VoIP for mobile: what is it, how much does it cost and how does it work?

VoIP for mobile, also known as mobile VoIP or mVoIP, is a technology that allows you to make and receive phone calls over the internet using your mobile phone, tablet or computer.

This means that you can use your mobile phone to make calls even if you don’t have a 3G, 4G or 5G cellular (mobile phone) signal. Instead, all you need is a standard WiFi connection.

Many services exist for receiving/making audio and video calls over the internet, including Skype and, in the US, Google Voice. It’s also possible for some mobile users to use WiFi calling while for Apple users there’s its proprietary video calling technology, FaceTime.

Alternatively, most VoIP service providers allow you to make/receive calls on a mobile device using a ‘softphone’. This is a software-based application that can be installed on a mobile, phone, web tablet or computer. See ‘what features do softphones offer?’ section below, and read our guide to the best softphone apps.

How does VoIP for mobile work?

Mobile VoIP numbers work by splitting up your voice into multiple data packets that are compressed and transmitted to their destination over the internet. On the receiving end, packets are then decompressed and transformed back into a voice file.

Instead of a traditional phone handset comprising speaker at one end and microphone at the other, Mobile VoIP technology generally relies on the integrated speakers and microphone inside your digital devices to make/receive calls.

Alternatively, for people working in an environment where there is a lot of background noise, it’s possible to use a special VoIP headset comprising headphones and noise cancelling microphone.

What features do softphones offer?

Like traditional landline phones, softphones for mobile VoIP offer basic features such as call forwarding, voicemail and caller ID. However, they also often boast a range of additional features including text messaging, call recording and video calling.

Some softphones can even be integrated with other apps, such as Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, to make it easier to manage calls and stay connected with your contacts, while others offer call analytics to help track call activity and improve calling efficiency.

What are the main business benefits of Mobile VoIP?

Undoubtedly the biggest business benefit of Mobile VoIP is that it enables employees to keep in contact with one another and with clients whether they are working in the office, at home or anywhere else in the world.

With hybrid working much more commonplace, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, having this degree of flexibility is increasingly important to improve business efficiency as well as, potentially, an employee’s work-life balance.

VoIP is reliable and means that employees can essentially work from anywhere (providing it has a good enough internet connection) while clients need not know where the member of staff is located when they are speaking to them.

Other benefits of switching to VoIP include potential integration with other office applications as well as a reduction in costs, especially when compared to a traditional office-based landline phone systems – see below.

How much does Mobile VoIP cost?

Mobile VoIP costs can vary quite a lot depending on the provider, the plan you choose, and the features you need. However, in general, it is a relatively cost-effective way to make and receive calls. It’s certainly much cheaper than using a mobile phone to make calls via the cellular network, especially for international calls.

For example, for a relatively basic Mobile VoIP service like Skype it’s free to call other Skype users, but if you want to call mobile or landline numbers you will need either a subscription or Skype credit. Prices currently start from a little over £5 a month in the UK for 400 minutes, or 1.5p a minute.

According to the latest VoIP statistics, businesses savings can between 30% and 50%.

For a more advanced system it is probably best to look at a dedicated VoIP service provider. Typically, these charge according to the number of users you need on a monthly or yearly basis. While some require you to sign up for a specific term, others offer a rolling contract so you can cancel at any time or upgrade/downgrade depending on your business needs.

Another advantage of choosing a bespoke VoIP service provider is the range of features on offer. Not only is it usually possible to make/receive calls business calls via your own mobile phone, most modern VoIP systems integrate other facilities including conference calling, call recording, video conferencing, team collaboration and even social media.


More and more businesses are tempted to ditch the old-fashioned desktop computer and desk phone set-up for more mobile devices (laptops, smartphones and web tablets) which are far more suited to today’s hybrid working patterns.

Mobile VoIP plays an integral role in today’s modern business set-up, making it possible to route messages and calls to a user’s mobile device whether they are working from home or visiting a client the other side of the world.

Using a bespoke ‘softphone’ app, employees simply make/receive calls using their device’s microphone and speaker rather than relying on a traditional landline phone. For the employer one advantage is that the cost of a Mobile VoIP system is usually much cheaper than a conventional phone system because they don’t need to invest in expensive office infrastructure, such as cabling to each desk and telephone handsets.

It is also enables businesses to work more effectively because customers and suppliers are able to get hold of members of staff more easily on their mobile devices without having to constantly leave messages on an office voicemail system.

Written by:
Chris has been a freelance technology journalist since the 1990s. In addition to editing two consumer tech blogs, TechDigest.tv and ShinyShiny.tv, he also regularly contributes tech/business articles to various publications including The Daily Telegraph, Tech Radar, IFSEC Global and AI Business. A passionate outdoor swimmer, Chris is also a qualified lifeguard.