If you need to make or receive a voice call in an area that has marginal cell service, you can still do so with your Android smartphone. Using your internet bandwidth, you can now make VoIP phone calls.

Voice over Internet Protocol technology (VoIP) is one way you can make phone calls even without traditional telephone copper wires. Especially if your network signal has been playing tricks on you, you can opt to use a VoIP by connecting to a WiFi network connection instead. In order to do this, you have two options to set up your VoIP. The first option is through the use of Session Internet Protocol (SIP), a signaling technology commonly used in commercial VoIP apps. Or you can also use Skype, the proprietary internet calling system. With the Skype option, you just need to download an app and create an account. The SIP option however, is complicated to set up.

Once you’re done with the set up, you can make calls anywhere as long as you’re hooked to a WiFi network. You can choose to go with one option but if something goes haywire, you’d be better off having the two installed already. You can use Skype for free but if you want better call quality, you can pay the $60 annual fee. SIP, on the other hand, has a free incoming number. Again, it may be difficult to set up the latter.

Here’s how you can set up SIP on your device:

  1. Create an account at a SIP trunking provider such as SIP2SIP, Callcentric, or Tpad. You can do this by browsing to the website of the provider and entering details on the web-based form. Since there are several providers available, you can try different ones. This is so you can choose the one that has the best quality of service, especially since this is based on the bandwidth of the provider and the user (you).
  2. After signing up, your provider will send you a SIP account number. Take note of this.
  3. Open the setup instructions area on your provider’s site. Look for settings such as the server, proxy, ports and other specifics. You will find that SIP2SIP uses ‘proxy.sipthor.net’ as a proxy but has a separate distinct domain ‘sip2sip.info’; on the other hand, Tpad’s proxy or server is ‘sip.tpad.com’ and it does not require a domain.
  4. From the Android Market, download and install a free VoIP/SIP client such as Sipdroid. After it has downloaded, click on the settings menu found on the app. Enter the exact syntaxes that you copied on step 3 (server, proxy, and more). You will also be asked to include your Authorization Username (account number from step 2), password, and the port (usually 5060). Be sure to enter each syntax carefully.
  5. Still on the Settings menu of Sipdroid app, choose ‘WLAN’ so you can route your calls over the WiFi radio of your phone. Then go to Wireless and Networks > Turn on WiFi Radio.
  6. Using your computer, visit IPKall’s website. Enter your details on the form so you can get a free, incoming Washington state phone number. This is the number callers can use to call you.

Again, using the information you obtained from Step 3, enter server or proxy data on the field labeled ‘Hostname or IP address.’ You can test the app by using the number your provider has given you for testing. However, there are some providers that don’t provide this.

Once you’re satisfied with the quality of service, you should purchase some minutes on the website. When done, try an incoming call test from a regular phone. Dial your IPKall number. Once successful your smartphone will ring using the Sipdroid interface.

To know that your Sipdroid has successfully connected to the server, look for the green notification tray dot on your phone.


Christine Torralba
Christine Torralba has been a freelance writer for the past couple of years. While most of her work has been ghostwritten, she has also contributed articles to magazines such as SPARK, Monday, Vault and Epic. In her spare time, she cooks, takes photos of food, and manages to write about it on her food blog.