Tag Archives: cheap phone call providers

Phone call alternatives: FriendCaller review [very bad]. 1899.com review [Good, again]. Skype review. Google Voice UK review [good]. JahJah review…

A review of alternatives to BT and its charges.

 If you’re not on a special plan with BT [or other providers such as TalkTalk, which is heavily tainted by its appalling record on customer service and service provision] and want to reduce your phone call costs from a landline, read on.

FriendCaller [the pay for calls part of the service] – don’t touch this voip offering. For this reviewer it has only worked ‘properly’ once.  99% of the time is has crashed the call very soon after starting it. My account still has most of my upfront money in it. I’d like it back, Mr FriendCaller.  So far, a disaster. And on Facebook, it appears to be controlled by a games company; is that trying [and easily succeeding?] to get users’ personal and other details?  Thumbs totally down, for a host of reasons. Even with a new, expensive  router, optimised for voip calls – it doesn’t work for me. Oh and on Facebook my queries and comments were removed from the FriendCaller wall. I wonder why…

1899.com  Update of  August 16th 2011 – the service improved in July and has stayed good.  If the quality of service remains good,  it will have earned real brownie points. I’ll give it  10/10 or 9/10

1899 is a standard phone service [i.e. doesn’t use any voip at all]. It bulk-buys time/space from the likes of BT/international carriers. By dialling 1899 before you call a landline number, the call is low cost – for calls in the UK, just 5p connection then free.

Skype. You could try Skype Out, but in June 2011 the system was crashing and, anyway, if you are on a wonky or busy connection, it doesn’t always work.  Thumbs more than half down, at present, which is a shame. But there you go!  Bye bye, Skype. PS, oddly…its pay as you go service was good. When I went on to the el cheapo monthly sub – bang! Poor.

Google Voice [GV].  A fantastic voip offering – fully faultless, when it worked in the UK. Now [June 2011]  it doesn’t. Update: as of August 2011, Google Voice has officially been launched in the UK and the voice quality is as crisp and clear as ever.  10/10.  

JaJah. Good [has the potential to be excellent], but charges even if the call isn’t answered. Tut tut.  AND  – calling a mobile number is very expensive – much more than BT.  JaJah is a hybrid; you initiate your call from a computer but then use your phone for the call. What JaJah is doing is using voip for part of the call, but delivering the last leg of it not via broadband or dial up.  i.e. the last leg is not affected by how wonky or hyper busy your broadband connection is.

Meanwhile…a word about TalkTalk. You pay £11 or £12 a month for “free” calls but still end up with bills up to double that or more.  And, when things go wrong, they really do.  Among some customers, the company has an appalling record in service provision and customer service.  So, it’s thumbs well down. One day the firm might get its act together, but on historical performance, it won’t.

Sipgate – I’d like to try it and may do so, but it’s another voip service and do I really want to give another £10, dollars or euros [and my credit card details] to another voip service? On hold. Might. Might not.

Conclusion: If you’re stuck, there’s always BT. But now that Google Voice [GV] is back in the UK – hurrah…but 1899 will often be cheaper – that depends on how many minutes you call a landline for.  But GV is cheaper for calling mobiles – just 7p a minute.   Skype needs a re-think or has it had one by  now.  FriendCaller is 99% poor and owes me money.  TalkTalk – don’t trust it.