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ChatTime app allows free calls to quake-hit Japan

Users of the iPhone app in 48 countries can call friends and family in Japan for free through the end of March.


If you're trying to call friends or family in Japan following the quake and tsunami there, iPhone app ChatTime is offering free calls to the stricken nation until the end of March.

New and existing users in 48 countries can use the free app to call cell phones and landlines in Japan for free.

As the country struggles in the aftermath of the cataclysm, phone reception has been patchy at times, with many using social media to communicate.

ChatTime uses phone networks instead of VoIP; Wi-Fi and 3G service is not required, just a carrier signal. Normally, calls are made at reduced prices--it claims savings of up to 97 percent compared to regular carriers.

Developer SmartRoam will also credit ChatTime users who have used the app to call Japan since Friday, when the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region. The temblor was so powerful it apparently shortened the length of Earth's day.

AT&T and Verizon said that they are also allowing free calls and texts to Japan.