HiTok your way to free stuff
App of the month
Name: Hi-Tok Plus Lite
Platform: Android (now),
iPhone: 2nd week of July
Type: Phone service
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Faced with mounting international phone bills, Erin Adams had to look for ways to trim costs. In her hunt she came across a popular new app called HiTok Plus Lite.
Made by Seoul-based SS Trade, the app is catching on for two main reasons: You can make international calls at local rates, and you get points for talking, which you can use to get free stuff. And the new app has one major hand over rivals like Skype: You accumulate “TOK” points as you talk. The more you talk, the more points you get.
The app is currently available for Android users, but the iPhone version will launch in the second week of July. Spend your points at the TOK Point Mall within the app and get mobile coupons for places such as Family Mart, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, Smoothie King, Paris Baguette and more.
“Besides saving money, the best thing about this app is that it’s convenient,” said Adams, a 28-year-old American. “I can make international calls wherever and whenever I want with my cell phone at local rates.
I don’t have to be always in front of my computer to talk to my family and friends anymore.”
Making calls is simple: You can make calls in one of two ways — through the app itself, or just through your phone’s normal dialer. After downloading the app and registering your phone number, you are assigned a special number starting with 050. From there, you can just use your phone as you usually would.
Making a call from the app doesn’t take any more time than using your normal dialer — though it’s not totally necessary. Just open the HiTok app and choose from one of four ways to make a call — dial with the keypad, choose a recent call, select a pre-set favorite or choose from your contact list, which loads into the app automatically.
It’s all very simple. The only difference is that customers can select either a 050 or 010 number to appear on the screen of the receiver’s phone.
Using HiTok Plus Lite has another unique advantage: when selecting the country of the person you are calling, the local time is displayed. No more accidental 3 a.m. phone calls! On top of that, the quality is noticeably clearer than most other apps. “I have to make international calls very often because all my family and friends live in Texas,” said Adams.
The good thing about this app is that I can make international calls at local rates and I save money. I’ve used other apps to make international calls but the call quality is terrible.”
However, where the app falls short is that it is only available for Android users until the middle of July. Another problem some users won’t like is that you can only call a land line in some countries, namely the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Lastly, one user we talked to complained that the coupons offered in the TOK Point Mall are too “women-centric.” “I wish other coupons geared more specifically for men were offered, such as sports-related items,” said one U.K. resident in Seoul.
For the vast majority of Android users, however, the TOK point system is a key benefit. Koreans have long had access to these kinds of money-saving features; point cards such as Happy Point have been popular among young Koreans for years. This is the first time such a service has been made available to expats.
Generally, you get five points per minute you talk, but there are a lot of ways to quickly accumulate more. Take advantage of their perpetual referral reward system: refer someone and you get points as they use the app — forever. The more people you refer, the more points you get — and you don’t have to make a single call. One point is worth 1 won.
“It’s like making money while you’re talking on the phone,” said Adams. “You earn points with every minute you spend talking on the phone through the app, and if you have enough points you can exchange them for coupons in TokPoint mall to buy food, coffee, cosmetics, and other things.”
Alyssa Henning, a 25-year-old Canadian living in Korea, agrees: “I earn points by using this service and used them to buy drinks, food, and cosmetics.” Henning uses a Galaxy S2.
Wireless and Beyond
We can’t leave out a mention of Wireless and Beyond, a subsidiary of SS Trade. They are a one-stop shop for expats in need of a phone. They sell both prepaid and contract phones to all expats regardless of visa type. New and used phones are available. Their staff speak English and Chinese.
Other services that might come in handy one day: sign up for roaming reservation and activate the phone you brought with you to Korea from your home country. You can choose from any Korean carrier.
Check out the online mall at www.wnbmall.com.
Phone: (02) 1877-9912
Directions: Yongsan Station I’PARK mall; go to section G on the 8th floor; it’s located near elevators 10 and 11