Free Phone Calls from Anywhere!

Updated: April 30, 2009

VoIP promises free PC-to-PC calls and cheap handset and mobile calls, but "free" would be even nicer. While many mobile plans offer free night and weekend minutes, but long-distance and international calls can still incur tolls no matter how "free" just picking up the phone is.

However, several companies have devised ways to take advantage of free calling times or otherwise defray tolls and termination fees, allowing you to make long-distance and even international calls for free.

Jajah

We've covered Jajah several times in VoIP News, but it's still highly relevant. Jajah allows you to make about an hour's worth of weekly mobile calls for free, since other users buy premium Jajah services that underwrite telecom carriers' termination fees.

Enter your phone number on Jajah's Web site, then the number you're calling. Press a button on the screen . Your phone rings, you answer; the receiver's phone rings, they answer. Make too many calls, and Jajah asks you to sign up for a premium service. This is fine for personal calls but makes Jajah's free service a bit cramped for heavy-duty business use.

PhoneGnome

TelEvolution's PhoneGnome is similar to Jajah, in that Web-initiated mobile or calls to other PhoneGnome members' phones are free within the U.S. and Canada. Calls are free regardless when both caller and receiver have the $60 PhoneGnome box, a small (wallet-size) switching gizmo that automatically finds the cheapest way to route a given call (landline, VoIP, Skype, etc. ). So if calls to non-PhoneGnome users aren't actually free, it's a good bet they're traveling the lowest-cost route available at a given moment.

RocketVoIP

Free international cell calls on RocketVoIP are easy—well, except for the $10/month you pay for their RocketVoIP Basic plan. But still: That ten bucks means unlimited calls within the RocketVoIP network, and also provides a host of other features including call waiting, forwarding and blocking. The company also throws in 200 minutes' calling to the U.S. and Western Europe, further defraying that already modest investment.

Since it's usually going to be evening or the weekend on either the caller's or the receiver's continent (U.S.-Asia, U.S.-Europe, Asia-Europe), wait until you're on your mobile plan's free night-and-weekend minutes, dial the RocketVoIP access number, dial the overseas number you want to call, and presto: free international calling from your cell without even charging minutes against your mobile plan's monthly total.

Click4Me

You can also make free cell calls through SMS software, since the same protocols that allow instant text-messaging can carry voice as well. VoiceOne's Click4Me service makes use of this fact: You and whoever you want to call sign up with Click4Me and get Click4Me IDs; text Click4Me with "CALL" plus the recipient's Click4Me ID and the call connects. Click4Me also allows blocking of certain numbers/IDs, and lets users get e-mail or SMS messages showing which calls they've missed.

Mobivox

Other companies are building applications that ride on top of Skype technology. Mobivox is Exhibit A. Register your Skype account with Mobivox, and the company will list your Skype contacts as people you can call. You can then use local access numbers to call them for free from your mobile (presumably connecting with them at their laptops).

That said, if you and the callee are both in the Mobivox network, mobile-to-mobile calls are not only possible but free up to 250 minutes per week. As with Jajah, it appears that those 250 minutes are underwritten by others' purchase of premium Mobivox services, in this case international calling minutes.

In a nice touch, Mobivox actually tells you whether a call is free or not before you make it, through an operator app named VoxGirl. This type of plan offers business users a lot of flexibility since Mobivox's pricing is transparent, VoxGirl acts as a tripwire when you're about to run out of free minutes, and no contract or downloads are involved.

Hopefully these examples give a flavor of what VoIP has made possible in today's telecom environment. If you can't bring your overall telecom costs using technologies and deals from these and other VoIP-centric companies, you're not really trying.

Featured Research
  • 8 Ways Business Travelers Can Save with VoIP

    Do you or any part of your workforce travel for work, or even telecommute? If that answer is yes, then you should be utilizing mobile VoIP. With VoIP, businesses have been found to save as much as 40% on local calls and a whopping 90% on international calling expenses. more

  • Phone System Showdown

    When it comes time to select your new phone system, one of the biggest questions that you will face is whether to go with the hot, new VoIP system or the steady and secure PBX network. There are pros and cons to each of these phone systems, and before making any purchase we highly suggest that you take the time to download and read our latest guide: Phone System Showdown: VoIP vs. PBX. more

  • Signals Your Company is Ready For Unified Communications

    Efficient and effective business collaboration is essential to company success and as you grow your business, you'll discover all the different communication methods that you NEED to stay connected with partners and customers. Implementing a Unified Communications (UC) system can save your company upwards of $920,000 a year due to increased efficiency amongst company employees. more

  • Phone System Implementation Expectations

    Providers would have you believe that implementing a new phone system is as easy as counting to three. However, while the process may not be difficult, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that your new VoIP system is installed and implemented smoothly. Luckily, the challenges associated with upgrading your system tend to be fairly predictable. Most businesses run into the same set of problems that many others have faced before them, meaning avoiding or overcoming them is as easy as preparing ahead of time. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more