Apple iPhone users will be able to circumvent cellular networks to make calls thanks to a voice over internet protocol app supplied by Belgian phone firm Nomado Telecom.

The tech provider claims callers could make savings of up to 80 per cent connecting to the internet via the terminal’s wifi connection. Calls made via Nomado’s cellular VoIP service starts from just Euro0.025 per minute to other mobiles and are free between fellow Nomado users.

In an interview with Mobile Communications International Hugh Roberts, a senior strategist with Patni Telecoms Consulting warned that mobile operators need to embrace multi-platform services rather than seeing this as a competitive threat. “With the advent of multi-mode handsets, the combination of VoIP routed not by the cellular infrastructure but via wi-fi/wimax/etc access will be appealing to customers, notably those who already sit in cafes using VoIP on their PCs,” he said, adding: “This isn’t a VoIP issue per se, but 3rd party VoIP will be one of the services singled out by MNOs as a battleground in their fight to maintain outdated strategies and business models.”

This is already a battle VoIP provider Truphone, which also has an iPhone app out, has waded into.

Operators need not panic just yet over the perceived threat of VoIP. Nomado notes that VoIP technology isn’t ready to take over just yet. The VoIP providers are unable to offer a static cell phone number to their users claims the firm. That means that even if users switch to their service, their cell phone number will remain the same and if their provider charges them for receiving calls over their network, those charges will remain. Nomado’s VoIP app is already available on a range of Nokia, Samsung, HTC and other Smartphones.