About Free VoIP Phone Service Calls

The first VoIP pioneers held credit for introducing free VoIP phone service calls. Even today placing a computer to computer call remains free but calling to a fixed or mobile telephones will cost you some money. 

Update - thanks to competitions and developers such as WhatsApp and Viber - nowadays we are able to make free phone to phone calls  

Although some companies provide free VoIP phone service, it does not mean they get it for free nor do they lose a lot by offering the service. I'm going to explain with am example below why and how they do it. First it's vital to mention the methods and how it works and where the Internet phone call starts. 

The methods

You know, all VoIP call is originated somewhere, in other words, using a PC, Laptop, smartphone or a tablet which I can summarize as follows:

  • a personal computer or laptop that's equipped with a VoIP soft-phone dialer and a headset
  • a VoIP device - such as Analog Telephone Adapter, VoIP gateway, IP phone and other types
  • PSTN line - in the case of pre-paid calling card and call back 
  • cellular or mobile phone - known as mobile VoIP, an app you install on your smart-phone and tablet to enable you make a call and text

The process 

Alright, we said the call is originated using one of the above method then what happen? The following process takes place:

  • the call travels via the Internet to your provider's switch / server 
  • your VoIP provider receives the call and bypasses it to a terminator i.e another VoIP provider or LEC (Local Exchange Carrier) 
  • at the destination, the termination provider receives the call via the Internet and delivers it to your desired destination telephone number

Let's use Skype as an originator example and AT&T as a terminator. When Skype users make a call to fixed and mobile phone numbers, it sends the traffic to AT&T. Then AT&T connects the call to the desired numbers. 

How VoIP Termination Works - In Diagram

The charge

Always the termination company charges an origination provider. The originator pays because it uses local exchange carrier's physical telephone lines (PSTN). Hence, it becomes not completely FREE.

The reason and how free VoIP phone service call is offered

So we ask, why would any company offer free calls or minutes while it pays for it? That is what I'm going to talk about with the following story... 

Dialpad Communications Inc. was one of the first VoIP provider that started offering free computer to phone calls in 1999. Dialpad came up with an an intelligent way of doing business...

1. it allowed users download a soft-phone dialer from Dialpad's website

2. users called any number in Canada and USA for FREE

Dailpad's soft-phone application looked like this...

Dialpad VoIP Soft-Phone

Now, see the words at the top of the dialer "20% BONUS - on your first deposit". That is an advertisement. Dialpad placed commercial banners like that. When users click on those banners, Dialpad and its partners made some money.

Latest update 

As of January 30, 2013, Yahoo will no longer offer its Yahoo Voice (Phone In & Phone Out). Here's Yahoo's announcement

The end story? On June 13, 2005 Yahoo acquired Dialpad and the service was later replaced by Yahoo Voice. 

That's it briefly about how they did it. Interesting, isn't it?

Let me mention other companies who did same stuff and used to giveaway freebies. However, the following firms or service no long exist (acquired, merged or just disappeared):

Go2Call Logo
HotTelephone.Com Logo
Media-Ring Logo
FreeWebCall.Com Logo
iConnectHere Logo Powered by deltathree
PC2Call.Com Logo

Today's leading free VoIP phone service providers

  • Google Voice a great service by Google Inc. I don't know yet to how Google monetizes its free call service
Google Voice Logo

  • FreePhoneLine by Fibernetics Corporation a Canadian LEC - another great service similar to Dialpad with many features 

  • MagicJack by YMAX Communications Corporation - not 100% free though as there is an initial and annual free

For more list of companies continue reading on free VoIP calls.

So, now you have an idea that service providers get their money back in one way or another. Feel free to share your comment below with us! 

Free VoIP Phone Service Tips

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