Most of the major VoIP service providers charge at least a little bit, but there are a few providers available on that offer free VoIP service for those who are interested. The obvious benefit offered by these providers has already been stated: they are free! Free! Free! The drawbacks are equally strong, however, and you should take them into consideration before opting to go for the choice that is easiest on your checkbook. Here are some free providers and why you should opt for them – or not.
Iconnecthere offers are a variety of plans, many of which require payment. However, it also offers certain free VoIP services. Indeed, when you first sign up with the company you receive a certain number of free calls within the US borders. This free period is good for about an hour of total talk time. This works kind of as a trial because if you find you appreciate the service quality you can purchase a plan and receive a free phone adapter.
Net2Phone offers VoIP plans all over the globe. The company allows short calls for free; they cannot exceed 5 minutes in length, however, unless you opt for a paid plan. Likewise, you are limited in that you can only call phones from your PC – they do not help you set up an adapter when you are using their service for free.
The downside of Paltalk is that you are basically limited to your computer. You can only call from your computer; whoever you are talking to can only answer through theirs. If you do not have the necessary hardware then – particularly a microphone and speakers – then you will not be able to use this free VoIP service. However, it does allow a video chat function and can be downloaded as an application on a Google or iPhone device.
This popular instant messaging program is convenient because you can call people that are on your email and messaging lists. Also, if you already using Yahoo! Messenger then you do not need to install new programs; simply place a call through your messenger program. The downside is that the “free” part of the free VoIP service from Yahoo is limited to a two-minute trial.
Free VoIP service with Google Voice is limited to PC to PC calling, but if you can live with that restriction, it works pretty well. The company has been gradually improving its service capabilities (which also include a video camera function, so that you can see the person you’re talking to) and, calls can be made internationally. This is fast becoming one of the most popular “casual” VoIP services, used by individuals who don’t want to install a whole VoIP program but do enjoy the ability to talk to people for free, over the internet.
There are a large number of free VoIP service providers around, assuming that you are willing to sacrifice a few things – such as, in some cases, PC to phone calling – or accept a few location limitations. They aren’t perfect, of course, but they are free. For many people, that will be enough.