Sunday, February 12, 2012

iOS app review : Dell Voice offers free Canadian phone numbers with free long distance calls

During my discussions with clients and professionals, I am frequently asked if there is an app to make free phone calls from iPods, iPhones or Android devices. I always say yes, and that I had tested a few of them. The United States has been fortunate to have Google Voice to make free calls to the US and Canada. Talkatone is an app that takes advantage of this service. Getting a free Google Voice number is however a little difficult for Canadians to obtain (you need a valid US number for the activation).

As such, Canadians have been left with low cost alternatives such as Skype and Nettalk and Talkatone (with Google Talk only) for outgoing calls. There was no easy way to get a Canadian number for incoming calls, until now. Dell Canada has paired up Fongo to provide a unique Canadian experience. the new app is called Dell Voice.

Dell Voice is very easy to setup. Simply download the free app from the Apple app store. Once installed, tap "register". You will be brought to the next page and Canada will be set a the default. Tap continue. You will then need to provide a valid email account, a contact phone number, set a password and enter the capcha, then click continue. An email will be sent to you. Go to your email and click the activation link and follow the online instructions. Once you are complete, go back into Dell Voice and enter your email and password and voila! you will have a free phone.

The pro's of the phone are:
  1. Decent call quality over wifi/3g.
  2. It's free and you can call many cities in the US and Canada for free.
  3. You get a real Canadian number.
  4. Even if the app is turned off, your phone will ring.
  5. It's easy to setup.
  6. It doesn't use a lot of data.
  7. Free voice mail service.
The con's of the phone are:
  1. Some static or choppy quality when the 3g connection is weak.
  2. If the app is powered off, your phone will ring but you will miss the call due to the delay (will go to voice mail).
  3. Sometimes, you will need to log off and log back in to use the phone (will not fully activate)
  4. Ads from Dell (I can live with this).
  5. No texting option (I recommend downloading Text+ for the free texting equivalent).
Overall, the pro's in my opinion outweigh the cons. My clients love the app because their cell phone bills can stay at approximately $20 / month by combining Dell Voice with their Bell Canada 3g data tablet plan. It's not perfect, but as my clients say. It beat spaying $75+ dollars every month.

You can download the app [here]
Sylvain Roy, Ph.D
Join me on LinkedIn
Follow us on Twitter @ PsychMobileTech


  1. Amazing! Turns an Ipad or Ipod into a free phone (can also be used oon iphone) Free phone number, call display and voice mail. I just got back from a 3 day trip to the U.S., all my calls to Canad were 100% free. I called a cab from a restaurant on my ipad and it cost 3 cents Wow is all I can say

  2. Tried to use the desktop version on a wired connection and it was horrible quality - I tested it with my home and cell voice mail, and both were so delayed that whenever the machine on the other end started talking, I didn't hear it for the first 5-6 seconds or so. I'll test the android app later, but the desktop version was crap.

  3. Interesting observation. I few individuals mentioned the same thing. I'm still getting good overall quality. Perhaps this is dependent on where the servers are located? Hope your service improves.

  4. I get good quality, but like you said, if the app is not powered up, I miss the call. Because of this I will likely use the app to make calls, but I won't be passing out the number to my friends to receive calls.

  5. The app generally works well. But whenever it runs at backend, it won't ring on incoming calls, instead it only shows a

    1. The software alteration of iphone app for a particular purpose.

  6. my phone doesn't ring when i get a call.
    I even got backgrounder and made Dell voice run in the back. but still no response. the program has to be open.
    i'm on an iphone 3g 4.2.1 JB

  7. Hi - I mush admit, I only tried it on devices that support multitasking and push notification. Have you looked to see if notififications are on? I run in a problem with the 3gs where it takes long to open the app from a push notification (e.g. when the phone rings but the app is off). When it happens I usually have to call back the person using the app. If all fails, have you looked in texting apps? textplus if free and gives you a free canada number. People could text you and you could then call them back. An alternative is to Jailbrain the device and from cydia install backgrounder. It forces some apps to stay in foreground. Google "Redsnow and iPhone 3g" and download the redsnow software to JB. Read up on the process first. Best.

  8. i found out the problem.
    when you jailbreak the iphone all push notifications stop working (because the push notifications go through apple, and your device needs to be non-jailbroken)
    there is a way around it for anyone else having the push notification issue. just follow this tutorial:
    I've triad push doctor but that didn't work for me.

    I am using textplus for texting and Dell voice for calling.
    the issue I'm having now is that Dell Voice takes too long to open from push notification and the call goes to VM. haven't tried backgrounder for this purpose yet; I'm looking to see if anyone has tried using backgrounder with dell voice. I'm worried if it runs in the background I wont get the push notification at all when ppl call, I'd jsut be able to open the app quickely (but i woudn't know when I'm being called)

    1. I just get the number from them and testing it, so far so good, I have the ipad2 and using rogers lte microsim, test on wifi ok too. I also call their customer service about porting my existing rogers cell phone number to them to keep my number, they can do that too but cost me $25, and they say it take about 2-4 weeks, is anyone try this yet? I have to wait until my contract over on coming december and cut my expensive voice plan that is $35/month for 150 min, I rather use $17 for 250mb of data.
      if I mostly watch 50 pages of web, 10 phone call a day and check 30 email /day, do you think this 250MB is enough or not?
      and also other than using the setting data usage to check my data usage, what is the best app for wifi and 3g data usage checking?