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There could be a serious threat to mobile phone service if new software from Pinger catches on. The application lets users make phone calls and send texts on a smartphone without mobile service — or without a mobile phone at all.
Users do have to have an iPod touch or iPad and WiFi access. But they don’t have to pay those hefty mobile phone charges to make calls or send messages.
Pinger’s software, Textfree, is the first application-based communication suite for smartphones with free phone numbers for texting and calling functions.
The initial version of Textfree only allowed text messages. Textfree with Voice includes free voice services over 3G and WiFi. The company claims the new service will drastically alter traditional fee structures for mobile phones by having users pay for text and voice traffic by looking at an advertising banner than runs across the bottom of the page.
“Smartphones are rapidly becoming the norm for mobile consumers, but they are tied to an antiquated billing framework,” said Greg Woock, Pinger CEO and co-founder. “Our ultimate goal is to offer free calling and texting to the four billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide.”
Traditional carriers charge mobile consumers hundreds of dollars per year for texting plans alone. Unlimited messaging plans for individuals can cost as much as $240 a year, while unlimited family messaging plans cost up to $360 annually.
Textfree with Voice combines real phone numbers for messaging and calling via data channels, resulting in consumer savings of hundreds of dollars per year on texting and voice charges.
Pinger makes Textfree with Voice free to consumers by offsetting costs with mobile advertising. Already profitable, Pinger is in partnership with leading mobile advertising networks including Google, Admob, Quattro Wireless and Millennial Media, and plans to fully support Apple’s recently announced iAd platform.
The app is available at the iTunes Store here.
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