Friday, 3 February 2017

Fongo Mobile Revisit

Hi all,

I just wanted to do a quick follow up on some stuff I wrote about regarding Fongo Mobile. Before I dive in, I want to be clear that I still think it offers a lot of value to people looking to save money. For me, however, it's not a viable replacement to traditional cell service like I thought it was.

 I've since switched back to a smartphone lite plan with Koodo for $30/mth + tax. I brought my own phone (my trusty Q10). So far, am a happy camper and I feel it's worth the slight increase to have proper calling (nation-wide, at that), texting, and data.

Don't get me wrong, I got a lot out of Fongo mobile when I used it, first on my Android phone, then later on my various BB10 devices. I particularly stuck with it while my wife and I were paying down our student debt; it was "good enough" service and the savings were immense. In particular, I found the texting functionality to be very good; that was a paid add-on, but coupled with a cheap $10/tax data add on, you couldn't complain.

What ruined the app for me is it's main function: to make phone calls over WiFi or data connections, instead of using up cell phone minutes.

Try as I might, I could never get those to work reliably. At times, the connection would be fine (and WiFi signal was never an issue, at least in our house). But for the most part, loved ones complained of delay in my voice (especially on data) and static. The reply I got from support (which were always super helpful, which is great for a largely free service) was to use a better router. I'd planned on buying a dual band router with better security than our last one, so I thought it might help with my calls on Fongo. Not so; the same issues persisted.

So for me, Fongo is no longer viable as a full voice and texting alternative to a traditional smartphone plan. Shame, because I really wanted it to work and recommend it to others as a fool-proof solution. However, as with a lot of these things, your mileage may vary.

And that's really what I wanted to get at in my original post; even though it served as an endorsement, I strive to cover all the potential limitations of what I recommend and strongly suggest that you test these things out for yourself and see if it works for you. Another great thing about the service: sign up for free, download the app, get a free (real) number, and start making calls over WiFi or data. Nothing to lose.

Who knows, you may have better luck than I. I hope you will.  The next time we travel overseas, I'll likely try out Fongo again so I can contact home easily; even if the limitations still exist

One thing's for certain, I'm still very much happy with Freephoneline and will continue to trumpet that service (for the DIY tinkerer) and Fongo Home Phone for the less technically inclined. So, well done to the company there!

Happy testing and happy saving!

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