Continuing my series of the best apps you’ve never heard of, today I want to share a useful app for making inexpensive phone calls via the internet (VoIP). A while back, I wrote about VoIP, and how you get cheaper call costs than Skype by using a third-party phone app along with a VoIP plan. In that article, i talked about Bria, which is a one of the industry leading apps for using VoIP on a smartphone. However, Bria transitioned to a monthly subscription model a while back, and ever since, I’ve been looking for a good alternative to meet my internet phone making needs. Acrobits Groundwire by Acrobits ($14.99) is the app I found to replace Bria for making VoIP calls on my iPhone.

Upfront, it is important to point out here, that you need to purchase a third-party plan to make phone calls via the Groundwire app, in the same way as you would have to purchase credit to make phone calls to other land lines and mobile phones using a service like Skype. Acrobits Groundwire doesn’t provide those plans, you need to find one yourself. In the articles I wrote (above) I discussed the choices I made.

Now, let’s take a look at Acrobits Groundwire.

What I love about the Groundwire app is its simplicity. When you open the app, it looks and works pretty much like the normal iPhone telephone app. At the Home Screen, you have a keypad, call history, and access for your iPhone contacts. There’s also a quick dial, where you can do things like set up emergency contacts. I did this, so that in an emergency, I can quickly contact important people (via landline or mobile)… without the need to log in, as I might have to do were I relying upon an app like Skype.

Inside Groundwire, there are many preferences you can configure. These include the app appearance, ring tones, custom dialling, how calls are handled (call forwarding, do not disturb, and so on), as well as contact management and video calls. Using Groundwire, you can even record your calls.

The other thing I like about this app is that it is a one-time purchase. Personally, I don’t make enough phone calls to justify paying month to month for a telephone client app for my iPhone. Using one of the thousands of suppliers of VoIP call credit (I use MyNetFone), I get a much better deal on call credits than I do with Skype. Over time, I save a lot of money on call costs by using my VoIP supplier (MyNetFone, in this case) along with the Groundwire app as the ‘handset’ to make calls, than I would by using a service like Skype.

Overall, Groundwire is a worthy competitor to Bria. It is stable, easy to configure, simple to use, and cost-effective.