If you’ve ever been on pay-as-you-go then you’ll have been there: desperately needing to make a call but with no top-up credit on your account and no way to quickly top up. Virgin Media has launched a new service called SmartCall which it hopes will help eliminate this type of situation.
SmartCall allows those with a Virgin Media telephone subscription to use their landline minutes for mobile calls, using a Wi-Fi connection. This way it doesn’t matter if there’s no credit on your account or you have no mobile signal – if you have Virgin Media landline calls and a connection to Wi-Fi then you’re golden.
As with most things nowadays, SmartCall is an app and can be downloaded for free on Android and iPhone. Once the app is downloaded you need to hook your phone up to Wi-Fi and launch it to start making calls.
Rival BT also offers a similar service, dubbed SmartTalk, and it looks as though Virgin has looked at its downfalls and fixed them. Whereas BT’s app allows you to make calls outside of your landline call package, SmartCall won’t. This means you won’t be able to make calls to 0800 numbers or continue to make calls once you’ve used your monthly allowance, so no extra cost at the end of the month.
There’s also a pretty nifty final safety net built in to SmartCall – if you’re calling from abroad then it will detect your time zone and ensure that any of your free evening or weekend calls are inclusive even when using the app from another country.
We’ve given SmartCall a quick whirl and we have to say it’s pretty good, provided you’ve got a good Wi-Fi connection of course. To set it up you’ll need to go to www.virginmedia.com/smartcall and register with your existing Virgin username and password before adding a device. From here you choose the make and model of your phone (oddly the HTC One is missing), enter your mobile number and confirm your talk plan details and you’ll be sent a 4 digit code via SMS to enter in the app, which finalises the setup.
The app itself is pretty simple, offering to import your existing contacts list and also giving a dialler for impromptu calls. You’ve also got a call list and settings to play around with.
Virgin Media SmartCall is available from the App Store for iPhone and the Play Store for Android now.