Dubai: Free calls are still possible between users of iPhones and Android-based handsets that have the Viber app installed, despite conflicting reports that it is being blocked in the UAE, users said.
Viber allows free calls and texts between iPhones and Android-platform mobile sets worldwide. It's a free app downloadable from the online App Store for iPhone and Google's Android Market.
Viber uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology instead of the usual phone network to connect users.
Some VoIP-based options like net-to-phone services for making cheap international phone calls from computers are banned in the UAE.
And though some Viber users have reported connection failures, others say it continues to work in the UAE. "You can use Viber even if you have no data plan on your iPhone by using any WiFi connection. I have been using it since March 2011, and only had occasional problems connecting," an Indian resident said.
Once installed, Viber shows which contacts on your phone also use Viber. There is no need to sign in; there are no user names or passwords. Users simply call or text other Viber users for free using its interface, which looks virtually identical to the screen display when making calls on the iPhone.
A version for Blackberry devices is in the works, Viber says on its website. The company states the sound quality of calls made through Viber is "much better" than regular calls. Viber had 20 million registered users within its first seven months.