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Best VoiP and SMS/MMS apps

neilselden
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

Hi,

I've been using TextNow on and off for a few weeks and overall,I like it.... except the ads!   Removing the ads is around $30/year, which I find to be too high for a recurring charge.

 

I still like TextNow, as it gives full SMS/MMS capabilities, and the call quality is generally very good.  Data usage is around 1MB/minute for voice, which I think is about average.  SMS and MMS are delivered as expected.

 

What other apps are people using that combine VoiP and SMS/MMS?  I'm interested to hear about people's experiences, as I am still looking for an alternative to TextNow.

 

Thanks,

Neil

 

PS

The context here is that while I love Public Mobile service quality, I am looking for an alternative that will work anywhere I have a stable data (or WiFi) connection.

28 REPLIES 28

brent_liza
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

I use Fongo and it works great with texting. Calls in canada are free for me. 

Many apps that allow for internet-based phone calls do not actually send or received SMS or MMS.  While they are capable of sending messages through instant messaging protocols, these types of apps are relying completely on the internet connection.

 

There are a few of those applications that can be set to act as your default SMS messaging application.  An example of this is Hangouts, in which case you can choose to have it act as both an instant messeging client and a text messaging application.

 

An example of some instant messaging applications that have some form of phone,video calling, and messenging options are:

Hangouts

Viber

Facebook Messenger

Skype

Whatsapp

 

There also programs such as Fongo, a service that can assign a new phone number to you just for the sole purpose of using VOIP.

Ting (and its owner, Tucows) has tried to get a foothold in Canada before, but the CRTC ain't gonna let that happen.  I find it interesting that an internet domain registrar has as much interest in milking mobile communications as the network hardware operators.

 

I think the only loophole that would ever get Ting/Tucows into Canadian wireless would be some kind of reciprocal partnership with Freedom/Shaw - the CRTC (and the Big Three) "can't" block entry to a 100% Canadian-owned and Canadian-operated company which already has access to its own datacomm/telecomm infrastructure (and its own FCC-approved frequency bands) and an existing base of Canadian subscribers.

When I started looking for data-only, I was going to do the tablet plan on a phone.  VoIP.ms was the only service I could find at the time, with SMS support, but it didn't get to the phone, until the separate app was released.

 

I did try the app (thanks @sheytoon) mentioned in the thread, but due to my requirements of needing to change text sizes and colours, the app wouldn't let me do it, I abandon the idea.  Dang vision issues......(sigh)

 

There is the SMS via email option with VoIP.ms, but I didn't like that either, as I could just as easily send an email.

 

Really wish we could have MVNO's like Ting (Canadian company, can't provide service to Canadians (currently)).

Some data-only plans are very cheap. Though they were intended for tablets, they work just fine on phones. An example is Fido's $15/month plan for 3 GB of LTE.

 

Using voice or SMS on those plans incurs expensive pay per use charges.

Korth
Mayor / Maire

@kristiallen939 wrote:

Rather than using the app, I will recommend using VoIP websites to get Canada virtual phone numbers which you can use on your mobile phones is well after doing a simple sign up, your internet will do all the work for you.


I don't understand how this would work.

 

You can rent a virtual phone number (with a Canada country code) from CallHippo.  It uses VoIP (internet), which on a mobile device is cellular data.  If your mobile device already has cellular data then it certainly has a phone number and almost certainly has voice calling service.

 

The only compelling scenario for VoIP that I can imagine is a residence/business where the idea is to save money by replacing a (more costly) landline phone service with a (less costly) VoIP service piggybacked onto existing internet service.  I can't imagine any scenarios where VoIP would be worthwhile on a smartphone, the cost of cellular data outweighs the cost of cellular voice by several magnitudes.

TheOldVR
Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

 

Hey @neilselden...

 

I have NextPlus for both my iPhone and my Android phone, they work really well for texting and voice. My advantage is that I bought the apps ages ago and therefore do not have to pay to have banners removed.

 

There are still some pop-ups... but the app is pretty clean for me.

 

Another option is Fongo - but you'd still be looking at $20 - $30 a year for texting depending on whether you wanted Canada or North American texting.

 

I've used Fongo for texting... it works well.

 

Good luck!

 

 

ChopstickHero
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@srlawren wrote:

@sheytoon to the best of my knowledge, WhatsApp does not use SMS or MMS for message delivery and instead uses a proprietary data format of some description.  There might be exceptions for (1) verifying your phone number, for which they send you an SMS, and maybe (2) inviting non-WhatsApp contacts via SMS/MMS.  But I don't think any of the actual chat messages are delivered over SMS/MMS.


It's delivered over data network and also has end-to-end encryption, so it's actually more secure than SMS/MMS.

 

https://www.whatsapp.com/faq/en/general/28030015

ShadowWarrior
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

@srlawren That is totally true. The protocol used by WhatsApp is totally different. 

Whatsapp sends invite via SMS using a private address as far as I recall. 

