Monday, 19 January 2009

A cheaper service than SkypeOut (PC-to-Phone) - another one of HTT's comparison calculators shows what savings are possible

After having used Skype to make PC-to-PC and PC-to-phone calls for several years now, I am very impressed with the quality of the calls, as well as the savings when compared to Telkom call rates.

When I found an even cheaper service, you will believe me when I say that I was sceptical… but after looking at this other service, so far the figures look good - in fact, the rates to all "my countries" are about 20% less than SkypeOut! This cheaper service even offers free* calls to any regular land-line in various popular destinations (see list below). But, even if your FreeDays run out and you are billed at the normal rates, these "normal rates" are less than SkypeOut's rates!

Now that I've done the numbers comparison, I will need to monitor the voice quality…

So, what is this new service?
It's called FreeCall
Go here to find out more:

Go here to see the countries where calls to landlines are free and to read the small print on how the FreeCalls are limited:

How to use HTT's calculator to compare SkypeOut with FreeCall:

(Download from here: SkypeOut vs FreeCall Costs calculator )

Worksheet "SkypeCallCosts": lists SkypeOut's call costs in Rands per country
Worksheet "FreeCallCosts": lists FreeCall's call costs in Rands per country

Worksheet "Compare_SkypeVsFreeCall2009": compares SkypeOut and FreeCall costs

Worksheet "TelkomCostsTable2009": for information: Telkom costs

Worksheet "TelkomInternational": for information: Telkom costs for international calls

1) Using worksheet "Compare_SkypeVsFreeCall2009": Change cell B2 to the expected call duration in seconds

2) Column E will give the call cost using SkypeOut

3) Column J will give the call cost using FreeCall

4) Column K shows the saving in Rands when using FreeCall instead of SkypeOut [note: the saving will be more if calling a destination using free minutes]

Column D ("shortlist") can be used to show only your shortlist of countries: set cells in column D to 'Y' and then use the column filter to show only countries on your shortlist.

So, what's the catch?

* Free calls are limited to 60 seconds per call until you purchase some credit - this information was only evident to me in the welcome email received after registration

* Credit can be purchased in Euros (10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000) each denomination includes 90 freedays…. So, I'd go for the 10 Euro bundle each time!
* Bank transfer carries a 0.50 Euro fee

* Purchase of credit using a credit card is not possible on the FreeCall web site although some resellers ( do accept credit cards (e.g.

In investigating this article, I also discovered many more VOIP services that are also cheaper than SkypeOut. In fact they all seem to have a similar business model:

VoipBuster, VoipStunt, InternetCalls, VoipDiscount, FreeCall, VoipCheap, PoivY, SparVoip, NetAppel, SipDiscount, WebCallDirect, LowRateVoip, JustVoip, 12Voip Free, Nonoh, SmsDiscount, VoipWise, SmsListo, BudgetSip, VoipHit, DialNow, CallEasy, InterVoip even offers free calls to South Africa!

FreeCall Free minutes - limited to 90 minutes

Max 300 minutes per week of free calls, measured over the last 7 days and per unique IP address. Unused free minutes cannot be taken to the following week(s). If limit is exceeded the normal rates apply. With your FREE DAYS you can call for free to all the destinations listed as free! when you have no FREE DAYS left the normal rates apply. You can get extra Freedays by buying credit

Free* calls with FreeCall

Not only can you call your online friends for free, FreeCall also offers free* calls to any regular land-line in various popular destinations

To counter misuse of our network we have limited these free* calls for our trial users. If you want to enjoy longer free* calls to these destinations, just top up your account by buying credit.

FreeCall Freedays

Buying credit entitles you to 90 Freedays. This means you can call all countries marked as "Free" in the rates list for a period of 90 days at no costs. When the 90 days are over, the normal rate will be charged for these destinations. You can get more Freedays by topping up your account with credit.

See here for more details on Free Destinations:

Getting started with FreeCall:

Download the FreeCall software from here:

Install the FreeCall program and the login screen will guide you through the registration process (select "I am a new user")


Using SkypeOut means that I can call a “normal” phone over the Internet by using my PC (and mic and speakers). The phone rings in the normal way and is answered as "usual". I pay the SkypeOut rate which is 2 Euro cents per minute! (about 20 SA cents).

The registration process is simple and fast: you can purchase 10 or 25 Euros on a credit card. You credits then get activated within 15 minutes, then you dial the number on the Skype screen and then the phone rings on the other end of the world - wonderful!!!


SkypeOut and FreeCall calls to mobile phones are more expensive (but usually cheaper than Telkom rates)

SkypeOut connection fee:

All SkypeOut calls are subject to a connection fee. Connection fees only apply to calls made using Skype Credit. The connection fee is based on your currency, which you can change under your Account, and not on the country you are phoning to or from.

Calls made as part of the US & Canada Skype Unlimited Calling plans are exempt from connection fees.

To use SkypeOut you need to buy Skype Credit.

Some connection fee rates:

Excl. VAT Incl. VAT
Australian Dollar (AUD) 0.059 0.068
Canadian Dollar (CAD) 0.059 0.068
Euro (EUR) 0.039 0.045
British Pound (GBP) 0.029 0.033
US Dollar (USD) 0.039 0.045

Note: SkypeOut nor FreeCall does not and does not intend to support or carry emergency calls.


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