With the iPhone currently being sold in 88 countries all with their different carriers, one of the first things customers need to choose is a calling plan. Mobile operators tend to sell minute bundles but depending on the contract, some might be charge for the cellular data used or even charging calls by the minute. Choosing the right option for you can be daunting as every alternative is a universe on its own with its own small print. But don't worry. There are apps out there that can help to save you money.
The first thing iPhone switchers coming from a Blackberry smartphone will miss will be the free messenger service BBM. The iPhone does not have any native free solution, all you get is the standard SMS app, which sends paid messages to your contacts. PingChat! (formerly called Ping!) and WhatsApp fill in the gap. They both allow users to exchange multimedia messages for free across iOS, Blackberry and Android devices. You just need to download the app, create an account and add your friends with their username to start texting for free. The catch is that these apps use your 3G/EDGE to send and receive information, which means that if you are on a limited data plan, you might want to monitor your usage. Using Wi-Fi, it will cost you nothing.
"We do not use your phone number or email address or other personally identifiable information to send commercial or marketing messages without your consent or except as part of a specific program or feature for which you will have the ability to opt-in or opt-out. We may, however, use your email address without further consent for non-marketing or administrative purposes (such as notifying you of major WhatsApp Site or WhatsApp Service changes or for customer service purposes)." from WhatsApp Privacy Notice
PingChat [iTunes Link] - Good for group texting. Keeps your mobile number private.
While I have been using Skype since it first arrived to the App Store, we can't deny that the promise of free calls is appealing to everyone. The Skype app as it is is an excellent companion to the desktop app that you might have used before for cheap voice calls, video conference and chatting. I still have struggled to cope with some of the earlier issues, such as Skype keeping logged on for the whole day and receiving chat messages from my contacts as push notifications. The addition of videocalls over 3G makes it a very strong contender for Face Time and the option to call international numbers for a small fee, made me stick to it.