02/08/2012 12:12 EST | Updated 04/09/2012 05:12 EDT

New Dell app gives users a phone number and allows free mobile calling in Canada

TORONTO - Canadians frustrated with astronomical mobile service bills now have a free alternative in a new app being offered by Dell.

The company has partnered with Fongo to launch Dell Voice, a voice-over-Internet protocol product that allows free calling almost anywhere within Canada over a WiFi or mobile data connection, rather than eating into a user's allotment of mobile minutes.

Dell says one minute of talk time uses about one megabyte of data.

Users get their own free phone number to accept incoming calls and the service also includes free voicemail, Caller ID and call waiting.

The only catch is that users will be exposed to ads while using the app.

"We see Dell Voice as a win-win proposition for Canadians and Dell. The app provides Canadians with free mobile calling options and at the same time, it provides Dell with a dynamic mobile advertising platform to feature our new products," said David Gair, Dell Canada's marketing director for small and medium business.

"So it's a way for Dell to get our message out."

Users can also port their existing phone number to the Dell Voice service for a $25 fee.

Dell Voice can currently be used on Apple or Google Android mobile devices, while a BlackBerry app is expected by March.

Gair said he didn't know if the BlackBerry app would support the PlayBook tablet.

"Ideally it will work on all devices but I'm not 100 per cent sure."

For Apple devices, iOS version 3.2 is required and the 2.1 operating system is required on Android devices. The program can also be installed on Windows PCs. Gair said there are also plans to bring the app to the Windows Phone platform.