Skype or Viber. Do You Need Help Choosing?

Skype versus Viber which one is the best?

With so many different communication apps and software in the marketplace it’s difficult to know wether you are making the right decision on which one to use. Of course you are free to use multiple systems as per your own needs, but which one really  is the better system?

Viber has been around for a few years now. It’s use has been restricted up until recently just for smartphones, attempting to do exactly the same job as your phone by connecting to other users through the app. Registration for the account is done through your mobile telephone number, and it accesses all the numbers in your contacts to see if they are Viber users. the cool thing is that it allows you to connect with users globally. No more long distant telephone calls. You can contact and connect with them over 3G (or Wifi) which is great if you are on the move.

One thing that has changed recently is that it’s now available on desktop. This version runs on PC and Mac but the account still needs to be registered through your smartphone account so you can use it. This move has put Viber in direct competition with Skype, the market leader which is now under the Microsoft umbrella, replacing their Live messenger system which has added millions of users to Skype.

Skype seems to have the advantage with it’s video calling features, but Viber is hot on the heels with it’s own video features that are currently in beta.

Signing up for either service is pretty painless. Skype requires you to register, which could still be done anonymously, although you do need an email address to use, whereas Viber does require you to part with your mobile phone number, so if you don’t have a phone, you can forget using Viber.

Both systems have the ability to call mobile numbers and landlines. the advantage Viber has here is that it can call any mobile phone that has vibe installed on it using the same contact list, directly through 3G or wifi. With Skype you would be calling a Skype contact, and if you wanted to call a mobile number from Skype you will need Skype credit to do so. Then again you will need credit on your desktop version of Viber to be able to call non Viber mobile users.  For landlines, then both systems will require some credit to make the call, even so, this is still considerably cheaper than calling by normal means.

An interesting feature that Skype has is the ability to have a local number. This feature i love. I often travel, and lets say i’m in Istanbul, Turkey. I purchased the use of a UK landline number ( this you can do for periods of time, like 3 months for example). This number is then connected to my Skype account. I notify my contacts that i am out of the country and to use this UK landline number. Your friends can then call you for the price of a local call, and it is free to you. You just need to be online and connected to Skype. Calls come directly through to your desktop. You can find out more about this service here. (LINK)

Video calling is another area where possibly Skype has the edge. Viber is still in beta, and is not fully optimised yet, meaning you get substandard images and calls. Even with a high speed internet connection, these problems persist. Even the phone app alone is prone to errors and low quality audio. Skype has continuously been improving the quality of their service. In the years I have been a user, yes there have been dropouts, but overall the service has been pretty reliable. If there is a problem, it’s probably your connection.

So what are the costs like? Viber is only free to use with other Viber users, if you where to call any other number while using the app, then it is charged at your carriers normal fees. Skype to Skype calls are also free but if you wanted to call a landline or mobile number you can use your Skype credit and contact them for far cheaper than the prices your carrier charges you.

So which is better? Yes, Viber is entering a new market for it’s software, and in a lot of ways still has a few hurdles to cross. Skype on the other hand has a far greater installation base compared to Viber. You can find Skype these days not only on your computers and smartphones, but on your TVs, Playstations, Xboxes, as well as integration into some of Microsofts key products such as Word and other office programs.

So if you’re a Skype user. Stay with it. By all means install Viber, you may have some contacts that prefer to reach you in this way, especially if they are on the move, and the merging of the contacts lists does make that use very convenient. But unless Viber seriously ups it game, for me it’s Skype all the way.

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