bmax_04I’ve been playing with a VOIP app called BMAX over the last week and wanted to share my impressions.  As someone who makes next to zero VOIP calls, I was somewhat hesitant to try this out one at first.  I figured it to be your standard, vanilla client – something I might hold onto until the big Skype one comes along.  It turns out, this is unlike Skype altogether.  If you’re someone who does a lot of VOIP calling, then you need to check out iologue’s BMAX.

So how is it different from Skype?  That’s easy.  Skype is a service provider in and of itself.  BMAX aggregates over 2 dozen VOIP providers and gives you the best rate possible at that given moment.  Best rates that include FREE.  After a few days, I came away feeling like it was the Lending Tree of VOIP, making other companies compete for your business.

The app looks at the originating and destination phone numbers and chooses the lowest costs for you and sets the call up.  It should be noted that you will need to be set up with any/all of the providers.  BMAX only looks for those which you have accounts with. The set up process was quick and painless.  Considering how many different accounts one could conceivably have, I was pleasantly surprised at how streamlined it was.

Here’s a great way to look at how the app works.  Picture yourself back in the days of Lassie and wanting to make a call.  You pick up the phone and you’re greeted by the operator.  After you tell her who you want to be connected with, she patches you through.  In this case, BMAX plays the operator and they connect you based on which of your accounts is going to cost you the least.  Everything is done over EDGE, WiFi, or 3G (where available) so it doesn’t use the traditional cell network.  The few phone calls I made sounded clear and the people I spoke with were not able to detect any differences in my voice.

If you’d like to see what kind of rates you might run into, head over to the Rates Comparison tool. Plug in your source and destination countries and currency and get instant results four types of phone calls.

  • Landline to landline
  • Mobile to Landline
  • Landline to Mobile
  • Mobile to Mobile

Here’s a video I found on iologue’s website showing how one goes about setting up BMAX on their phone.  The clip shows an iPhone emulator but the Android experience is very similar.

If you are looking to save on your VOIP calls, then I’d recommend BMAX.  You can grab the app out of the Android Market for $3.99 today.  If you’ve got the SlideME’s SAM client on your phone, you can get it there as well!
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  1. I went on your advice and I purchased the app. I just finished requesting a refund.

    First of all, to have the benefit of getting the best rate for VoIP from the various companies you have to have an account with each of these companies (you might want to say this up front in your explanation, it seems you did not do your research on this one!), and you personally have to go into their sites, and add credit manually (setting up an account) for each VoIP company. You canNOT do this from the app itself.

    In other words you have to go in and individually add 10 euros or $10 to get each of your accounts to work with the app. How is it anything like Lending Tree? (after you have activated all these accounts and spent all the money!)

    If BMAX had an arrangement with the VoIP companies to have access to VoIP services and if I could recharge a single account from BMAX (for example), then the app would be worth something.

    But as it is right now, even to see if the thing will work in the first place I have to have credit in each of the VoIP accounts in order to get it to work with the app – this is way too tedious.

    What happens if the app does not function properly? I would have already put in $10 here or 10 euros there with the various VoIP companies…I am stuck and out the money (forced to use my computer to use the credit with the VoIP companies to make the calls and use the credit)

    You seem to have overlooked all of these things in your review of this app.

    If you go to their website one can scarcely find anything negative or any activity at all!

    I would NOT recommend it and I would hope that your reviews might be better researched before you post them.


  2. To be fair, I did make note of these things. I have since gone back and made it more clearly known by use of BOLD. I hope it helps down the road. I do apologize if you feel my review mislead you. It was never the intention.

  3. Just bought the app and knew exactly what it will do.
    Just checked to see their site after I read your comments. Seems quite clear on their site what a users needs to do. You also do not need an account with all providers, just need one. I guess JOP you are not a user of any of these great providers, so for you its an extra burden to sign up to these providers, but not for those that have an existing account with any of them, that now can utilize from their mobile phone.

    It's unfair for you to say also "I would NOT recommend it", if you never even tried it since I doubt you even signed up with any of these providers. Even a 10euro investment to any of these, is a great saving when compared to the call charges you will accumulate from your phone.

    Just became a huge fan of BMAX and I will recommend it to all. At least I tried it and I can comment fairly.


  4. $100 to get a bunch of accounts to do free calling is silly. I can get better rates with Bell.

    This isn't the promise of mobile wifi voip.

