VoIP User is a service that provides users with a free UK phone number for inbound calls, as well as a free SIP account to make free outbound international calls. You can set up an account to forward from a UK number to an international number, receive calls on your computer at UK phone, or both. When you set up that free UK phone number for your computer, you can also use it to make free outbound international calls.
It all sounds too good to be true and you’re probably asking the same questions I asked when I first heard about the service.
How can such a service sustain itself? How can they afford to do this?
According to the About VoIP page, they are funded by the calls made to their non-geographic DID (DIrect Dial) inbound numbers. So it is in their best interest to give away as many free numbers as they can, as calls made to those numbers provide revenue.
What’s the catch?
VoIP User is non-profit, and the revenue generated by inbound calls is used to allow users to make free international calls with their SIP accounts. As more inbound calls are made, more pooled minutes are made available for users to make outbound calls.
In order to prevent abuse (leeching of minutes), they have developed an algorithm to rate accounts on a scale from -10 to +10. Those with higher ratings are given priority to use pooled minutes. Users that do not generate inbound minutes will have lower account ratings, and may not be able to make outbound calls (or the amount of time they are allowed to call may be limited).
If you don’t know anyone in the UK and do not receive any inbound calls on your account, there will be restrictions on the amount of free outbound calling you will be able to do. If you are interested in making outbound calls, you will need to download a SIP client for your computer. One of the more popular free clients is X-Lite.
To set up X-Lite for VoIP User:
- Launch X-Lite and click the menu button (looks like a down arrow).
- Click on SIP Account Settings…
- Click the Add… button.
- Enter a Display Name (it is arbitrary what you enter here) in the account properties window.
- Enter your SIP username in both the User name and Authorization user name fields, as it appears on your SIP user settings page at VoIP User.
- Enter your SIP password. If you don’t remember what your password was when you signed up for VoIP user, you can reset your SIP password.
- Enter voipuser.org for the Domain.
- Enable the checkbox to Register with domain and receive incoming calls.
- Click the proxy radio button and enter sip.voipuser.org for the proxy.
- Click OK.
- Call someone!
To make calls, you will need to use the full international code standard. For instance, to dial the number 01234 567890 in the UK you would dial 0044 1234 567890. To dial 123 456 7890 in the USA, you would dial 001 123 456 7890. Please note that there is a mandatory 72 hour waiting period before you are able to make any outbound calls.
What do you think of VoIP User? What other service(s) do you use to make free international calls? Those who are interested can also check out a bunch of free international calling services that were profiled earlier.
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