Cheapskates that we are, people are always trying to find deals, like, say, being able to make phone calls for free. Yes, that works. Over at the Times, David Pogue bravely looked at several services that offer, in one way or another, free phone calls. Skype we already know, so who cares. But there’s three other services that seem neat: Jajah.com, T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home and Ooma.
Jajah lets you make calls from your regular telephone, but you need to initiate the conversation with a Web browser. Jajah then calls both numbers and connects them, sorta like an operator.
John, who is currently on holiday, already gave T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home the thumbs up. Basically, it allows for Wi-Fi calls.
Ooma is the most interesting out of all of these services, simply because it tries to “get one over” on the phone companies. Ooma takes advantage of the fact that all local calls are free regardless of telephone provider. Ooma gives each of its customers a special converter box, so when you make a long distance call, you actually connect to an Ooma box in the area of where you’re calling. The call then, as far as the phone company knows, originates from that remote box. Instant free call. (You live in San Fran and call NYC. Ooma connects to a box in NYC, then the call, for all intents and purposes, looks like it came locally from NYC.)
So yes, you can make calls to your friends and enemies for free, but it might not be the most streamlined process.
Another thing: Can someone tell David Pogue that his silly little New York Times videos aren’t funny? Like, they’re not even ironically funny. Leave comedy to the comedians, David.
Get Your Free Net Phone Calls Here [New York Times]