How to get Free telephony calls

lagt inn 22. des. 2011, 14:23 av Tormod Tveiterås
Think of this:
  • Using your usual home landline phone calling "everywhere" without paying any carrier rate?
  • Setting up your phone so that it answers a local number (i.e. a Norwegian number) when you are in another country (i.e. Switzerland). This means your friends and family can call YOU at a lower rate.
  • Having a landline phone without paying a regular montly fee?

If this sounds interesting, keep on reading. If not, you are probably not a very "globalized" person, or you are loaded with money. In both cases, you might be a entierly happy person and can stop reading here.

The requirements and the components
  • You need a broadband Internet connection. ADSL will do - I have a 2 Mbit connection and it works fine.
  • You need a VOIP router. This is a box that can convert your Internet connection into a telephone outlet where you can connect your normal phone (Analog or ISDN, whatever you have. My favourite are the Fritz!Box from AVM , but there are a lot of devices that can be used. Just ensure that your device supports the SIP standard, as this is what you need to be able to connect to your service providor.
  • You need a service providor offering IP Telephony supporting the SIP standard. There are a lot of them, and I am using WWW.VOIPBUSTER.COM Check out their websites for the rates for calling landlines in different countries. If your "favourite country" is not on the list of countries where you can call for free, search for another providor here (sorry, but only in german language)
  • Yes, you need a credit card to pay the service providor - without this it will be fairly complicated to pay...
  • Oh, and of cause you need an analog or ISDN telephone set. You do not need to buy a new one, you can of cause use whatever you have!

The alternatives
"I am using Skype and can call my friends all over the world"
Yes, Skype is very nice but it requires your computer to be online all the time - if you want people to reach YOU over skype. To my understanding, only Skype-to-Skype is free of charge. You can "dial out" on the normal telephone network, but it will cost a fee.

"My Internet Provider also offers IP Telephony"
Good for you - but is it free of charge? I have heard that France is the frontrunner in this field and offers IP Telephony where you can call most countries for free. For other countries, this is not the case. The IP Telephony offer is normally very much less than the traditional prices (50% or less), but you are still paying fees like a montly subscribtion fee, a connection fee and a carrier fee. You can pay less if you want to!

"I only have a mobile phone, I find landline phones oldfashioned"
Well, how good for you! But your international calls will be very expencive, and it is equally expencive to call you!
- By the way, it is RELATIVELY EXPENCIVE to use this VOIP setup to dial out to mobile phones. This always costs (a lot) more than dialling a landline in any country, as you need to pay the carrier fee to the mobile telephony providors!

The details, hints and costs
  • Go get yourself a VOIP router
You can buy a brand new one from the local computer mall, or you can try to buy a used one on www.Ebay.de or www.Ricardo.ch (if you are in Switzerland)
As said, the Fritz!Box can be recommended. I am using the older models 5050 and 7050 (with Wireless access), and both are working fine. A used Fritz!Box is sold for as low as 50-70 CHF or 10-30 Euros.
  • Go open an account at an VOIP Service providor
The way it works with VOIPBUSTER is as follows: Your calls are prepaied - well, no need to place a kind of deposit to become a customer and to be able also to make calls for free. Your deposit is minimum 10 Euros, but it gives you 120 days of FREE calls. The money never expires, so if you pay 10 new Euros after 120 days, you will have 120 new free days and 20 Euros on your account to call for. I paied 10 Euros 2 months ago, and I am calling friends and family in Norway from Switzerland every evening. My current credit is 60 Euros - and not 10, since I made some calls to mobile phones and countries that are not free of charge.
Please note that there is an upper limit of 300 minutes of free calls every week. Now if you are on the phone more than 50 hours per week, your head must be spinning anyway so it would be healty to pay!
  • Configure your VOIP router to use the VOIP Service Providor
From your VOIP Service Providor you should get the phone number or ID, and the password you should use. You configer this in the VOIP Router (Fritz!Box) and store it there. When done, all your outgoing calls will run over the VOIP Service Providor, and your can answer incommig calls to your number provided from the VOIP Service Providor.
  • Hint: Consider using MORE than one VOIP Service Providor
Well, with VOIPBUSTER you can get a permanent German phone number for 1 Euro. This is fine, but if you live in another country you might not want to ask people to call you on a German number. The good news is that your VOIP router (Fritz!Box) can be configured to answer up to 10 different phonenumbers!
The trick is to use a country speciffic Service Providor to get a number for incomming calls only for the country you are living in. I am using www.sipcall.ch to get a Swiss number and http://www.televoip.no/ to get a Norwegian number - I can recommend both! At Sipcall.ch you pay a one-time fee to get a number reserved. At Televoip you pay similar to 10 CHF to get a number reserved.
  • Hint: Do not use your VOIP phone to call mobile phones
Just don't! It is too expencive! I made a 30 minutes call from my Fritz!Box in Norway to a mobile phone in Switzerland. The cost was 5.50 CHF which is kind of a fortune when you compare to calling Switzerland landlines for free!

Questions
You may try to contact me by sending an email to tormod(a)dingja.no (the @ is replaced with (a) for a good reason: the Internet is scanned every day for active email addresses. I get enough SPAM, so I will not publish an email address that can be harvested!

Have fun with your phone!
Kind regards,
Tormod
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