Viber, the popular VoIP provider and cross-platform chat application received a major update for its iOS and Android versions earlier this week which will see the app going head to head with Skype.
Viber version 4.1 gives users the ability call any landline or mobile number using the new Viber Out feature integrated within the app.
The service was originally offered to users in the Philippines during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan with Viber partnering with a number of telcos to allow free calls to and from the Philippines.
Viber Out will offer worldwide calls at low rates for Android, iPhone and Desktop using Viber Out credit, which can be bought via in-app purchase through the Google Play Store, Apple App Store or by credit card on the Desktop client.
Additionally, and unlike many other VoIP and messaging services, Viber Out allows the user to display their real mobile phone number as their caller ID when making calls, so the user on the receiving end of the call will know exactly who’s calling. Other useful features include the ability to automatically sync contacts on the Desktop client with the mobile app’s address book.
Finally, and probably the most tempting reason for Skype users to move across to Viber is how much lower the call rates are, with calls to the UK 389% higher and to the US & Canada over 100% higher using Skype.