VoIP without the overhead

VoIP without the overhead

Felisa Yang Former CNET Editor
2 min read
Haven't gotten on the broadband bandwagon but still want to take advantage of the low cost of VoIP calls? Wary of investing money in a full VoIP service that may or may not work for you? Or maybe you just don't want to deal with downloading VoIP software or getting tangled in a USB headset? Jajah is turning the idea of VoIP calls on its ear. Simply go to Jajah.com, enter the phone number you want to call from (landline or mobile), then enter the phone number you want to call. After a moment, your phone will ring and when you pick up, you'll be asked to hold while your call is connected. After this, the call will proceed as normal. In fact, the person you're calling won't even know it's not a normal call (except that no number will show up in their caller ID screen).

What's happening here is that instead of connecting directly to the person you're calling, both sides are being called by Jajah over VoIP lines. The last segment of each call is relayed over PSTN lines, which means that voice quality won't be affected when you upload/download data during the call, as it often is over traditional VoIP services. After all, the call isn't relayed over your Internet connection.

How much does this cost? Well, it varies by region and by carrier. Rates to many countries can be as low as 2 cents a minute to landlines and around 15 cents a minute to mobile lines. A handy pull-down chart on Jajah's site lets you look up per-minute rates. Instead of operating on a prepaid basis, as SkypeOut does, Jajah will bill you regularly and provide itemized statements.

While Jajah's site and service are currently up and functional, their official U.S. release will be March 14. On that day, the site will be updated to reflect prices in U.S. dollars (prices are currently in Euros) and the customary structure of U.S. telephone numbers (for example, you won't have to enter the country code for calls within the States). Jajah offers 5 minutes of free landline-to-landline calls to test the service, so you can try it with no obligation.

We will have a full review of this Internet service after the U.S. site's full launch, so check back after March 14.