Two new Internet phone services step up to the plate

If you’re someone who loves to use the Internet to connect your voice to someone else’s ears, two more options have become available. As with so many things online, the mature business model for voice over IP (VoIP) has yet to really solidify, and we currently seem to be in a state of affairs in which, if a service doesn’t yet exist that offers what you want, you can wait five minutes and one will come along.苏州美睫美甲

With that in mind, both Jajah and Lycos Phone offer slightly different takes (and business models) on how to use those dandy little IP packets to magically scoot your voice around the world. Here’s a quick breakdown of what they have to offer:


Jajah began life last summer as an Australian-based PC-to-phone service. It was cheap, and the users that migrated to the company liked that aspect, but it never achieved much popularity. It didn’t take long for the founders of Jajah to realize that there’s only so far a company can go in a price war before competition from better-funded rivals drives it out of business. With that in mind, they decided to redesign their service to make it simple for a user with any phone to make VoIP calls with little more than a link to a web page. Because the interface is web-based, anyone with a browser can access it.

The Jajah paradigm works like this: a user with an account logs into the Jajah web site and enters the phone number he or she would like to call, along with the phone number of the phone (landline or mobile) they’d like to use. Jajah then dials the user’s phone. Once connected, Jajah dials the remote phone. When the remote phone is answered, Jajah connects the two phones using VoIP.

As an introductory offer, Jajah is currently allowing US users to call a number almost anywhere in the world for up to five minutes for free with no registration. I gave it a try, and it seemed to work well.

Lycos Phone

Lycos is perhaps best known as the search engine that isn’t Google or Yahoo or AOL or MSN. It is also not Alta Vista, Excite, or any of another dozen also-rans. Lycos had its greatest success in the pre-Google age, and would like nothing more than to find something it does well enough to attract a decent quantity of users back to the service, or lacking that, uncover a way of packaging all of its portal offerings to turn it into a convenient one-stop for ‘Net surfers.

To that end, the company has unveiled Lycos Phone. Lycos Phone works only through a computer, and requires a client application and some type of speaker/microphone combination. Currently, only a Windows version of Lycos Phone is available, but support for other operating systems is planned for the future.

True to its portal roots, the Lycos Phone application ties in streaming video, MP3s, search features, ads (which can be viewed to earn free minutes), faxes, and even video calls. The service also provides the user with a phone number which can be used to receive calls from non-VoIP phones.

Bundling aside, Lycos Phones still falls short of a service like Skype in a few areas. For one thing, Lycos keeps you tethered to the PC, whereas Skype provides the fee-based option of forwarding your call to any non-VoIP phone. Skype also provides conference call capability, and Skype already offers Mac, Linux, and Pocket PC support.

Both of these services offer somewhat different methods of saving money by bypassing the regular phone companies’ connection charges in favor of VoIP. In so doing, they join a host of competitors like Vonage, Skype, and others offering similar services. Of the two, Lycos has a bit too much bundling going on for my taste. Jajah is cleaner and simpler, but both suffer from the fact that it’s hard to surpass the ease of use of a regular phone. The cost savings is nice, but even Jajah appears to be most useful as a long-distance alternative. You might as well make local calls the regular way. As always, your mileage may vary, and if you don’t like any of your VoIP options, wait five more minutes.

Powered by WordPress. Design: Supermodne.