Following our announcement that we are now listing private tutors who offer their services over the Internet, we thought it would be an appropriate time to focus upon the best ways you can use Voice Over IP (VoIP) to make free calls to other users with the same technology anywhere in the world. If you're considering online tuition, you may find our review of these five prominent VoIP clients helpful ...
It seems you can buy everything at Tesco's nowadays - even a VoIP phone service! Offering free calls to other users, and cheap international and mobile calls, you can use your email and other Internet services whilst online.
A word of warning when looking for a VoIP solution for online tuition - Betamax is a German VoIP specialist that owns a host of websites, all promising users free calls. These include VoIP Cheap, VoIP Stunt and VoIP Buster. Although run by the same company, the cost of calls differs on each website. Cheap calls are certainly the order of the day, but they do have a habit of changing their tariffs fairly regularly. Having said that, all of the Betamax products are run on a 'pay as you go' basis, with no other charges, allowing you to swap between websites depending on which tariff is the least expensive.
JaJah is a VoIP website allowing you to make free calls from one landline to another. As this is a web-activated technology, you don't need to download any software to use it, and you can still use your existing phone. A fair use policy exists, but the cost of calls is heavily discounted compared with other providers.
Skype is the world's most popular Internet phone package. Skype's biggest selling point is the free calls on offer to other users of the program and the ability to share documents between users. Similar to other instant message applications, you're able to make PC-to-PC calls as often and for as long as you want. It is also a great idea to use it for long-distance calls to friends in other countries, either as a discounted package or completely free if they have an Internet connection.
One of Skype's biggest competitors, Vonage does away all together with the need to go through your computer to make calls, rather connecting you via an adaptor. It offers you unlimited 'free' calls to anywhere in the UK and Ireland, but this isn't actually the great deal it initially seems. You need to pay a line connection fee (not forgetting a disconnection fee if you leave the service within the first 12 months) and then sign up to a paid monthly package. Line quality isn't perfect, but this is a common problem with VoIP in general. Unlike other competitors such as Skype, you have to spend a bit of money before you can get started, and it doesn't offer the same file-sharing capabilities as its rival.