Free Phone Calls with Google Voice
EDIT: With SIP Gate now defunct, I have moved over to a OBiTalk unit for free phone calls with Google Voice. It works perfectly. I have not tried it overseas. I will leave this page online, for a while...
I want to make free calls to any U.S. number from anywhere... on a real phone.
This is now possible. Google Voice has gone public, allowing anyone to sign up and enjoy the GV service. The only down side is GV does not offer any good way to connect the number they give you to a real phone. You can make your GV number forward to your cell phone, but then you are paying for the minutes. What is the point?
In comes SIPGate. SIPGate offers Session Initiation Protocol services. What?!? Think Voice Over IP (VOIP). SIP allows IP based phones to connect to real phone numbers. Like Skype or Vonage. Your phone call goes off to the magic place of the internet. SIPGate offers pretty good deals. Free incoming calls and 1.8¢ per minute outgoing. But I said FREE, not cheap!
OK. Sign up for a Google Voice account. Sign up for a SIPGate account. It is free to do both.
Configure the SIPGate account, following their help and instructions. You can link your SIPGate number to a softphone (Twinkle for Linux, or SIPhon on your iPod/Phone, and too many to count for Windows) or to a WIFI VOIP Handset from DLink or others. Today there are softphones for nearly any OS or smartphone platform. A few companies even offer PBX style systems for the home. SIPGate offers a great test call function too. Great job there!
Set you Google Voice number to forward to the SIPGate number. Now remember w e said SIPGate was free incoming? From your Google Voice page call who ever you want. Google will call you first on the SIPGate number, then connect you to whom ever you were trying to call.
Now this is not the perfect solution. You have to use a phone (softphone or physical) and the Google Voice page to make a call. But a incoming call is answered just like a regular phone. And you can configure multiple phones to ring at once. Both GV and SIPGate offer web-based voice mail. Is this going to replace your cell? No. But for a FREE landline, it is pretty good. Traveling over seas? Take your WIFI enabled device with a softphone or your WIFI VIOP phone and your phone number comes with you. No outrageous international fees. (If you use a smartphone and use 3g you will pay for data) Military deploying or stationed over seas, this is a fantastic solution. This will replace your Skype or Vonage account! Friends and family in the states can call a U.S. number, even a local number, and talk to you for free.