Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology that enables voice data to be carried over the Internet in packets. In plain words, it involves making calls over the Internet. There are many organizations offering VoIP services and most of these services are not absolutely free. It is entirely possible to make Internet calls without being charged for that service, although as the Internet user, you will still have to pay for the Internet connection. Before you choose your VoIP provider, consider the conditions each provider places on you before you choose their services and then factor in your needs. Your choice should be determined primarily by the way the provider’s terms of service fit your communication needs. There are no hard and fast rules about this. Some of the VoIP providers and a brief discussion of their main tenets, which may help you make your choice, are outlined below:
Skype is one of the pioneers of VoIP calls. Skype provides unlimited free calls if you make them from one computer or device to another. These are known in the industry as PC-to-PC calls. Both the caller and the recipient have to have the Skype software installed, which can be downloaded for free. Its status as the most popular VoIP platform means there are many users out there, making it possible to reach millions of people. However, remember most VoIP providers allow free calls only within their platforms. If you are interested in calling a landline through Skype, you will have to buy Skype credit. Users in North America can make unlimited calls to landlines for about $30 a year, which is not exactly an arm and a leg.
Apart from the $9.95 “deposit” that will be required when registering, Raketu is otherwise an impressive VoIP provider. One can make not just free PC-to-PC calls, but also free calls to landlines and mobile phones to around 42 countries. The deposit you made when you registered will probably be spent if you call a destination that is not included in the free calls package.
This service allows users to make free calls, and unlike Skype, one can make free calls to landlines and unlike Raketu, the free calls package includes many more countries. Their software is also free to download. The downside for this service is that the free calls are limited to 300 minutes per week, making it slightly unattractive for the most loquacious of us.
If you are a Gizmo user, you might benefit from their “All Calls Free” plan, where free calls can be made to the PC’s, mobiles and landlines of other Gizmo users. The software for the service is free and can be downloaded, installed and used with ease. However, the laborious procedure one has to undergo to enjoy free calls to mobile/landlines really raises questions about the genuineness of this service. The rules are absent when making PC-to-PC calls, and anyone who tries to cut corners when calling mobile/landline even slightly, is likely to be slapped with some bill for calls that, on the face of it, are supposed to be free.
There are many more VoIP providers than can be discussed here in a resources-friendly manner (time and space) but it is evident from that all of these services have their quirks, so you need to examine each carefully before deciding which one of them is your best choice.