White Plains, NY-based Vox Communications, which offers mobile, residential, and business VoIP services, yesterday announced the availabilityto its unlimited GSM mobile plan customersof super low-cost international calling, further ratcheting up competition in the already competitive market for overseas long distance.
Vox's unlimited voice-and-data plan, priced at $69.95 per month (with no annual contract), is tailored to the unlocked HTC Touch Pro II smartphone that the company also sells. Now, those with moderately heavy to very heavy international calling needs can opt for a 500 minute package, priced at an additional $15 per month, or a 1,000 minute package, at the even more economical rate of $25 per month (or $0.025 per minute). They cover 34 common overseas calling destinations.
VoIP calling over mobile links is no longer novel, proprietary VoIP-over-mobile providers, like Truphone and Jajah proliferating, and with VoIP applications for the BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phone, Symbian-based phones, and high-end Nokia smartphones springing up weekly, it seems, Vox's planand technologyis the only one we're aware of that is being offered by a mobile carrier. And it is certainly one of the most aggressively priced, if not the most aggressively priced.
Vox is able to offer this pricing in large part because of its own SIP-based national network with availability in over 6,300 rate centersthe foundation for its main line of business, which is wholesale VoIP transport, private brand VoIP service provision for cable operators, WiMAX providers, CLECs and ISPa, and SIP origination and termination services for other carriers. (See our earlier coverage.)
"We know of no other cell phone carrier that can offer international calling rates this low," said VoX Communications Corp. CEO, Paul Riss, in a statement.
Riss also waxed enthusiastic about the company's international calling qualityand its customers satisfaction. "One international traveler just came back from Panama and is still raving about the high quality and low cost of our phone service," he said. "His phone is a U.S.-based mobile phone with a Florida phone number, but since our rates to Panama are only 5 cents a minute, he was able to make abundant calls to people in Panama when he was in Florida and when he was in Panama."
Since the advent of Skypewhich is now getting a firm footing in the enterprise international calling marketand all of the low-cost alternatives it has spawned, directly or indirectly, it's hard to believe that anyone would make international calls at the standard rates charged by major mobile carriers. But they do.