VoIP providers

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Apple iChat AV 4.0
Apple iChat AV 4.0

Instant Messenger, VoIP, Web conferencing; Platform: Mac OS, Mac OS X; Freeware

One of the easiest to set up, with the option to use existing .Mac, MobileMe or AOL addresses, iChat is slightly limited in text messaging options because of the attention given to video chat. Along …

1 review

Jajah Jajah online VoIP Software
Jajah Jajah online VoIP Software

Instant Messenger

"Jajah is living proof that you can save money, provided you work at it and plan ahead."

1 review

 

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Many VoIP services still require an already existing phone line from British Telecom, but there are also so-called unbundled offers, where everything comes from a single provider. With the appropiate router, almost all phones can be used, so special VoIP phones are often pointless.


More and more telecom operators are combining their broadband Internet products with telephony services. Thus, telephone calls are often also carried via the Internet, something which is referred to as IP telephony, Internet telephony or VoIP (Voice over IP). Depending on the marketing model, there's either the technology which still requires a traditional landline from British Telecom, or completely independent systems. Basically, it is possible to implement Internet services as well as IP telephony independently of the existing phone infrastructure, including ISDN, network and all its components. VoIP telephony can be used basically in three ways: first, there are so-called soft phones, that is, PC software that can be used with a headset connected to a computer. Second, there are special VoIP phones that can be directly connected to a LAN port or to the wireless network involved. The third method, which is becoming increasingly popular, is to use ordinary analog or ISDN telephones which can be connected to a LAN port adapter, or even easier, directly to a modern router, since nowadays almost all DSL routers also support conventional phones and their use for VoIP telephony. It pays to use IP-telephony, because rates are extremely low and nearly all providers also offer telephone flat rates, making it possible for customers to not worry about monthly costs anymore, as long as they limit themselves to calling to landlines. Mobile and international calls must of course be paid separately. Apart from basic flat rates, many vendors offer supplementary tariffs, which can offer significant discounts for mobile calls or certain foreign destinations. It is also useful to think about advanced combined offers. Some providers offer fixed line telephony and mobile tariffs in addition to Internet. These offers, when they come from major carriers, are perhaps not the cheapest rates in the market, but often allow to call landlines of the same provider for free. This can be useful, for example, for large families whose members all use the same provider.