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VoIP company Fring has found yet another way to compete with Skype. Fring, which specializes in mobile VoIP-plus-chat apps, today announced FringOut, a calling service that lets you use your Fring app to place outbound calls to non-Fring users on their landline or mobile phones.

While Fring boasts calls starting at 1 cent per minute (Euros), we noticed a couple of caveats after wading through Fring's calling rates. Most FringOut calls cost significantly more than one cent per minute in any currency, and costs can spike for a number of reasons. Calls to mobile phone typically cost much more than calls to home phones. Service into a metropolitan area is usually cheaper than calls to remote outposts. Fring also organizes calling rate fluctuations by prefix.

Even our chart below, which samples a handful of VoIP calling rates across Fring, Skype, and Google Voice looks tangled. This is partly the nature of the beast.

Calling rates in U.S. cents per minute
FringOut SkypeOut Google Voice
China 1.1 2.3 2
Germany 1.1-19.9 5.5-25.3 2-42
India 1.4 9.2 6 (landline and mobile)
Mexico 1.6 2.3-33.6 2-19
U.K. 0.7-37.4 2.3 (landline), 25.9 (mobile) 2 (landline), 18 (mobile)

You'll see that due to the range of charges, there's no clear-cut cost leader. Instead, each of the three services may offer a better price for a handful of countries than the others.

If you've got a Nokia S60 phone running on Symbian, you can use FringOut now. It will also be available on iPhone and Android smartphones in the future. You'll need to buy credit for FringOut before you can begin using the service.

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.