The smartphone’s increasing popularity demands that more applications feature international communication. Skype offers cheap international voice calling, text messaging, and group video calling; however, Skype and its fellow applications do not allow emergency calling for several reasons. Regular phone calls and SMS text messages are more expensive than their alternatives, but they still have something that their competitors do not: the ability to reach anyone in the world. Many of the phone applications out there right now are dependent on user-to-user connections. In the event of an emergency, it is still recommended to use the more traditional method of making a phone call to the authorities.
Why Skype limits emergency calling
Skype limits emergency calling because power failure, battery failure, or internet disconnection would disrupt your emergency call. Skype suggests that users keep a mobile phone with them at all times to alleviate any problems that may arise when using their products. Internet calls may also not get the same priority as a normal mobile phone call. In the event of an emergency, every second counts, so it is important that an emergency call gets the attention it deserves.
By not allowing emergency calling through their services, Skype protects themselves against lawsuits from those who claim that Skype did not handle their emergency call correctly. Skype does not guarantee a 100% success rate, so it is important to not use their software for making emergency calls.
In a recent trend, private business exchanges (PBX) are using internet programs to save on costs. Hosted PBX allows businesses to make calls routed via internet, and a PBX platform performs the calls at a fraction of the cost. Even with this type of service, it is still recommended that if an emergency were to arise, a traditional phone call is the superior option.
Viber is a smartphone application growing in popularity, boasting over 200 million users. Through Viber, users can call, text, and send files for free. One of the good things about this service is that calls between Viber users are free. Viber also states that it has extremely high sound quality; however, like Skype, it is not suggested that you make emergency calls through this service.
Text messaging generates extremely high amounts of revenue for mobile service providers through expensive text messaging packages and overage fees; however, there is an alternative to spending a lot of money on phone bills for text messages. WhatsApp allows users to type in their phone number and instantly start texting with other WhatsApp users. One of the benefits of this app is its simplicity compared to other apps and software. It is also very cheap – free for the first year and then roughly $2 per year after that. Considering how expensive phone bills are per month, this seems like a cost-effective alternative.
Mxit is a predecessor of WhatsApp; the application has a similar user size but struggles with monetizing their service. The service boasts 750,000,000 messages are sent through their app. MXit also struggles from a large file size when compared to other apps like WhatsApp and Skype. Apps like MXit and WhatsApp are providing alternatives to SMS users.
As technology and apps continue to improve there will be alternatives to a standard phone call through your phone, but as of right now there is only one way to make emergency phone calls. A traditional phone call will guarantee the quickest and most direct response from the authorities.