VoIP alternatives trim long-distance bills

By Scott Dunn

Our Dec. 13, 2007, issue explained how a VoIP device called MagicJack, which charges only $20 USD per year for unlimited calls from anywhere in the world to U.S. and Canada phones, might make big long-distance bills a thing of the past.

As a result, many of our readers pointed out other innovative Internet products and services to help cut your phone bill down to size.

Numerous readers wrote in to make us aware of their own preferred Voice over Internet Protocol systems for lowering their phone bills. We haven’t tested all of the following services or products, so do your homework before diving in:

Jajah. John Cossins and many others wrote to tell us how pleased they were with the service offered by Jajah. Unlike many VoIP services, Jajah doesn’t require any installable software or hardware (other than an ordinary telephone). You go to the Web site and enter your phone number and the number you wish to call. Jajah does the rest by calling you and then connecting you with your party. Jajah also offers a service called Jajah Direct, which doesn’t even require an Internet connection. You simply call a local phone number and provide the destination number. Readers report good voice quality and low per-minute rates, starting at 2.9 cents per minute, which are listed at the Jajah site. Calls between any two Jajah customers are free.

Vyke and VoipCheap. Reader Alf Manders wrote to tell us about Vyke, and Leon Fiss wanted to inform us of VoipCheap. Both services are similar to Skype in that they require you to download and install software. You’ll need a microphone and speakers on your computer if you don’t have a headset.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2008-01-03: