Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything header image 2

fring fring!

July 30th, 2007 · Posted by Who Knows? · 7 Comments

There’s a stunning VoIP and IM service named fring, for your 3G cellphone running Symbian or Windows Mobile (hopefully more will be supported later, and 3G isn’t strictly necessary). Use it to phone your fring-using friends for “free” (paying only internet bandwidth, which is cheap, especially compared to phone calls). fring can also dial through your Skype account (including using SkypeOut), your Google Talk account, various SIP accounts, MSN messenger, etc. (If you’re happy to give them your passwords.)

Perfect… except if you use MTN (South Africa). Which I do…

MTN technically forbids the use of VoIP over their network, and they reserve the right to charge you R25 per megabyte if they catch you. (I estimate that to be close to standard cellphone rates, except, they might charge both parties in the conversation, if both are MTN customers.) They also reserve the right to terminate their agreement with you with immediate effect. It all sounds very scary, but they have not actually done so, yet. They simply reserve the right to… For now? I will limit my use, so that if they hit me with R25 per meg, it won’t be the end of the world. I hope if they cancel my contract, I can still take my number with me.

I have tested the SkypeOut functionality, the round trip time was about 2 seconds (so one second either way). Yes, that is indeed a noticeable lag, but it is usable. And it helps you practise patience. 😉 And I’m sure fring to fring round trip time is better. I will test it some time. (For international calls, R25 per meg is actually a good deal, I think? Then again, I can usually just use Skype at home, on my laptop, avoiding the MTN threat altogether.) And then there’s the IM functionality, if you want to be always-reachable at the same address.

Supporting Google Talk means you should also be able to contact your mxit buddies (using IM), without having to use mxit yourself. (I don’t want to give fring my Google password though… oi… tricky. Voice calls are tempting, but I suspect most “Google Talk” users are just Gmail users like me, and can anyway not receive voice calls.)

Categories: Technology

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jt // Jul 31, 2007 at 10:00 am

    hey there

    Listen, just wanted to respond to your post!

    Firstly, neither MTN, Vodacom(phone) nor any cellular operator can block or charge premiums on VoIP calls at this stage! They are trying like hell to do so, but at this stage the way is open for free, purely mobile communication.

    Secondly I wanted to let you in on something – Yeigo! Yeigo is a mVoIP application, completely written from scratch by some of the most amazingly talented coders, and borrows nothing from choked up services like Skype. You see Fring freeloads on Skype’s service, hence why u need skypeout credit. Yeigo handles your communication, beginning to end, itself. With its own super high-speed network that isnt suffering from degradation or over-crowding – the result – free, quick, low latency, best voice quality calls Yeigo-to-Yeigo and up to 80% savings when phoning non-Yeigo users using Yeigo credit, worldwide.

    As for IM, Yeigo links in seemlessly with your Yahoo, MSN, Google, ICQ, AIM and jabber (MXit) clients. no need to worry about giving Yeigo ur google password, thats not how it works. Yeigo logs you in through the Google gateway so your password, as with all other IM clients, is between you and the service u use.

    check out www. or the blog for more.

    Hope you found this useful?

  • 2 Hugo // Jul 31, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Thanks! I’ll check it out. OTOH, I like that about fring: it can use my existing Skype and Google Talk contacts. (Once I decide to give them my password that is.) Also, fring to fring calls avoid networks like Skype, of course.

    Can Yeigo make Voice calls to Google Talk? Does not look like it, and cannot phone Skype contacts either? (…which is where fring is particularly useful, being able to “freeload” on Skype and Google Talk’s services.)

  • 3 Hugo // Jul 31, 2007 at 10:47 am

    fring bandwidth usage: based on a single 45 second test call, it seems fring bandwidth usage (over 3G) is about 1MB per 6min. On MTN contracts without data bundles, that’s R2 of data. Small data bundles drop the rate to R1 for 6 mins.

    This is a very rough estimate.

  • 4 Hugo // Jul 31, 2007 at 11:39 am claims on a Symbian phone, it’s about 8MB per hour, or a megabyte every 7.5 minutes :


    fring for Symbian phones consumes:
    ~ 8MB for a 60-minute VoIP call;
    0.05 KB per instant message;
    ~ 10KB per hour connectivity

    fring for Windows Mobile handsets consumes:
    ~ 14.5MB for a 60 minute VoIP call;
    16.2 KB pr hour connnectivity [sic]

    June 2007

  • 5 Mohamed // Jul 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Really amazing tools!
    Communication world seems to have arrived at the turning point.
    It will not take long until the mobile operators realize that they have to land other businesses to make money from.

  • 6 Deon // Apr 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I cannot find the actual cost on-line so what does it cost to send an average size ‘sms’ via Fring.?

  • 7 Hugo // Apr 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Deon,

    These days, for an SMS alternative, “whatsapp” is pretty popular, alternatively instant message clients on smart phones.

    The price depends on your provider. I don’t know what the data overhead is of these services, but taking my whatsapp as an example: I have sent 150 messages and received 288 via whatsapp. It came to sending just under 1MB and receiving 0.6MB. Now you’d have to look at your cellphone contract. It might be something like R2 per MB? (As an order of magnitude estimate.)

    Hope that helps.

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