We first reported on Yak4Ever when it was called AllFreeCalls back in January. The company exploited a loophole in Iowa telephony law that let them provide free international calls to users. The FCC was basically forcing large telecoms to pay the fees of rural phone companies. AllFreeCalls was able to partner with one of these rural companies to route out-of-state calls through them, thereby enabling out-of-state users to take advantage of the in-state kickbacks. For awhile there, users only had to dial AllFreeCalls, punch in the international number they wanted to reach, and voilà, instant savings.
In February, AllFreeCalls was shut down after its rural operator felt too much pressure from a “large USA-based carrier,” which wasn’t all-too-happy about paying $2,000,000 for mostly non-Iowans to save some money. But in May, AllFreeCalls was resurrected as Yak4Ever with a new operator. It provided pretty much the same service, except that now you needed to register with the site and put down the international numbers you wanted to call ahead of time.
Now it looks as though the party is over because the big telecoms have simply stopped paying for it. In a blog post today, founder Pat Phelan says that while “we have been underwriting the costs and expenses of project for the past several months…we cant continue to make these losses on and with no sign of the FCC forcing the carriers the pay us we have to take the decision to shut the service down.” Looks like the buck has finally stopped with Yak4Ever.
Don’t worry about Phelan, though; his new company Cubic Telecom, which also aims to provide free calls but in this case by selling special SIM cards, is doing quite well. The company’s first product, MAXroam, has hit its 12 month sales target only two months after launching at the TechCrunch40 conference.