I promise this is just not some catchy title. I am about to tell you how to get your home phone service Completely Free! As a matter of fact I am using it right now. I have a local number (DID) that people can call me on, and I can talk as much as I want. My long distance is completely free and people can also call me long distance completely free. So, do I have your attention yet?
All right let me give you a little background. I have been using internet phone service for about 4 years now and I love it. My provider is Voicepulse, and I highly recommend them. The first Voip box that we received from Voicepulse came with the second line unlocked, which meant that I was able to set the second line up with some free Voip services and play around with them. I learned alot and found some very interesting Voip services during that time. One of the services that I used was Free World Dialup, which is the first service we will be using to piece this Free Home Phone Service together. Free World Dialup is not the only service that could be used to do this, but it’s what I am using and it works fine for me.
I know I mentioned having a Voip box, but don’t let that discourage you. You won’t have to buy one if you don’t want to. I like them because you can plug your regular home phone into them. If you don’t want to buy a Voip Box you can simply download the Pulver Communicator or X-10 lite. They are just software downloads and they basically turn your computer into a Voip Box. However, if you go the software route you will need a PC microphone and headset, but that’s really no big deal.
The second service that we will be using is IPkall.com. IPkall will give you a free phone number, but better than that they will forward all your calls over the internet to your Free World Dialup phone. The bad news is that IPkall gives you a phone number that’s based out of Washington state. Not to worry though because the next service I am about to share with you will give you a Free Local Phone Number that you can simply forward to the Washington state number that IPkall gave you.
I can’t remember when or where I heard about Grandcentral.com, but I was signed up with them before Google bought them out. Grandcentral is an amazing service. They give you a local number and allow you to forward that number to a bunch of different phones. There are a bunch of other things that Grandcentral does, but I won’t go into them now. You just need to know that they give you a local number that you can forward to any other number(s).
So let’s recap real quick. First, we have Grandcentral providing us with a local number which is forwarded to our IPKall number. Next, IPkall is connecting the POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) to Free World Dialup. Finally, Free World Dialup ties up the loose ends and brings everything into our home telephone.
Now that was just our inbound calls. I am sure alot of people would be content to just have completely free inbound home phone service, but I want to show you how to leverage Grandcentral so you can also make outgoing calls with this service as well.
GrandCentral has an address book. Within the address book you can add people along with their contact information (phone numbers, addresses, etc..). After you add a phone number you can go back to the address book and you will notice a call button next to each of your contacts phone numbers.
To make an outgoing call you simply click on the phone number you want to call and your phone will ring. When you answer your call will immediately be placed. Can you say sweet? It may not be as convenient as punching the numbers into the phone, but it’s pretty cool to be free.
Update: With Google officially changing this service to Google Voice it’s now even easier to make outgoing calls. Simply install this Firefox plugin for Google Voice and create a simple webpage with all your phone numbers in it. (You could even have this page open in the sidebar and make it a have a cool phonebook feel to it.) The plugin finds any phone number and makes it a click to call link, so just keep that list updated and you can open it anytime you need to make a call. You can also right click at the bottom of your browser and enter any number that you would like to call, so you would not just be limited to your phone book entries.
Update #2: Even easier than what I described above someone has already created a Google Gadget for Google Voice, so all you have to do is embed that in a webpage and bookmark that page. This file can either be uploaded to your webserver on the Internet or saved on your home computer. Have no clue what I am talking about? No worries. I have already created the file for you. Just right click the file and save it to your desktop then bookmark it.
Google Gadget for Google Voice
Or, you can click here. Go to the bottom right corner of the page and click on Embed This Gadget, customize it and create your own page to embed it in.
Oh, and I promised you that people that are not local would be able to call you without paying for long distance. To do this you will need to login to GrandCentral and create a Web Call Button. You can place that on any webpage and people can simply enter in their phone number and call you on Grandcentral’s dime.
Free World Dialup and IPkall are by no means the only services that can be used to accomplish this. Even Grandcentral could be substituted for another service, but if you can get an invite (READ BELOW) to Grandcentral they are the best service to use to get a free local phone number. GrandCentral does interface with the Gizmo Project allowing you to forward calls to their SIP/VOIP service, which is Asterisk compatible.
I am going to give away ONE free invite to Grandcentral. To get the invite you will need to setup the Free Phone Service that I mentioned and do a detailed write up about it on your blog or website (because I am too lazy to do it). You can use Free World Dialup and IPkall or any other combination of service, or services, as long as they are free. Send me an email including a link to your blog post and your ipkall number (or your DID if you used another service). The first person that I can verify will get the invite to Grandcentral.
Grandcentral (which is now Google Voice) is only open to preexisting users. It will be open to all users at a later date.