Jan 23 2013
It’s happened to all of us. The end of the month comes, and with it the dreaded phone bill. Due to a slight overestimate of how many roll over minutes were left if our plan, the bill is $473.28. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an honest customer and don’t mind paying what I owe. But we all know the business model of the mobile phone industry doesn’t reflect the technology that fuels it. That is, just because we use the phone over our 600 minute limit doesn’t mean the overall cost to the mobile provider skyrockets. Quite the opposite, they do little extra work and really start hauling in the profits. Such overages have long irked cellular customers.
Some have found refuge in prepaid plans. With these you only pay for what you use. Others have found respite in private online networks. Friends of mine sometimes get together on Skype and play cards, for instance. It works well as long as everyone’s on the same network. There have also been a series of services that allow you to direct dial people from mobile applications rather than your mobile phone plan. These include SkypeOut, Rebtel, and Jajah. Such applications allow users to make cheap calls from their mobile phones over wifi connections and bypass the cell network. They also allow you to call real landlines and mobile networks. Upsetting the current providers with cheaper rates and quality service, is Yelo.
Yelo, found at yeloworld.com, is the newest provider of a mobile application worldwide calling network. It’s simple. Download their app to your mobile device. Create an account. Add a few credits to your account, and call any landline or mobile number in the world. The quality’s great, and the price is cheaper.
For instance, recently I was hailed to my partially computer literate parent’s house. They were preparing for a European vacation and were relying on me to figure out how they might make cheap calls abroad. As we all know international travel and phone calls just don’t mix. As soon as you pull out the visa, it’s best to put the phone away. No longer. With Yelo you can connect via wifi at any coffee shop and make cheap calls to anywhere in the world.†
The true value of Yelo is in their rates. Here I found I can call that girl in Taiwan for 4.5 cents/min. Or when she goes back to grad school in Australia it drops down to 3.3 cents/min. But then I sometimes miss my friend in Brazil. For a clean 2.7 cents/min I can call her too. (These rates are to landlines and reflect pricing as of this publication.)
The first question we might ask is if the person we’re calling needs to have Yelo’s app installed as well. Thankfully they do not. Yelo connects to telephone networks so you can call them from your Yelo app enabled smart phone using a wifi connection. And wifi connections are relatively easy to find in the developed world.
The next question is how one get Yelo. It’s available at all major app outlets including iTunes and Google Play. It’s also available from Getjar, Handster, and Handango for those wanting to stay off the radar of the big app providers. The price for the download is free- you pay only for the calls you make. Currently iPhone, iPad, and Android are supported, with Blackberry coming soon.
Making international phone calls used to be the privilege of the ultra rich or financially irresponsible. The vast majority of us wouldn’t make a call except to confirm arrival, departure, or emergencies. With the advent of Yelo it’s safe to say this has finally changed. Not only have cheap calls been around for a while, but they’re now getting cheaper. And that’s something we can all call home about.
† Sadly, I set my parents up with one of Yelo’s competitors as I hadn’t come across them yet. Another phone bill saving technique is to turn off data roaming while traveling.