Mike's NBC-TV stories

Apps That Let You Text and Make Voice Calls with No Carrier Charges

As more and more people these days do away with landlines, minutes can add up fast and lead to big, unwelcome bills. A growing number of apps can help keep voice and text data usage – and bills – in check. Here’s three of them:

One of the hottest is Pinger Textfree, a free app that gives users a real U.S. phone number that allows for texting or calling anyone. Pinger uses a WiFi connection so texts and calls don’t count against your cell phone minutes or plan. One of the coolest things about Pinger is the fact users can keep in touch with friends, family, and businesses around the world with no additional charges. Available for iOS and Android, along with PC and Mac desktop versions.

UppTalk allows users to make calls via Internet connection and also without using carrier minutes and texts. The basic plan includes unlimited text and 100 free minutes per month to call any mobile or landline number. Unlimited plans start at $3 a month. And if you know any other UppTalk users calls are free and unlimited. One of the best benefits of UppTalk? Call and text contacts while in a different country with no roaming or additional charges as long as you’re connected to the Internet. UppTalk is available for iOS, Android, and Windows.

And last there is Talkatone, another great option for replacing your native phone to call and text for free – and unlimited – without using carrier minutes. It doesn’t require the user to also have Talkatone. It can turn an iPod Touch or iPad into a phone, as well. An especially unique aspect for Talkatone is that it can be used with Kindle. Free and also for iOS and Android. A Google account is required.

To see the apps in action, check out the PC Mike report from NBC-TV below:

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.