Millions of people are switching to VoIP, especially for cheaper long distance and international calls. Generally VoIP services, such as RingCentral, are very affordable and far cheaper than any traditional Telco, although sometimes quality can still be an issue. If you would like to take your savings to the limit, then check the "Free" VoIP services we have listed below.
There are not actually 60 services, but 60 is catchier than 58. Anyway it is enough to keep many of you busy for a few days to test and play around.
It has taken us a two weeks to compile this overview and maybe we have missed the one or other interesting service. Should this be the case please let us know or add it to the comments section below this article.
For easier referenece we have divided this overview into four sections. Although some unlimited plans could be classified as almost free, we have only included those VoIP services that are completely free.
1. Free and almost Free VoIP services
Here we will not be looking at PC to PC services. Almost all VoIP providers offer free calls within their own network (Skype for example). Rather we will try to identify as many services as possible offering free calls to landlines and mobile phone around the world. The options listed below are in a random order.
SIP, Asterisk based service from Portugal. You have to regsiter with them and deposit at least €10. Once registered you can make free calls to landlines in 30 countries around the world and mobile phones in Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the US. There seem to be no strings attached (edit 28.03.07 - They charge a Paypal fee of 3.4%+0.35€ on each deposit) and no daily or monthly limits on the number of calls made.
SIP based service from Norway. Register and deposit at least $10. You can then make free calls to landlines in the US and Canada as well as most of Western Europe. They do however charge a connection fee of $0.04 per call irrespective of the duration.
SIP based service from Germany. Betamax is the holding company for the following 13 VoIP services:
www.voipbuster.com, www.voipcheap.co.uk, www.voipcheap.com, www.poivy.com, www.netappel.fr, www.sparvoip.de, www.voipdiscount.com, www.voipstunt.com, www. freecall.com, www.internetcalls.com, www.sipdiscount.com, www.lowratevoip.com, www.voipbusterpro.com
In essence the different web sites are all the same and only vary slightly in their logos, call rates and free destinations. They have a habit of changing the "free" destinations and their call rates on a very regular basis and it is diffcult to keep track of the changes. A minimum deposit of €10 is required and you are then entitled to make up to 300 minutes of "free" calls per week. The "free calls" expire after 90 or 120 days and then you are expected to top up your account. The voice quality tends to be good, although never, ever expect any customer service.
SIP based service from the UK. A minimum deposit of $10 is required. You are then entitled to make free calls landlines and some mobile phones in around 30 countries. They have a limit of 150 minutes per week on calls to "Free" destinations. Please note that your credit will expire after 90 days.
SIP based service from France. Unfortunately only for French users as you have to be a subscriber of their super fast ADSL service. They offer unlimited free calls to 40 destinations around the world.
US based VoIP service. Raketu offers a Softphone with integrated IPTV and VOD (Video on Demand) and a whole bunch of other features. You need to register and deposit a minimum of $10 to enjoy free calls to landlines to 42 countries/destinations. In addition Raketu also offers a free SMS service.
SIP based service from Luxembourg. Jajah is not a traditional VoIP service, but a web activated service. You need to initiate a call from your PC or from your mobile phone, provided your mobile supports Jajah's software. PSTN to PSTN calls between Jajah users are free in around 40 countries. You need to register and deopsit a minimum of $10 to make use of this service.
This is a totally free, no strings attached web activated service and allows anybody to make PSTN to PSTN calls. Registration is not even required. It only works from Germany and free calls can be made to 30 destinations around the world. The call duration is limited to 30 minutes per call and the system is only available from 06:00 until 24:00 daily - very unusual.
SIP based VoIP service from the US. iCall offer free and unlimited calls to the US and Canada.
Denmark based VoIP service. SGOOPE displays advertising to users in exchange for free talk time. It can also be integrated with popular applications such as Skype, MSN Messenger and Outlook Express. In other words, you can also call to these users with your Sgoope account.
SIP based service from the UK. To earn free calls and free SMS's you will have to watch videos. The softphone includes IPTV and video calling is also available.
US based VoIP service. You are expected to watch ads in exchange for call credits.
SIP based service from the US. Gizmo offers free calls with a twist. Both parties must be registered with Gizmocall and ideally with their current landline (PSTN) number and /or mobile number. Calls to mobile phones in 17 countries are then for free as well as all calls to landlines in a further 43 countries. Check their terms & conditions for further details.
