I’ve been exploring VOIP apps for my iPhone and my Mac for a couple days now. We will not use conventional phones in our new offices (we’re moving next Friday). Instead we are adopting VOIP as our preferred telephony option (at the moment we’re going with FNB Connect as our provider). FNB Connect’s iOS app has a terrible interface for incoming calls (see my update below, it’s not just FNB Connect). It presents you with a general app alert message rather than what you would expect to see when you have an incoming call (in other words, a phone interface where you can tap a button to accept or decline a call, along with information about the incoming call). To answer a call you have to unlock your phone the moment the notification comes in, open the FNB Connect app and hope the caller is patient enough for you to answer the call. Fortunately FNB Connect’s VOIP solution is a SIP solution so its possible to use other SIP-based apps to handle the calls instead.
I looked at a couple options and have been trying them out. Bria, from CounterPath, is well regarded but it is a paid app. I took a look at Zoiper, based on a recommendation from Imel Rautenbach, and it seemed to work fine on both my Mac and my iPhone (free apps for both). I had a little issue with the iOS app not staying registered (I understand this to mean being logged in and registering on the network) so I finally bought Bria for my iPhone after chatting to Chris Clark. I don’t mind paying for good quality apps, especially if it could form the basis of my office telephony requirements going forward.
Unfortunately when I set Bria up last night, I kept getting this odd DNS server error when connecting on WiFi though my Afrihost ADSL service. I switched to MTN 3G and the app registered just fine and seemed to be working. I messed around with a couple settings without really knowing what I was doing but nothing seemed to help. The error keeps popping up on my home ADSL connection. I still need to get in touch with FNB Connect’s support team and CounterPath’s support people and, hopefully, one or the other can offer a solution.
It’s just such a pity FNB’s own app isn’t better designed.
Update: It looks like that notification-based UI for FNB Connect isn’t just the FNB Connect app. Bria does the same thing (I received a call on 3G), as does Skype for incoming calls directed at an online number. So this isn’t an FNB thing. It seems to be an iOS thing.