Forget about cellular minutes. Viber replaces your mobile’s phone app by providing free calling between other Viber users. International calls come across just as well as local calls, and there’s no charge for crossing continents. Viber pulls in all of your contacts from your address book. Friends who also use the app see the Viber badge adjacent to their name. Tap their name to connect.
What helps distinguish Viber from other services is how it transmits calls. The app runs off your data network, so users can place calls using 3G or wifi. Comparable services, like Google Voice, rely on your phone’s cellular network, which means using minutes and paying for long distance calls. If a friend does not use Viber yet, you can still call using your cellular network or send an invitation to join.
The service supports features you’d expect from a phone app, like recent and missed calls. You can also view missed calls from people who tried reaching you while your phone was off or out of signal range. Push notifications are supported too, so you don’t need to keep the app open to receive calls. SMS is coming soon.
The only thing we see missing from Viber is the ability to leave voice mails. It seems like a highly demanded feature we hope will be added as the service expands.
At the moment, Viber is available as a free download on the iPhone App Store. Android and Blackberry versions are on their way.