1.14 www.mediaringtalk.com (Limited promotion)
H.323 based service from Singapore. This is a promotion running from the 07 March 2007 until the 31 April 2007 and no purchase is necessary. During this promotional period all calls to the US, Canada, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Taiwan and Australia are free. The calls are limited to 10 minutes per call. There are no limits on calling the same number multiple times, though.
In addition to the above listed services we decided to make two exceptions by adding paid subscription services to this list. The benefits far outweigh the costs involved.
1. 15 Skype Pro
Skype only launched Skype Pro in early March 2007 and allows users in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK to make unlimited free calls to landlines within the users own country. Five months cost €10 and it includes €5 worth of call credits and free voicemail. There is unfortunately a snag. Skype now charges a connection fee of €0.039 per call, irrespective of the duration of the call.
1.16 Voipbuster Pro
Voipbuster Pro offers a similar to service to Skype (it actually launched a few weeks before Skype) but is somewhat cheaper. For €10 per year including €5 of calling credit you can call around 50 destinations for "free". The term "free" is not quite correct you now also have to pay a connection fee of €0.039 per call and the call duration is limited to 300 minutes of free calls per week. Otherwise the same comments as under item 1.3 apply.
2. Free Softphones to make VoIP calls
2.1 www.counterpath.com - Eyebeam
2.2 www.sjlabs.con - SJPhone
2.3 www.zfoneproject.com - Zfone - secure and encrypted VoIP calls
2.4 www.nero.com - Nero Sipps softphone
2.5 www.zoiper.com - SIP, IAX softphone for Win, Lin and Mac OS
2.6 www.solegy.com - Open source SIP phone
2.7 www.linphone.org - Softphone for Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD
2.8 www.openzoep.org -OpenZoep is based on open protocols and thus it is interoperable with other VoIP Software
2.9 www.phonerlite.de -VoIP softphone with profile and contact management (Win only)
2.10 www.twinklephone.com - SIP Softphone fro Linux
2.11 www.ekiga.org - VoIP and video conferencing application for Linux - supports SIP and H.323
2.12 www.nch.com.au - Express Talk - Free Sip phone for Windows
2.13 www.pulver.com - FWD Comuunicator
2.14 www.globaliptel.com - PC-Phone - Free Win softphone
3. Free DID (incoming numbers) from around the world
Now that you have found a free or paid VoIP service, you would like others to be able to phone you from a PSTN or mobile phone. There are a number of companies offering DID or imcoming numbers (VoIP-In) for a flat yearly rate or a monthly fee. But then again there are a few offering free DID numbers from around the world, albeit very limited and only from a few selected countries.
3.1 www.ipkall.com - Free Washingtion (206) area code number. Number expires after 3 months if not used
3.2 www.globe7.com - Free US phone number
3.3 www.enum2go.com - Free eNum number
3.4 www.freenumber.nl - Free Dutch number
3.5 www.esms.com - Free UK numbers
3.6 www.messagenet.com - Free Italian numbers from Rome, Milan and Turin
3.7 www.stanaphone.com - Free US number (New York)
3.8 www.skypho.com - Free Italian number, but you have to use their service
3.9 www.sipnumber.com - Free US phone number
3.10 www.voipuser.org - Free UK number
3.11 www.calluk.com - Free UK number - forward to your FWD number
3.12 www.voicestick.com - Free US or UK incoming number - only to be used with their service
3.13 www.sipgate.com - Free UK number, but you have to live in the UK and use the Sipgate service
3.14 www.sipgate.de - Free German VoIP-In number, however you have to reside in the same area code (German Law)
3.15 www.privatephone.com - Free US phone number and voicemail
3.16 www.talkdigits.com - Free US phone number
3.17 www.clickdigits.com - Free US phone number
3.18 www.orbtalk.co.uk - Free UK telephone numbers
3.19 www.open-telecom.co.uk - Free UK phone numbers
3.20 www.woize.com - Free UK number after you have added a small amount to your call account
3.21 www.aimphoneline.com - Free US phone number
3.22 www.craigsnumber.com - Free temporary telephone number for 1day, 1 week or 1 month - a very nice idea !
4. Any other useful Free VoIP or phone related services we can find
4.1 www.gizmosms.com - Send SMS's for free worldwide
4.2 www.asterisk.org - Free IP PBX
4.3 www.freepbx.org - Free IP PBX
4.4 www.openpbx.org - Free IP PBX
4.5 www.freeswitch.org - Freeopen source telephony platform
4.6 www.sipfoundry.org - SipX - Free IP PBX
If you know of any other companies, which should be included on this list, please let us know and we will add them.