Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why I use about 20 different VoIP providers

At GigaOM there is an interesting survey going on under the title "Does your house VoIP?". Om Malik asks:
Regardless, time to ask the community what kind of a VoIP users are you? Cable kind, or someone who uses soft clients or do have still doing the Vonage styled ATA-based VoIP calling?
This cuestions finally made me get a general idea about all the services I use. And, god, it's a lot of them!

Actually I am using 20 VoIP accounts, out of couriosity and because of the different services they offer. But maybe I am subscribed to even more, but just forgot it. My goal is to make free calls and use arbitrage possibilities between the different VoIP services. I use the different VoIP providers on my desk phone that's connected to the Fritz!Box fon ATA and on my mobile phone, Nokia E61, that can hold several SIP accounts. Also I use Fring on the E61, because it can hold my accounts on Skype, MSN messenger, Google Talk and also one SIP account.
Here is why I use so many different services:
Voipstunt: For free or super cheap calls worldwide. This services I use most. It's installed on my desk phone and on my mobile phone, Nokia E61. So I can make free calls from Wifi hotspots.

Sipgate: Is use Sipgate as an answering machine. Incoming calls to my ATA are forwarded for free to the Sipgate mailbox if not answered in 30 seconds. For that purpose we have two Sipgate accounts at home.

Tpad: Because of their BreakIn numbers worldwide. My friends from Peru can call me so in Berlin for the cost of a local call without having a computer.

Truphone: To check it out on my mobile phone and because of their new offer that gives me landlines nearly worldwide for free in the next two months.

Several services for testing purposes and out of couriosity: GMX, Voipbuster, FWD,,,, Openwengo,, Rebtel, 4S newcom ...

Voxalot: Every time my Fritz!Box fon ATA gets too full, because it can only hold 10 VoIP accounts, I move the one I don't use to call out anymore to Voxalot. This service works like an ATA in the net: It's logged in to the VoIP services I don't use so much anymore. So I can keep them and receive calls on their SIP addresses or phone numbers. For instance if somebody calls my unused Gizmo account (I have several of them) my Voxalot account in my Fritz!Box fon ATA rings.

Gizmocall: I have set up a special web link to my address at Gizmo Project. So people can call me unlimitedly from a web page.

Ageet: That's probably the world's smallest PBX. It works as a Activex plugin in Internet Explorer and has a link from my website. If people open this page the PBX loads and they can call me from their browser. This was really cool until I discovered Gizmocall one week later.

The large quantity of the services I use is not so much a sign that I might be tech crazy. It's just an indication of how much the VoIP sector is still evolving. The industry consist of thousands of different companies that offer basically the same: Cheap phone calls over the internet. But if you look closer you see that they differ in the added services: cheap break in numbers, calls from a website, use the old PSTN number as VoIP number, administrate your other VoIP accounts,...

So probably I will have soon 30 VoIP providers. For instance I am interested in a Peruvian VoIP number that my friends in Lima can call for price of a local call. Tpad is already doing a good job with their callin number and the extension. But sometimes this does not work and a real Peruvian phone number would be much more elegant. But still the Peruvian VoIP market is underdeveloped and these numbers are too expensive to me.


  1. Has anything changed for you now that Voxalot is no longer free? (I.e. adding voip-in SIP accounts is not free anymore, but voip-out accounts still are).

    For example, perhaps you have moved some voip-in accounts to your Fritzbox and voip-out accounts to Voxalot?

  2. Until now nothing at Voxalot has changed. This must be the 2 weeks grace period. I will decide later about Voxalot.

  3. The new pricing structure will start 30.7.2007. Only 8 days to go. Better start thinking already! :-)

  4. I am always thinking and it wouldn't hurt me too much if I would loose Voxalot's unlimited inbound options. After all I can have 10 providers inbound and outbound on my Fritz!Box and there are other free possibilities from Gtalk2VoIP. PBXes, simplyConnect and Asterisk.

  5. Can you explain how Gtalk2VoIP would help?

  6. Gtalk2Voip has the new feature SIP follow me. AFAIK it can work like Voxalot: log in to different VoIP providers and forward their incoming calls to a phone number or SIP address.

    Vinay has more:

  7. Marcus can you do 7-digit outbound dialing using Voicestunt, or any other free outbound provider?


  8. That's normally not possible because the VoIP provider doesn't know where you are. So you always have to dial the area code. But it's easy to set up your ATA to always add your own local area code when dialing only seven digits.

  9. You may check out NuFone. They have positioned themselves as an Asterisk friendly VoIP Provider, but you can certainly register a SIP phone with them directly.

    Not sure if their rates are all that spectacular, but their quality has been the reason I stay subscribed.

  10. You might want to check out Liberty International's Global Freedom phone. It comes with all the calling features, $24.95/month includes all calls to US & Canada, and they have a video phone in addition to the soft phone. And if you refer three yours can be free, and you make residual income. I've not come across anything better no matter how skeptical one is.

  11. Since you already have so many SIP accounts why don't you integrate them with asterisk? I think it's the next logical step, it also solves the issue of voxalot no longer being free. I went this route over a year ago and it was the best think I ever did regarding the VOIP. You really only need some older quiet equippent (such as a laptop with a broken screen from ebay) or something similar.

  12. You are right and I already run my own Asterisk server for yet some months.

  13. If you have a good solution for DID in Lima, please drop me a note at .. I have the same problem, because I'm also using tpad for this ;-)

    regards from Germany, Andreas

  14. Hello Andreas,

    Tpad is the most stable solution, but it's a little bit annoying to always dial a number and then a extension. You can get a real free Lima phone number from Gizmo Call. Read my regarding blog post:

    Markus Göbel's Tech News Comments:
    How Gizmo Project's free local numbers save me 230 dollars annually

    Everytime you call a Peruvian friend using Gizmocall he gets a Lima phone number assigned to call you back. Only that every friend gets a different number assigned to call you back.

    I guess I was the last person who managed to assign the same Lima number to 50 different friends in Peru. That's not possible anymore since they changed their application.

    But it's free! The cheapest full fledged VoIP numbers cost 10 dollars per month.

    You can get similar numbers at Rebtel or Jajah Direct. But normally I don't use these services because they require you to have a balance. Gizmo's services are entirely free, if you use them in the described way.


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