The “Vonage Mobile” app lets us make calls locally and internationally without spending any of the minutes in our cell-phone’s T-Mobile plan. The key is the other person must also have downloaded the app, unless they’re already a Vonage customer. Since it’s free, why not? Go to VonageMobile.com and have a link sent to your phone via text message. The app works for both text and voice.

It turns out this is much easier than using Skype. Your contacts are already there in the mobile app’s address book. Check off the names you want to send invitations to download the app. Once they do that, all future calls to them are free, using the app. If they don’t download the app, calls are still cheaper than they would be on Skype.

Talk about times changing: After growing up with AT&T, we haven’t used their phone service in years. Instead, our landline phone uses Vonage, which is much cheaper. Vonage is similar to Skype in that it uses the Internet to make calls, and calls between fellow users are free. We tried both services, but Vonage quality was better in our area. Using Skype to call another Skype user works great, but quality varies when calling a regular phone. Our Vonage service costs $15 a month before taxes. (And boy, does the government pour on the taxes.)

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