VOIP company Jajah just announced an exceptional new consumer service that will let many cell phone users access Jajah’s very low calling rates through their cell phone (and without using data services).
Ok, it’s true. When I wrote about the woeful state of the VOIP market last week I knew full well that Jajah was preparing to launch a killer new product this evening (and Shel Israel called me on it).
I think that post was good background material to better understand the problems with current VOIP options and the importance of what Jajah just launched. Before today it was difficult for users of normal phones to access VOIP services directly and get cheaper rates on phone calls. They almost always had to be in front of a computer to initiate a call, or go through complicated call, then hang up and call back procedures.
Jajah’s New Mobile Phone Service
Jajah’s new mobile service suffers from none of the “detail issues” that I bring up in the post last week. I walk through how the new service works below, but the end result is that you can set your phone to use Jajah for certain types of calls (such as international calls) instead of your normal carrier. From the caller and receiver’s perspective the call transaction is seemless. A call is made normally, and received normally. The only work is getting it set up.
To use the new service you must be a registered Jajah user. You must have a supported cell phone (see this page to determine if you have a supported cell phone) – Jajah currently supports phones with the symbian operating system…other phones, including Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Treo, will come later this year. Jajah sends a MMS message to your phone. Once you confirm the message a Java application is downloaded to the phone and can be configured by the user. Once configured, the Jajah software handles certain types of calls made from the phone, bypassing the carrier entirely. When you place a call, Jajah routes the call to its own local number, moves the call over VOIP to the destination and calls the recipient via a local number where they are located.
Jajah founder Roman Scharf says that the carriers can’t block what they are doing because they do not use the data services included with many newer phones. Instead, they simply re-route the call through the normal telephone lines. The tricky part, of course is getting the software installed properly on a phone to begin with (something I can’t test right now because I’m in Taiwan and because my phone, the hated Motorola Q, uses the even-more-hated Windows Mobile OS).