 

 

srlawren
Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

@sheytoon to the best of my knowledge, WhatsApp does not use SMS or MMS for message delivery and instead uses a proprietary data format of some description.  There might be exceptions for (1) verifying your phone number, for which they send you an SMS, and maybe (2) inviting non-WhatsApp contacts via SMS/MMS.  But I don't think any of the actual chat messages are delivered over SMS/MMS.


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TheOldVR
Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

@Luddite wrote:

Fongo.com and Google Hangouts have many adherents. Fongo is free calling throughout Canada, Hangouts across NA. 


Agreed with @Luddite.. Fongo works!

 

I have it loaded on my phone all the time and keep some credits around for text messages.

 

It's actually clearer than regular voice calls off my iPhone.

ShadowWarrior
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

No, most likely they will receive an invitation first to install whatsApp. 

Can you send SMS or MMS from WhatsApp directly to a mobile subscriber's phone number who doesn't use WhatsApp?

ShadowWarrior
Great Citizen / Super Citoyen

Best App among other apps is Whatsapp. 

 

This is because it well maintained now, since their ex-department is under Facebook Department now, because Facebook bought the company.

 

 


@neilselden wrote:

@will13am,

Do you find that adaway can block ads when using your LTE or 3G connection?

 

Their website says that is may or nor block ads when using a data connection...

 

Thanks,

Neil


Adaway blocks sites using hosts file.  It doesn't matter whether on Wi-Fi or wireless data, the hosts file is used to screen sites.  If the site is in the hosts file, it is blocked.  I suggest using adaway together with a firewall.  Flashlight apps don't need data.

neilselden
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

@will13am,

Do you find that adaway can block ads when using your LTE or 3G connection?

 

Their website says that is may or nor block ads when using a data connection...

 

Thanks,

Neil

neilselden
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

@srlawren,

The reason I like the idea is for traveling.  I was recently in Cuba and because I use two factor authentication on a service (to login on a new device, I receive an SMS with a code to enter), I could not access that service because I had no SMS service.  I was so frustrated!  (Yes, now I know that you can get those codes in advance, but I'm not good at keeping track of that sort of thing).

 

Generally speaking, I just the Hangouts dialer when in Canada, if I need to call out of province, but even that I find to a pain in the a33.

 

 

Cheers,

Neil

 

srlawren
Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

@neilselden there's definitely something appealing about abstracting your phone and text service, such that you could sub out any underlying data connection (mobile data from a carrier in another country while roaming, WiFi when you don't feel like doing that, etc) without hassle. 


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neilselden
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

@mimmo wrote:

Just a curiosity why do you want  Voip/ text combo app.  could having two seperate apps not deliver a  better solution?  As I am writing this are you on a data only plan or not subscribed to PM text messageing?


Hi,

I would like to have one number for both VoiP and SMS/MMS over IP.    I am subscribed to PM SMS/MMS, and have province wide calling.  I'm just looking for a portable solution so that matter wherever I am in the world, I can call and message from one number, provided I have data or wifi coverage.

 

Cheers,

Neil

@sheytoon,

 

When I was originally looking to go data only, I signed up for VoIP.ms, and the Android app wasn't yet available.  This kept me away from using the VoIP.ms service, but I still have a phone number there, and now that I see the Android SMS app.... I may look at it again.

 

Thanks for letting me know it's available 🙂

I know voip.ms supports calling and SMS, but no MMS. If MMS is not a deal breaker, you can try it.

The third party SMS app for Android is really good too!


@neilselden wrote:

@will13am,

That's a great idea.  I will look into adaway.

 

And of course, my phone it rooted already.  😉


If your phone is rooted, then you are 90% of the way there.  Adaway is open source which is good.  Unfortunately, you need to side load it because it is not available from the play store for obvious reasons.  You get get it via the link below.

 

https://adaway.org/

 

I should also mention, if you get a google voice number then you can sms with that number.  Some folks may not like sending sms to a US number due to possible extra charges.  It is not a concern for Public Mobile plans with international SMS.

Just a curiosity why do you want  Voip/ text combo app.  could having two seperate apps not deliver a  better solution?  As I am writing this are you on a data only plan or not subscribed to PM text messageing?

neilselden
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

@will13am,

That's a great idea.  I will look into adaway.

 

And of course, my phone it rooted already.  😉

will13am
Oracle
Oracle

@neilselden, consider rooting your device and installing something like adaway.  It is the poor man's way of removing adware without buying the premium app.  I use adway for site blocking but ad removal is an "unintended consequence".

 

This advice is not intended to put the devs out of business.  Always support them if you like their product. 

I personally like hangout dialer and Facebook messenger hangout dialer you can call north America for free on data and WiFi as well which is a nice
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neilselden
Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

Thanks for the ideas.  I've used Fongo, but because of limited SMS/MMS, I am not ahug fan of the app.  I do use it for my home phone though, and it works like a charm.

 

I use Hangouts dialer sometimes, but again, no MMS/SMS, and you cannot receive calls from it.

 

Cheers,

Neil

Luddite
Oracle
Oracle

Fongo.com and Google Hangouts have many adherents. Fongo is free calling throughout Canada, Hangouts across NA. 


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