Messaging app Viber has added a new paid-for service offering local geographic numbers for the UK, US and Canada allowing users to receive phone calls and text messages without paying international rates.
Viber Local Number, as the service is called, is available to anyone globally. Although initially the only numbers you can register are limited to three countries, there are plans to add more.
Viber said that the first 10,000 people to sign up will be able to pay £1.79 per month indefinitely for the service after which the charge will increase to £4.59/month. You can subscribe to the service using Apple’s in-app payments service, Google Play or via a credit card direct with Viber itself.
To access the option to subscribe to the local number service, click the “more” tab on the app.
As with other similar services, Viber Local Number is aimed at business people or travellers who want to callers a local number in a particular region on which to call them, when they themselves might not be overseas.
For example, if you have moved to Kenya for work but return home to the UK often and want a way for others to keep in touch with you, Viber Local Number could be invaluable. Family, friends and customers would be able to ring you as if you were still in the UK without either party having to pay expensive international rates. They wouldn’t even need to know you were out of the country.
Alternatively, if you are a Kenyan who has lived, worked or studied in the UK who wants a cheap way for others to keep in touch with them, this service could prove useful and cost effective.
It would also allow you to have two active numbers on one phone, even if it is a single sim card device.
“The new Viber Local Number enriches our users in a way that makes Viber the most powerful communication app out there,” explained Viber CEO, Djamel Agaoua, in a statement.
“We are excited to offer people new ways to be closer and more relevant to what matters and is important to them. From expats who need a local phone number that connects them back home, to global business owners who want overseas clients to feel they are located nearby, this new feature gives them a local presence no matter where they are,” he added.
Although this service is only for inbound calls and texts, the company also have Viber Out which allows users to make calls from their Viber accounts to numbers outside of Viber itself. Although Viber Local Number sits within Viber as a separate product, the company have said it will over time be integrating Viber Local Number calls into the Viber Out feature, so that if you do make calls out, you can associate those with your Viber Local Number.
Brits in Kenya also has a Viber social community which is available to any British and Irish citizens in Kenya. It is a great way to meet other expats and details on how to join can be found in our Facebook community group. Alternatively, email us for details of how you can join, but please note, this is for expats only and membership is strictly moderated.