Non-Skype VOIP
November 3, 2004 10:12 AM   Subscribe

VoIP Filter: I'd like to use an Internet phone system to call my wife in Japan. I've heard good things about Skype, but their horrid billing system won't allow me to buy credit. Can you kind folks recommend competitors to the system? I'd like just a cheap Windows client that I can call regular mobile and home phones with.
posted by LukeyBoy to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Try Vonage. I like it. They've dropped their price twice since I joined up.
posted by adampsyche at 10:15 AM on November 3, 2004

Response by poster: Hm, Vonage seems to require a land-line for it's services... The "Softphone" is only an add-on.
posted by LukeyBoy at 10:20 AM on November 3, 2004

No, I don't have a landline. Just cable Internet.
posted by adampsyche at 10:30 AM on November 3, 2004

Response by poster: Looks interesting - the fact that it gives me a US number kinda detracts from it. Thanks though!
posted by LukeyBoy at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2004

it may be worth it to see if it's possible/practical for your wife to use a soft phone client as well, in which case you could talk for free (over iaxtel, fwd, etc.)

list of soft phones here (scroll down). firefly is pretty good, some of the other iax based ones are decent too.

offhand I do not know of any free voip gateways either into or out of japan's pstn. in fact japanese non-commercial voip/pstn interaction in general is a bit of an opaque cloud (to non-japanese, anyway) compared to what is known about most western countries.
posted by dorian at 11:05 AM on November 3, 2004

Vonage is $.05/m to Japan. It doesn't look as though the softphone changes that.
posted by lodurr at 11:25 AM on November 3, 2004

Response by poster: Um, Firefly... So I checked it out. Apparently Canadians cannot use the online credit card payments :-) No idea where that came from.
posted by LukeyBoy at 3:54 PM on November 3, 2004

Response by poster: A guy named Matt just suggested through e-mail setting up Teamspeak - which is free and has a Linux and Windows client and server... Works *perfectly*. I installed the server on my Linux machine and it does function quite well, with absolutely zero cost.
posted by LukeyBoy at 4:29 PM on November 3, 2004

i don't understand. if teamspeak works, why not use free skype? i thought your problem was that the person at the other end didn't have an internet connection. or am i misunderstanding teamspeak?
posted by andrew cooke at 4:38 PM on November 3, 2004

same here ... I was not recommending paying for virbiage (sorry for confusion), rather simply to use their free firefly client which allows free use of their network to other firefly clients. (same goes for fwd and iaxtel, there are also very good windows soft phone clients for those networks)

of course, if you are going to install your own server I will happily recommend full-blown asterisk. but if teamspeak works for you and is free, then that kicks ass too. huh, actually it looks like teamspeak has pretty decent codec support and whatever protocol it uses does not suffer the same firewall limitations as sip. good!
posted by dorian at 4:57 PM on November 3, 2004

Response by poster: Well, I would have liked to use Skype to call her mobile phone. But Skype screwed me out of ever using their service by having such a horrible, horrible billing system.

I might also look into the Firefly system, but the PC-to-PC method is more of a compromise. And again though, Firefly's billing "system" - the one that blocks any people in Canada from using a credit card - isn't exactly to my liking. Teamspeak is more of a bandaid solution until I find a decent VoIP provider that'll take my money (you'd think all of them would want money).
posted by LukeyBoy at 5:04 PM on November 3, 2004

well, for calling between voip and pstn, personally I use (and love) the business service of voicepulse; their consumer service is supposedly just as good. not sure how asinine they are about taking canadians' credit cards tho...

I still prefer the free networks whenever possible! voip is all about making free the things that should be free.
posted by dorian at 5:12 PM on November 3, 2004

ok, but my point (and i'm not arguing, just want to be sure you understand and aren't doing a lot of work when there's an easy solution that works great) was that if you are going pc-to-pc then skype is free and easy. i travelled round the usa last month and it was wonderful being able to talk to pauli in chile - no hassle, works beautifully, and even has messaging for when the connection is too bad for voice. all free with skype.
posted by andrew cooke at 5:25 PM on November 3, 2004

Response by poster: Hmmmm... Duly noted Andrew - she and I will try them both and see what works best. Thanks all :-)
posted by LukeyBoy at 5:55 PM on November 3, 2004

lukeyboy, vonage is available in Canada now.
posted by ashbury at 6:05 AM on November 4, 2004

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