touch atm . No complaints though an easier way is to register your account through the website not the app. then log into it using user name and password in the app done.

  • PooTon

    For the ones hoping to use wifi for Dell Voice, the quality is REALLY bad but over 3G is alright.

    I might use it for the voicemail feature when I travel. As carrying an actual conversation, skype is much much better.

  • Jusni Hilwan

    Beware if you are buying credit for international call (will use Fongo services) because the voice quality is very poor. As well you need to be a techie, understand how to forward your port in your router, otherwise the other party cannot hear your voice at all. When I asked for a refund, the Dell Voice person said there is no refund policy!

  • Rogido

    For outgoing calls, is it only for calls originating in Canada? ie. can you roam with it (via wi-fi, or if you’re willing to pay roaming data charges)?

  • Steph

    For those saying they prefer google voice, why? What do you like about them that dell voice doesn’t have? I saw mention of US long distance and txting. Anything else?

  • jkjkjij22

    my phone doesn’t ring when i receive a call.
    I even got backgrounder and made Dell voice run in the back. but still no response. the program has to be open.

  • harman

    is this free to call in canada

  • harman

    i am in surrey so i can call free in surrey

  • Guy

    Works good on Ipod Toutch, but on PC I can hear the person called but they cant hear me. Any suggestions on how to fix?
    My Skype sound works good, send and receive

  • lisa

    Have the same problem when using Voipbuster. I then go into the cound settings and have to re-do a lot of the settings. Granted I am near the end of using magicjack – a horrible piece of junk (voip phone) but each items needs their own sound settings (on my PC at least)

  • Margaret

    Hello there, iv’e being trying to help my cousin to register for Dell voice app on her phone and have not being successful. Futhermore we tried different e mails and our last attempt was to create a new e mail address and were not able to create her account. we have spent too much time trying to create an account; it’s very upsetting when the questions asked are very simple and yet once the e mail is entered it says, email not found. When I did my own account it gave me a little of hard time; however nothing like this experience. Appreciate if you have a suggestion to help with this issue.

    Margaret

  • Nasir

    I installed Dell voice on Windows 7 but its not working, says cant send audio, Port 13000 should be free. Why?

  • ma

    Been using the app since shortly after release, was glad to see the unlimited texting plans and visual voicemail that were added in recent months. For $3 a month I’ve subscribed to them both and been able to trim about $30/month off my cell phone plan! Go Dell!

  • Gary Cameron

    I too am having the same problem with “can’t send audio; Port 13000″.

    I am using Windows 7 and Telus Mobility wireless Internet.

    Does anyone know if Telus is blocking Port 13000?

  • mel

    freephoneline is good, but now is no contact number.. why? we can’t call anytime to the customer service… before there is a contact number, i dont what happin… tnx