Would you pay $50 for 3 years of free international calls?
|November 2, 2008||Posted by Sujeet under Sujeetism|
Of course you would, and of course – it’s not as simple as that. Was there ever anything in the big, bad world of commercial telecom, international or otherwise, that was ever that cut and dried? Or consumer-friendly?
However, this does present some interesting possibilities.
The Fry’s ad this morning mentioned a $50 instant savings on the Panasonic “GlobaRange” 5.8 GHz Digital Dual-Mode 4 Handset Cordless Telephone Bundle, thereby indicating a final price of $49.96. The ‘Dual-Mode’ reference peaked my curiosity, and so did the the mention of “Internet VoIP calls”. I hadn’t seen it on the list of Skype-compatible phones, and it didn’t say Skype anywhere, either.
As I Googled with skepticism, I expected the “GlobaRange” moniker to be some sort of Panasonic partnership with a voIP provider, who would charge a “competitive” rate for long-distance telephony.
Turns out, I was right; but I was also wrong. There is a “free” aspect of this that can be easily put to good use. For the reasonably long period of three years from the date of setup. Interested? Read on.
The FAQs for the Panasonic GlobaRange line of consumer cordless phones had a few interesting items. In no order of importance, here are the ones that had me doing a second read:
“11. Which 12 countries will have GLOBARANGE service?
They are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Russia, Australia and Hong Kong.”
Translated, if you were planning to call India, China, Japan, the Philippines or anywhere else that’s not mentioned above…you can’t call Panasonic to complain that it wasn’t free.
Does it work for those countries, you wonder? Well, I haven’t tested it, but I did find a review on Amazon that indicated it worked fine for calls to India. So, perhaps joip / Delta Three have increased their service umbrella around the world.
Thus, if one were to believe the only review that Ravi from Texas has posted on Amazon, it does work for calling India.
“7. What happens to the free service after you use the phone for three years?
You need to subscribe to the joip service. Currently the plan will cost $1.99 per month. You can visit www.joip.com for more plan options.”
As I read it, this confirms the “free service” part, for a period of three years starting from the date of setup.
Translated, if both parties were:
- Using Panasonic Globarange phones, connected to a..
- Working broadband Internet connection, and…
- Were located in the 12 countries mentioned above, then..
All phone calls between those two parties, using that Panasonic handset, would be free for three years.
It gets better. These GlobaRange handsets / service apparently provide dial-around features as well. “Dial-around”, for the uninitiated, is the process of calling a number and then being “patched through”, if you will, into a call of interest. The FAQ reads:
“4. How do I make joip calls using my cell phone or another landline?
You can remotely call your Globarange phone from a cell phone or another landline and make a joip call:
1. Dial the phone number you were given when you subscribed at www.joip.com
2. After the greeting message starts, enter the remote code (default: 111) of the answering machine.
3. Dial [#]
4. the dial tone sounds, dial the phone number you want to call.
5. When you finish talking, hang up.”
Meaning, if one had one of these GlobaRange handsets and the appropriate service set up, then one could follow the instructions above and make a free international call from a non-GlobaRange handset as well.
They also claim to have a text-messaging feature. The FAQ reads:
“3. Can I send and receive joip text messages? How?
You can send and receive text messages from other JOIP users. In order to have this feature, you must have a Registered Service with joip. You will be able to read and save text messages through your GLOBARANGE handset, but you have to be logged in on the joip website in order to send messages.”
And finally, the GlobaRange handsets can apparently funnel two calls at once, too.
“5. Can I use 2 handsets to make different joip and landline calls at the same time?
Yes you can use the internet and the landlines at the same time for different calls. The 5.8Ghz Globarange phone supports up to 8 handsets.”
Meaning, you being on an uncharateristically long call with your pal in Australia doesn’t mean that the roommate can’t order pizza at the same time.
The FAQs also have a reference to there being no dependence on an active PSTN line. So, one could potentially hook one of these up to an available Ethernet port at work, and avail of the same free international calling facilities from there.
So, to recap – $50 for a four-handset 5.8 GHz cordless phone bundle from Panasonic that can let you make international calls to the owner of a similar handset in another country, for three years. It’s the end of 2008, and this means you’d be calling for free till the end of 2011.
That’s the fine print, and it seems reasonably good.