Jaxtr, the online VoIP service that also offers a social network, has launched out-of-network calling that will allow users to call phone lines around the world. The new service will allow users to call family and friends (even non-members) from their own phones for a fraction of the costs associated with traditional long distance calling. The company has also raised a $10 million Series B funding round led by Lehman Brothers Venture Partners.
To use the service, users need to enter each international number they’d like to call on the site, which generates a unique local number for every contact. From then on, they can simply call the number from their phone as they normally would. The initial setup seems like a bit of a hassle, but it is significantly easier than using a calling card every time you need to place a call. Rates vary by country, and are generally much cheaper than standard call fees (many also appear to be lower than those found on similar VoIP services).
The site is also introducing “Premium Memberships”, which offer digital voicemail through email and customized contact pages. These premium memberships are actually free, but are only granted to active members (the site declined to specify what exactly was needed to attain ‘active’ status). Members who don’t qualify as “active” should be able to purchase premium membership in the near future.
These new features, especially the out-of-network calls, make Jaxtr increasingly competitive with other VoIP operators like Jajah, which has a number of very similar features. And while there might not be much that differentiates the two companies from each other, it is important to note the massive market for international calls, which can certainly support more than a few similar services.