Free telephone calls - can it be true? The really great news is that the answer is YES. You may even have all the equipment needed already. Let us answer a few commonly asked questions:-

Q.Are there any charges involved?
A.When you hear people talking about free telephone calls they are talking about making calls with no initial or per minute charges. The calls are not made over your existing phone system but use the internet instead. As internet connections are usually bundled with a telephone package you will in most cases be stuck with your line rental. To use BT as an example you need to have a broadband enabled phone line which means you have to pay BT for line rental and either BT or your chosen ISP another charge for a broadband internet connection. The calls are only free between users of each system (e.g. calling through your Skype software to another Skype user) but most offer calls that you pay for to fixed line or mobile phones. As more and more people sign up for these services "paid for" calls will become a thing of the past.

Q. What do I need?
A. A broadband connection to the internet.
Software to enable you to make calls using this
Hardware to act as the telephone (you can use a microphone and speakers that you may already have or invest in an "internet phone")

Q. Do I need a computer?
A. Not with all systems although you usually need one to set up the hardware to start with.

This technology is called VoIP(voice over internet protocol) it is a way of having telephone like conversations over the internet. To keep things simple let us assume that you already have a computer connected to the internet via a broadband connection. You will not be able to save on your monthly costs of line rental or isp charges but you will be able to make free telephone calls to other VoIP users.

Together with software that you can download for free you need either a microphone and speakers or a voip phone. Click on the pictures or text below to go to a site where you can buy the hardware

ip phone Skype_Phone Cordless IP
VoIP phone Slimline phone Cordless VoIP and fixed line phone

The Cordless VoIP phone is probably the most versatile as you can also use it as a "conventional" fixed line phone.

There is now a rush of companies providing the software to use VoIP. Windows XP comes with software (messenger) that allows you to make voice and video calls.

Probably the best know company is Skype - part of the Ebay group.

Google has also got a version called Google Talk .

If you want to avoid leaving your computer on all the time we suggest Sipgate .

Q. What are these systems like to use?
A. To use Skype as an example all you have to do is download the free software from their site. This is very easy to set up and once done you can call an automated answering contact to test your system. The software allows you to search for other Skype users who have usernames rather than numbers. Once you have a list of contacts who you may want to call you can see when they are online and all you have to do is select their name to call them. Their VoIP phone rings and they accept the call. Using one of the VoIP phones makes it very much the same as using a conventional phone.

These VoIP providers have ensured that their software is very easy to use and as it is free to download why not give it a try. There is no doubt that it is the future of telephone calls.

For more VOIP providers, hardware and software visit the links below which will take you to a useful list of advertisers:-