If you are like me, you are probably in the market for a new VoIP service. For those of you who don’t know what VoIP is; it is basically an internet telephony, i.e. placing a call through the internet. If you do a google search on VoIP, you will get at least 100 millions results. Ok fine, there isn’t 100 million VoIP providers out there but you get the point. It is simply too many. I am not the first to review and I certainly won’t be the last.

I placed a lot of VoIP calls especially international calls (to landline or mobile) and have used numerous providers. While this review is accurate at the time I write it, it might not be by the time you read it. :-)

Most (if not all) VoIP providers will still let you place an internet call for free. That means both the caller and the receiver must be behind the internet when the call is made.

So here we go …

1. Skype

Well, I used to be a fan of Skype. It was one of the first VoIP to ever hit the mainstream. The SkypeOut service was really popular when it was first announced.

Back in 2005, I made a lot of mobile calls to Poland with Skype and I can say it was TERRIBLE. The connection was really bad and I experienced a lot of dropped calls. To its defense however, I have troubles with other calling method as well.

In 2006, Skype lets you call any numbers in US and Canada free of charge. You have to make the call from within this region though, or else you will be charged the regular rate. The quality is pretty bad sometimes. I had a co-worker using Skype to call in to a conference call and we could hear some random conversations in the background. No one know who it was until he hung up the phone.

Anyway, Skype introduced a connection fee in January 2007 and I know then it’s time to find another VoIP. Who else still charge connection fee in this day and age. I know it was a terrible idea when they agreed to be bought out by eBay.

One thing I like about Skype is the sms service. It’s very reliable and it definitely cheaper than what my mobile carrier charges me for sending international sms. I love the interface and it also loads my outlook contact.

I am not dropping Skype from my personal use just yet. I still have a lot of friends using the service (calling them is free of course) plus it’s pretty handy for me to look up a phone number since it loads all my Outlook contact directly to the interface. It’s much easier than browsing through Outlook. But one sure thing is they are not getting another dime from me. I spent enough money just for them to turn around and slap me with a stupid connection fee. As with the sms, well … I just don’t sms anymore until I find a reliable (and inexpensive) one to use.

For those of you who do not make any international calls, Skype offers Skype Unlimited for $29.95 a year that lets you place an unlimited calls to any number in US and Canada with no connection charge. ($8.85 for 3 months)

2. VoIPbuster

There are a few variations of these software that tied to the same company. One is Voipstunt and there is another one but I just can’t remember the name. They are virtually the same company, well sort of. VoIPbuster and VoIPstunt have similar interface functionality but have a minor difference in the look-and-feel. I think they are resellers of the same service that provided by a company in Switzerland. Both companies offer free calls to landlines (mobile as well in some countries) in select countries up to 300 minutes per week. (60 minutes during the trial and once you buy the credits, that’s when the 300 minutes kick in) If you run out of free minutes, normal rates will apply. I always use the free minutes to call my siblings in Australia. :-)

I initially registered with VoIPstunt only to realize VoIPbuster offers a lower-rate to the countries I call most often. So I registered with VoIPbuster as well. The username is not interchangebly between the two services; which makes sense because they are different company technically. But registering with the same username doesn’t work either because they are technically the resellers of the same service. So now I have 1 username with VoIPstunt and another with VoIPbuster.

The SMS rate is lower than the one offered by Skype. It’s a flat rate 0.05 EUR. (Remember, it’s a European-owned company so everything is in EUR). But don’t bother using the service. It’s doesn’t work. Not for me at least. I’ve sent numerous inquiries to the company and I am still waiting for a reply. The worst part is when I sent an sms, it always says ‘Your message has been sent’. Duuhhhh.

For my money, I will go with VoIPbuster for obvious reason; cheaper.

3. Yahoo Voice

I used Yahoo Messenger Voice back in 2006 and I can sum it with one word … HORRIBLE. The interface was crap. Its tight integration to Yahoo Messenger is actually a minus point for me. Who uses Yahoo Contact? I don’t. I have to type the phone number in the window to make a call. It’s a major pain in the ass. I’ve heard the quality has improved since I last used it but I will reserve my judgment until I try it again.

4. Globe7

Globe7 gives you a call-in number; similar to SkypeIn for free. That means someone calls your Globe7-assigned US-based number and that call will be routed to your Globe7 interface. It’s a perfect feature if you travel internationally. I am not sure whether you will get charged roaming for that though. Either way it’s going to be much cheaper than your mobile roaming.

I received a 617 area code call-in number which is a Boston area number. The interface is pretty slick-looking. It has a tv tab on the main window that let you watch free videos. Unfortunately, the international calling rate is a little higher than VoIPbuster so for the time being, I will just take advantage of their free service. The SMS rate plan is pretty good so I might give it a try after all. I will report back when that happens.

5. Jajah

Jajah is technically a VoIP because the call is made using the VoIP technology, but in reality it’s kinda not because you don’t need an access to the internet during the call. In the background, the call itself is probably routed through some internet traffics. During the call both the caller and the receiver are either using the mobile phone or the landline.

The call has to be initiated from the internet. On Jajah website, you enter the phone number (mobile or landline) of the calling party and then you enter the phone number (mobile or landline) of the receiving party. Jajah will then call the number of the caller, and once connected, it will dial the number of the receiver.

It is a perfect way to play a prank on two of your friends, especially if they are not on good terms. (Do it at your own risk though). If you are registered and your friend is registered, you are allowed to speak with each other for free (select countries only).

If you are using your mobile, it only makes sense if the person you are calling resides in a different country, otherwise why bother using this service when you can just call them directly with your mobile.

For domestic call, this will make sense only if both parties are using landline. This way the caller doesn’t need to pay for long distance.

For the regular rate, this service costs more than VoIPbuster. But Jajah does provide you the convenience in case you do not have an internet access. You can call someone that have an access to the internet, and have them placed the call for you. Remember, if you use your mobile, the call made with Jajah will still count towards your minutes allocation.

6. 12VOIP

The rate is even cheaper than VoIPbuster. And the funny part is I found 12VoIP on VoIPbuster Interface window. They ran an ad on VoIPbuster interface and that’s how I knew about it. Who in the world let a competitor runs ad on their home turf? Well, I still have credits on my VoIPbuster account so I will wait until I spend it all before I give 12VoIP a try.

This by no means the end of the list but until I try the service, I am not going to put it in here. If you have any recommendations besides the one I already mentioned, feel free to leave a comment and I will check it out.

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