"A meek endeavor to the triumph" by Sampath Jayarathna

Monday, March 18, 2013

Make free calls over wifi at US/Canada (without spending your plan mintues)

* Google Voice is ending support for Talkatone. Please read my new post about alternative free WiFi calling apps

I recently went out-of-contract from the AT&T 2 year commitment, so had to decide using Pay As You Go plan. I changed my number to AT&T $25 monthly plan which is only 250 minutes every month during your rate plan period. I find myself almost in 150 minutes after the first 7 days in the plan, so I guess things getting out-of-control with the plan. I seriously need some recovery method, otherwise I'm going to be out of all my plan minutes next couple of days before the 1 month pay go period.

Before I brought the monthly no contract plan, I thought I can use Google Voice using my smartphone (iPhone 3GS), but later I realized Google Voice is not a true VOIP (voice over IP) but a forwarding service where you end up using your plan minutes. So I was looking for a true VOIP service so that I can use my WIFI service to make calls. I'm pretty much at home or at school where I have a solid WIFI networks, so if there is a true free VOIP service, then I should be able to use my iPhone to make free calls over the WIFI network without using any plan minutes so that I can save the minutes to use when I'm not in a WIFI network (while on travel etc. )

I found "Talkatone" fits my requirements, which is a true VOIP service with free calls over WIFI networks for any mobile/landline phone in US/Canada. Here's how I configured the service to make free calls using my free WIFI networks without waisting my plan minutes.

Talkatone turns your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android into a true Internet phone. It uses any data connection, WiFi or 3G/4G. You’ll be able to have high-quality phone calls even when cell phone reception is spotty and won’t use up any of your minutes. Download Talkatone if you haven't yet and I'll show you the full power of your iOS or Android device.

1. Google Voice Account, if you don't have one, then create one. Google voice will give you a free phone number to choose from your area. This going to be your talkatone phone number, so choose wisely.
2. Talkatone app at your iOS/Android device.

Make calls over 3G or WiFi connection
Talkatone supports 3 types of calls:
- Facebook-based Talkatone-to-Talkatone calls,
- GTalk-based Talkatone-to-Talkatone or Talkatone-to-Mac/PC calls,
- Google Voice-based calls, i.e. calls to regular telephone numbers.

I'm going to talk about Google Voice-based calls to any regular telephone number. Google Voice calls are free to US and Canada destinations, to check international rates go to Google Voice International Rates. Data charges may still apply.

1. First, visit the Google Web Voice site at voice.google.com. Login to Google Voice using your Google credentials. If you are new to Google Voice you need to setup an account and get a phone number, check Getting Started Guide if needed.

2. To setup call forwarding click on Settings menu link and select Voice Settings option:

3. Make sure the 'Forwards to Google chat' option is checked on the Voice Setting web page. The email address in option should match email address you used to Sign In w/Google account when you launched Talkatone.
Your Google Voice phone number is right above forwarding options. You'll be using this phone number to make calls and will be receiving calls to this phone number in Talkatone.
Note: If you do not want your Google Voice calls being forwarded to your phone number uncheck forwarding to your phone number.

4. Open web browser and visit the Google Mail Web site at www.gmail.com. Login to GMail using your Google credentials.
Find your contact list and click on the Call Phone action at the lower left section of the page. Make one call the phone widget in GMail to your regular phone number.
To find the Call Phone option at Gmail, you need to have the Chat option enabled. Go to Settings, Chat and enable Chat On and then save changes. Now click on the chat which is on the left bottom of your mail labels to find the Call Phone option. Opera browser is not supporting the call widget. You probably need IE or Mozilla. Make sure to install the required Google Voice plugins before you make a call. Test whether your service is working. Google talk is a true VOIP service. Talkatone is using this service to make calls free.

5. This is important, now sign out or disable the Google Chat Service. Go to Settings, Chat and Chat Off then save changes. Otherwise, you want be receiving any calls and your calls will be forwarded to Google chat instead.

6. Come back to Talkatone and tap the keypad icon. Type any phone number within the US/Canada and tap on Call button to make a free call. Call will be placed using your 3G or WiFi connection

Upon selection of a calling option call will be placed using your 3G or WiFi connection. Destination, call duration and type of network will be displayed on top.
You can mute the call, switch to keypad, turn on speaker phone, share your current location, put call on hold or access your contacts list.
Note: Talkatone is not a replacement for your regular phone and cannot be used for emergency calling.

Receive Calls using your 3G or WiFi connection
Talkatone is able to receive calls instantaneously even when the app is not active. It uses backgrounding mode introduced in iOS 4, thus Talkatone is not compatible with certain older devices.

If you want to receive calls and text messages while keeping app in background you need to have a multitasking-capable device. Currently the following devices support multitasking - iPhone 3GS/4, iPod Touch 3gen/4gen, iPad.

Note: Talkatone does not work on iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2gen.

No comments: