Since the dawn of the cellular age, phones have required three things to operate: bars, batteries and minutes. Today, bars and batteries are nearly everywhere.
But we're still helpless slaves to the power of the Minute. How many times have you found yourself ignoring calls at the end of the month, or doing your best livestock auction voice just to get in a conversation?
That's not to mention texting limits, which can be just as draconian and even more expensive. The good news is that if you have a smartphone, you can finally break the chains of the phone company.
These apps allow you to talk and text as much as you want without tapping into your supply of monthly minutes and text messages. Please keep in mind, though, that every app is still subject to data charges from your carrier when used over 3G or 4G wireless networks.
Skype (Free; iOS, Android) - I've mentioned Skype before as a great way to talk to your friends and family around the world. But if you know it only as a video chat program for computers, you're missing the best parts!
Skype is great for video calls, but you can also use the Skype mobile app to make voice calls and send instant messages. It runs in the background so you'll even be able to receive calls and texts at your Skype ID.