Is it possible for anyone with a mobile phone to call anywhere in the world absolutely free? The answer is… almost. If you’ve heard of Fring, you know it has always been a free application enabling video calls to other Fring users across the globe. Last month, they launched their first app for charged calls, FringOut, that’s used to call non-Fring members for only 1 cent a minute in many countries. However, only lately has there been huge media buzz surrounding FringOut’s recent release to Android Phones on October 6th. Why so sudden you ask? Perhaps because their direct competitor, Skype, released their Android App, SkypeOut, just one day after Fring and FringOut’s ‘almost’ free rates boast some serious competition.
In July, Skype decided to prohibit Fring services after 4 years of working together in the fashion that Fring currently works with other networks like MSN messenger and Google Talk. I had a chance to sit down with Fring’s marketing team members, Jake Levant and Nadia Hitman, to talk about the unique offerings of FringOut and find out where things stand with their competitor and former partner, Skype.
SocialTimes) What is FringOut in a nutshell – what can I do with it?
Fring) FringOut makes communication fun without a heavy price tag. Users can call non-Fringers without any restrictions. It doesn’t matter what phone carrier they use, their type of internet connection, or where they are in the world. This is especially helpful when you want to call people who aren’t very tech savvy and wouldn’t know how to use Fring. For instance, calling your grandmother in a different country can cost you only a few cents and enrich your personal communication.
ST) What makes Fring stand out from its competition?
Fring) There are many key features that set us apart. To begin, We provide video calling which is a major feature that other popular apps don’t possess. Next, similar Android apps only work on a WIFI connection whereas FringOut works with any IP connection whatsoever. We service every country in the world while others haven’t expanded their reach to countries like China and Japan. FringOut also has no ‘connection fees’ or taxes that are added to the price of each phone call. We are totally transparent in our prices.
ST)How Is FringOut able to offer such cheap rates?
Fring)We’ve found that our rates are, on average, 80% cheaper than our major competition. We’re able offer lower prices because of major partnerships we’ve made with large suppliers that know that they’ll get mass quantities of activity through FringOut because it is an easy access technology. Calling rates for most countries are 1 cent per minute though some areas cost more but remain very competitive in the industry. For example, FringOut’s rate per minute to the US is 0.9c while we know that in other major apps it’s 2.3c.
ST) Does Fring offer a social experience?
Fring) Definitely. The user can Tweet and access Facebook using Fring and find which of their friends on Facebook are signed into Fring. If your friends haven’t joined, you can send them invites to add the application and call them for free. You can also chat through the instant messaging networks that Fring is interconnected with such as Google Talk and MSN messenger, and all the major IM players.
ST) How did you choose the name FringOut which is very similar to SkypeOut?
Fring) The term FringOut conveys the association of our branching out of the typical way we used to work. We are now allowing our innovations to be enjoyed by non-Fring users and the name illustrates that. Skype is one of companies that has used the same approach.
ST) What is your relationship with Skype now?
Fring) Unfortunately, we are currently not working with them. We still believe that Skype could be a great partner and we recognize Skype as a big PC calling player. If Skype changes its position, we would work with Skype again and add them to the 9 other major networks that we’re interconnected with.