A while back, we reviewed a VoIP alternative called Jajah, which allows you to use your normal landline or cell phone to make VoIP calls for a small per-minute fee. Today, Jajah announced free global landline and mobile phone calls between registered Jajah users.
Jajah divides the globe into a couple of groups. The first comprises the United States, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. The second includes Australia and most of Europe. Calls between Jajah users within each group are free, whether you're calling to or from a landline or cell phone, as long as you initiate your call from Jajah's Web site. If you're in a country not covered by Jajah's free global calling plan or the person you're calling isn't a registered Jajah user, you'll still pay Jajah's per-minute rate, which is usually less than 3 cents. (Registration is free.)
The really interesting part of this is that Jajah isn't asking customers to sign any sort of contract. Instead, it's relying on the hope that Jajah users will stick to a "fair use" policy, which asks that callers keep their calls to a "reasonable" number of minutes, which Jajah says is about an hour per day, five days per week, or about 1,000 minutes per month. Jajah will monitor individual usage and contact users they feel are taking advantage of the system. Users who continue to abuse the system will find their free calling suspended, though they can still make paid calls.
Skype recently announced a similar plan, though it limits free calls to within the States and Canada. And unlike Skype, whose promotion lasts only until the end of the year, Jajah's new free calling plan is its new business model. Jajah hopes users will take to Jajah and purchase value-added features, such as an 800 number with a Call Me button that users can add to their Web sites. Jajah already offers a number of free tools, including plug-ins for Outlook and Mac OS X address books, an extension for Firefox, and a toolbar for Plaxo.