  5. Ricardo,

    Do not know where you got such information that you need $100 to make free or low cost calls with BMAX. You only need minimum one provider with some credit, much like you do with skype or any other to make a call. One can use their available credit that have with any of these popular providers.

    Also don't see how you calculate that Bell has lower rates to call international numbers than the providers supported by BMAX which are used by a very large number of subscribers worldwide for exactly this reason – to save on call costs.
    Bell charges 35 cents per minute > mobile/landline? (… ) whereas BMAX providers range from FREE to less than 10cents per minute on average. BMAX is not dependent on your internet connection speed since all calls are made over the phone network.

    If you are referring to John's (JOP) post above, he has unfortunately not initially understood or actually used BMAX since he expected that BMAX is in itself a provider offering low cost calls. BMAX is unlike skype where you top it up with credit and are locked into only using Skype.

    With BMAX, you choose any of the two dozen providers you have credit with (one or more) and to see list of supported providers and to compare rates visit:

    The great value in BMAX is that it allows a user to leverage many external telephony providers of choice.

    <pasting another post below that maybe helpful>
    BMAX only uses Wifi or your phone providers data connection to send a very small amount of information to any of these providers you have an account with and configured with BMAX.

    The actual call is made via your normal cellular connection or your phones provider connection so quality is superior to VoIP. Call quality is not dependent on your internet connection at all, as with Sip or VoIP type calls.

    Once you send the instructions to any of the providers you have an account with, the provider then calls your source phone you have set from BMAX and you receive a call. This is called "callback". You then pick up the call and you are connected to the destination number you set to call.

    All this can happen transparently from BMAX, meaning you can use your phones dialpad and you will be asked if you want call handled by BMAX or not (a configurable call handing option from within BMAX settings).

    You can set any number to be your source. Either the mobile you are calling from or any someone else. So yeah, in essence you can connect your mother to talk to her sister abroad and she wont pay a penny. Only some small credit will be debited from your providers account you added to BMAX that in most cases are FREE if you choose the right provider or very low cost.

    BMAX was developed for the sake to have real, working solution to make calls – as VoiP type calls tend to be frustrating when you cant hear each other and you need to look for a Wifi connection. With BMAX you just use your cell phone and make calls from it without need for VoIP/sip or WiFi.

    One must compare rates from the link above and find the best providers. I have a few accounts with some credit that lasts for a very long time and call the world with my cell. BMAX looks at all configured accounts, the country I want to call from and to, and chooses best account to make a call from for me.


  6. You also fail to mention one very important piece of information : all so called voip providers are in fact one and the same : Betamax (hence the name of the app : bmax). So don’t even count no them actually competing with each other. Not mentioning that to actually get the lower rates of them all, you need to have prepaid credit with that provider which advertises the lowest rate at the moment the call is placed : the only way to be sure of this is to have prepaid credit with ALL the “providers”, that being 10 bucks each minimum….
    Factor in that all betamax “providers” have the same pricing policy patterns and conditions : prices can be changed at any moment, at their sole discretion and without any real obligation to let you know. So for any given destination, they always offer a very competitive rate in one of their providers…just not always the same. What that means is that you’re pretty much garrantied that, over time, you’ll actually pay the highest rate possible most of the time…unless you pay credit to all providers all the time (but then you just spend more money while actually having the lowest rates possible… how crazy is that !)
    Smart guys at Betamax…
    That being said, their voip service does work pretty well…. When it does not, just forget of any sort of support. They’re just no there.

    So I myself would just flatly recommend AGAINST any idea of actually using Betamax service at all.

    • Was hoping for some positive commenting on BMAX ;)

      Betamax does seem to have million of subscribers, so they must be doing something right. Many I know including myself, have saved quite a lot over the years using their services. So bottom line is that, there is a great saving when compared using my normal telco or cell line. No matter how one sees it – there is a great saving, especially when using my own mobile phone to make international calls from over my cell networks without the need of an internet connection.

      A client just mentioned this:
      ".. your app is just amazing ! I still cannot believe I can use my voip account over cell signal ! "

      If you have others providers to suggest to add to BMAX (since its adaptable), open to feedback what providers to include in next version of the product.

      Also, want to clarify the above statement you made so it doesn't confuse readers. BMAX does not need more than one external provider to operate, even with one single provider many will save quite a lot more compared to their local tariffs.

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