Free WiFi and Data Calling Using Bobsled by T-Mobile
Bobsled by T-Mobile App Review
Free Calling and Text Messages
Bobsled by T-Mobile is a cross-platform application that allows you to make voice calls, leave voice messages, send text messages, and chat over mobile data or WiFi connections for free. There are many apps on the market that have similar features, but each app has their own little quirks or feature sets that distinguishes them from one another.
Some features include Facebook integration, calling over WiFi or mobile data, texting, video chat, free mobile to mobile, free mobile to landlines, or group communications features.
Bobsled includes many of these features, but Bobsled still has work to do if its going to compete with the likes of Vonage, Tango, Fring, FaceTime, and Google Voice.
An Overview of Bobsled
A Highlight of the Features
Bobsled is actually broken down into two apps--one for calling and one for messaging. Here are the highlights of the combined features of the two apps:
- Free calls to landlines
- Call Facebook Friends
- Calling to non-Bobsled users.
- Leave voice message on Facebook wall
- Group messaging
- Threaded Conversation Records
- Compatible with all carriers
Bobsled Calling AppClick thumbnail to view full-size
One App Many Ways to Call
Bobsled makes it easy to communicate with your friends across a variety of different platforms and carriers. You start by creating an account or by connecting through Facebook. If you log in through Facebook you will get two tabs that organize all of your Facebook friends on one tab and your phone contracts on the other tab. If you want to call someone that is neither a Facebook friend nor phone contact then you can call using a dial pad.
Each of the calling options have their own advantage. Calling through Facebook allows you to call people even though you don't have their number. When you contact somebody on Facebook that is currently logged in you will be given the option to call them or go straight to voicemail. If you choose the call option then it will ask the person on the other end if they want to accept your call and begin the authentication process. If you choose to leave a voice message then it will post a voice message straight to their Facebook wall. Another advantage of calling people on Facebook is that it doesn't use minutes on either side. Not everybody has Facebook, but fortunately most people do. However, If your friend happens to not be on Facebook then there is another option.
The second calling option is to call one of your phone contacts. The nice thing about this feature is you can call people even if they aren't Bobsled users. You don't get the option to go straight to voicemail, but you do get to leave a voice message if nobody picks up on the other end. You can call people regardless of the carrier they are on and it doesn't matter what carrier you are on as well. You will not be charged any minutes since you are calling through WiFi, but your contacts will be charged on their end as they will be connected through voice.
The last option is to make calls using a dial pad. The features available when calling through this method are the same as if you were calling using your contacts. This is good for calling numbers that you don't intend to add to your contacts.
Both the contacts feature and the dialer interface can be used to call landlines as well. The nice part is you can call landlines without having to pay money or buy credits.
Bobsled Messaging on Google Chrome
Bobsled's Versatility and Organization
Bobsled has many other features that makes it a well rounded and versatile app. You can initiate calls from many different devices and operating systems. You can call through an Android smartphone, an Apple iPhone, or any other device that has a web browser such as a tablet or computer.
All of your calls are organized into threaded conversations and synced across your devices. This allows you start a conversation on a phone and pick up where you left off on your tablet.
There is also a group messaging feature that allows you to message multiple people simultaneously. Bobsled does many things well, but there are some notable features missing that prevent this app from being the one app that can do everything.
Bobsled is a well rounded app, but there is definitely room for improvement. The first and most notable missing feature is video calling. More and more smartphones these days have front cameras and the biggest advantage of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is being able to communicate voice and video at the same time. Bobsled needs to take advantage of these two technologies and add video calling.
The next problem is text and voice are not integrated into one app. Integrating the voice and messaging app would make communications feel more seamless and natural--switching back and forth between the two apps to text and make calls feels less intuitive.
Another area that needs improvement is international mobile and landline calling support. The texting app seems to support a lot of countries, but the calling app needs to expand international calling to include more countries. Currently, Bobsled only supports the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Greece. The absences and shortcomings of some of the previously mentioned features give Bobsled a lot of room to grow and improve in the future.
The Future of Bobsled
Bobsled holds the distinction of being one of the few VoIP apps developed by a large mobile carrier. This distinction gives you insight into the future of the both the mobile communications industry and as well as what you might see in the future of this app.
As more people gain access to mobile broadband the number of calls and text that use the traditional voice network and SMS network is expected to decline while the amount of calls and texts sent through data networks are expected to increase.
Since 95% of Bobsled users are non T-Mobile customers this uniquely positions T-Mobile to potentially make money from millions of users that aren't even T-Mobile customers. The question is how will they monetize this app?
Will they do it through advertising? Will they create a premium paid version that includes improved international calling, video calling, and integrated text support? Will they sell credits that you can use to make international calls? What do you think?
T-Mobile's Bobsled app no longer offer's free WiFi calling. If you have found a new app with similar capabilities please feel free to leave a recommendation in the comments.