Free and Low cost cell phone calls – Jajah, Soonr, Jaxtr, Fring, Lypp, MaxRoam

Posted by on Dec 24, 2007 in Business, Technology

Skype is not the only game in town anymore for free or cheap local and international calls. I use Skype a lot for making international calls when I’m connected to the Internet with my MacBook Pro. When I only have my Blackberry, I use VIP’s local and toll free access numbers to make international calls. Recently I started using Jajah’s local direct dial. On Christmas day Jajah is offering FREE calls.

Here are a few options for making cheap or free calls from your cell phone:
Jajah: Jajah has been around for about a year and I’ve used it on and off. Their new Jajah Direct service works great. They link an international number to a local US number. You dial a local US number and the phone rings in the foreign country you’re calling. This way you can make cheap international calls from your mobile phone. At the moment they have local numbers for most large US cities, e.g., Chicago, New York and San Francisco. I hope they add Atlanta soon. Jajah is very easy to set up and use. You can also use Jajah Mobile Web to make calls from your mobile phone. BBCalls integrates Jajah functionality directly into your Blackberry’s phone book app.

Soonr: I posted about Soonr before. Soonr brings your Mac or PC desktop to your cellphone. With Soonr Talk you can call your Skype friends from your cellphone. If they are online the call is free, else you pay the SkypeOut rate. I haven’t used this recently, however when I used it, it worked great. It does take some time to set up. If you have a lot of Skype friends and you have a browser enabled cellphone with a data plan then your calls are free, cool! This “SoonR Talk workaround enables VoIP on your iPhone” — post from Engadget.Jaxtr seems to be another promising free calling service. After you sign up @ you send a link, e.g., to your friends. After they click on the link and enter their own phone number they are connected. They also receive a local phone number to use in the future. For example if your friend that clicked on your jaxtr link is in South Africa, they’ll receive a local South African number. Jaxtr has local numbers in 50 countries. My plan is to try this over the next few weeks and blog about my experiences. You get 100 minutes free per month.
There are all kinds of new web-based calling services popping up including: TringMe, Jangl, Fring, Foonz, Lypp (only U.S. and Canada at the moment), Mobiboo, and others. 
[Update 12/28/2007: According to TechCrunch, Foonz may not be available much longer.]

MaxRoam is another interesting service that allows you to make cheap calls while roaming internationally. David Pogue wrote about it in his New York Times Technology article.

Enjoy your cheap calls and Merry Christmas!

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