It sounded good, the ability to make absulutely free PC to phone calls to 25 countries around the world with "absolutely no catches" and there weren't actually any catches. Until after registering then you find out that there free service Hottelephone had merged with their pay service and whilst you could still make free calls it was first of all neccessary to credit at least two american dollars to your account (why do they ask for money if the service is free?). Then adding insult to injury the minimum payment they can accept is $14.95. So basically the "free" phone calls they speak of come in at $14.95. an con if you ask me!
Signing up for Hottelephone.com was simple. Just a few simple questions and you are on your way. An appelet will install itself on your computer, with no additional installation from you. The process will take a few minutes the first time, depending on your connection speed, but after the first time it should be much faster. With Hottelephone.com you can call from PC to PC or PC to Phone. You can make up to 2 hours of free telphone calls each month to 25 countries including Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States. One thing I was not happy with, although only a minor detail was the fact that Hottelephone.com has now merged with Hottelelink.com which is a paid service. Although the Hottelephone service is still free, you must also be a member of Hottelelink to use their services. This registration requires a $9.95 deposit before you are able to make a call. I did appreciate the fact that I could choose to pay this deposit by either a credit card or an online check. I like this because all too often a credit card is necessary to do things online. It is refreshing to see one that doesn't require one. The call pad is pretty selfexplanatory with simple to use functions. You can choose to either make a PC to phone call, or even to type in both numbers and have them connect them to your telephone. Unfortunately when I clicked the button to install the appelet, I received an error message stating that it failed to copy the file. I tried it again and again with the same results. An hour has gone by, and I still have not managed to get this program set up on my computer. Not only am I now unable to make a telephone call, but I have now spent $10 to not be able to make a call. I signed up for Hottelephone.com after trying a couple of other services which I was not satistied with. So far, I cannot reccommend this serv
ice, but I will keep on trying. I'll update if I ever manage to get anywhere but as for now, I'm a more than a little bit discouraged with this one.
Hot Telephone allows its users to call over thirty different countries for the cost of your internet connection. One of these countries is England and I have saved about £50 using their free dialer to phone my friends. To use this great service, you must first register with the website. Then, when you have logged in, and are ready to make your first free call, you have to download a small applet which will make the connection from your computer to whoever you are trying to contact. When the small java applet has been installed, you are then able to dial numbers and make your phone call. You will have to try re-dialing a few times because of the popularity of the service and that the quality might not be like a proper phone call, but hey, its free. This is the perfect opportunity to contact old friends in other countries or just to save loads of money on your phonebill.
Hottelephone.com is another one of those cool sites that lets you place calls via your computer to any phone in the world (well, almost) - for free (or if you count your ISP call, the price of a local call). Unlike other net2phone sites, the thing about Hottelephone.com is that they have quite a large number of destinations you can call to, while other sites only offer limited destinations or ask you to pay, eek! And so, chances are you'll find a country on this list which you can call for free (saves long distance prices, doesn't it? Oh, and you can call England too)! Another thing I like is that you don't have to download any software to make a call (just a java applet) and you don't need a super computer to use it either. Any modest multimedia PC (with a soundcard and any headphone or headest) will do. I'm sure you can use a Mac aswell. Signing up is a doddle as the site only asks for basic information, and logging in is fast aswell. I love the site design as it's very professional, has quite a good help section and is just good to look at. The only thing that brings Hottelephone.com down is probably nothing to do with them, but more so their user base - there's a lot of them/us, and it's growing everyday! And so traffic on their site means that (particularly at the weekend) sometimes placing a call will be impossible or you'll get bad quality, and that can get you annoyed and make you want to hang up rather than repeat yourself over to the recipient! Fortunately though when the coast is clear enough, you can indeed get a decent quality conversation going, with only minor hitches - and don't say you can't put up with that for a free call abroad, indeed! At it's best, you can get 95% quality! Unlike other sites (like myfreeld.com who recently imposed a dumb 2 minute limit per call??!!) there's no time limit, but I've noticed that if the site thinks you're idle for some reason (hap
pens every hour or half hour or so) it'll cut you off and ask you to log back in, no major feat, but a downer if it's hard for you to connect again. Be prepared sometimes to dial a few times before being put through. All calls are paid for via advertising, and to make placing calls even easier there's even an speed dial address book facility to store and dial your numbers without much labour. Placing a call is easy (but first time users will have to wait for the applet to download) and the display is very inuitive, informative and sensible - it's just like a normal phone, but monitors your progress in dialling etc. I can hear the recipient perfectly, and they can hear me well enough at most times, and that's good for a free service. Overall a good site, it's the best of it's kind that I've found, but it needs more space to accomodate it's ever-growing users. It's not their fault, it's the amount of people logging on, but if they want to be the uber choice for phoning over the net. they really must do more about the fluctuating quality, traffic and connectivity times. Otherwise it's perfect in every sense!