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I have a jailbroken iPhone 4S on AT&T in Cambridge, MA. My location has unreliable AT&T coverage, and I can't use Verizon or Sprint (too much coverage = pilot pollution). It's got to the point where I can't even reliably initiate a call, and if I can, it'll get dropped within 10 minutes. AT&T has been no help.

I get 2-3 bars on AT&T, so I can't use an AT&T MicroCell; those work best with no coverage, and they have handoff problems when you already have some reception.

I would prefer to stay with my iPhone if at all possible. What are my least-painful alternatives for making and receiving voice calls? So far, I've tried:

  • Google Talk via Talkatone. This is a very brittle app; after a few hours of network configuration, I was able to receive and place some calls, but it often crashes back to SpringBoard and it often sends calls straight to voicemail.

  • Skype via the native iPhone app. Their app isn't a great replacement for Phone.app; I have to re-enter my password frequently, remember to launch Skype after a reboot, have no way to silence a call while it's ringing (even flipping the "mute" switch doesn't stop it!), have poor integration with the native phonebook, etc.

  • Skype + AppFront. This adds a "call with Skype" button to Phone.app, but requires extra pop-up dialogs, doesn't handle Skype being offline or needing a password, etc.

I've looked at Viber but AFAICT this only uses WiFi when both parties have Viber.

What are my other options? I'd be happy to go as far as running my own VOIP server if it'd give me reliable phone service via my iPhone.

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You wouldn't be able to effectively host a VoIP server. They cost too much, because you have to lease access to a phone network. –  Andrew Larsson May 14 '12 at 21:55
    
FWIW, I'd grudgingly put in a land line :) I just want the UX of "my phone is in my pocket". –  Jay Levitt Jun 29 '12 at 10:57

3 Answers 3

The tweak Phone GV Extension integrates Google Voice into the normal Phone app. I haven't tried it myself, but it's pretty popular and has a free trial available. Here's a Lifehacker post that recommends it and also suggests an App Store app: GV Mobile +.

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Thanks - those both look like great solutions for outbound calls, but neither will receive incoming calls. –  Jay Levitt May 13 '12 at 23:11
    
Here's a similar question I saw recently that seemed to imply Phone GV extension would help with incoming calls: Reddit discussion of using Google Voice abroad. –  britta May 14 '12 at 0:36

To get inbound calls, set up an inbound-only US phone number for a Skype account via Skype. These cost $60 for the year. Then set up that number as a Google Voice call back number. When someone calls your Google Voice number, GV forwards it to your Skype number. Works like a champ for me down in Ecuador on my local carrier's 3G network. You make calls via the native phone app using Phone GV Extension but have to answer calls inside Skype app.

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I've been trying this for a few months, but the Skype app experience is even worse than the Talkatone app. Skype is slow to launch, and often I've "missed" the call by the time it launches. It also gets out of sync with Skype's actual call records - I've had an email telling me there's a voicemail on Skype, but the Skype app doesn't show it till I force-quit and restart. Last: no speakerphone for voicemail! I think I'm going back to Talkatone. –  Jay Levitt Jun 29 '12 at 11:00

You can buy yourself a copy of Bria for the Iphone. I use it and prefer it over other earlier voip applications. It works well.

Now sign up for a voip.ms account and set up a voip service to use. Wala. Dirt cheap calling via the iphone. You will of course need to be in a wifi area, or have data enabled on your phone.

Full integration with native contacts, full options you would expect on a phone such as missed calls, call display, call history, distinctive ring settings, etc.

Voip.ms offers unlimited flexibility in your phone service. Your own local number, or 1800 number, digital receptionist, call forwarding, global ring, voicemail, etc. etc. Text Messaging is also supported. You can even have multiple numbers across different countries. Or keep it simple. Its a reliable pay per service company, and it all looks and feels like your own phone number, which it is.

If you wanted, you could even set up a wired telephone (via a voip gateway box), and have it ring both your iphone, and landline.

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