OpenWeb offers free calls PDF Print E-mail

The service allows users to make free calls from PC-to-landline within SA and to 66 other countries.

Internet service provider (ISP) OpenWeb announced a new service yesterday that will enable users to make free calls to landlines in SA and 66 other countries, over the Internet.

Called Free Calls Beta, the service operates through a session initiation protocol application on Internet Explorer. Similar services already available in the country offer free calls from PC-to-PC or to users with the same ISP. The limit on the OpenWeb service is that calls may not be made to cellphones.

The Free Calls Beta offering is available to all OpenWeb customers with active accounts. Users can request free call accounts online and access the service within eight hours.

In an e-mail to clients, OpenWeb warned that the service is currently only promotional. “Please note: this is a beta service. It may be changed or discontinued at any time. If the service is a success, we will create a more permanent facility for our clients in the future.”

WWW Strategy MD Steven Ambrose says: “Free is always an excellent promotion and this new service comes across as that. Free calls to phones worldwide sounds like a good deal, the only concerns will be call quality and restrictions, such as calls to mobile phones.”

Ambrose predicts that as the ISP industry becomes more commoditised, the offering of additional services such as this will become commonplace. Other ISPs have also recently launched value added services – such as MWeb`s DStv-on-demand, WebAfrica`s game-downloading specials and FNB Connect`s cheap call rates.

“In my opinion, the uptake will be limited as people tend to not use soft-phones to call landlines, but use big branded services such as Skype, when calling friends, family and even businesses overseas, even if they have to pay a nominal fee for this,” says Ambrose.

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