Call International Numbers for Free With Talkster

Monday, July 27, 2009 at 9:31 AM
A couple of years ago, there was a rash of US numbers that you could call for the standard domestic rate and they would forward you via P2P to an international number for no extra charge. It was a cheap and easy way to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe without being tethered to a Skype-enabled computer. I never properly investigated the business model for these services but I think it had to do with tax loopholes in Iowa or something. Sadly, someone pulled the plug on this kind of workaround and, once again, one had to pay exorbitant rates to call internationally.

Today, there is a new service called Talkster that restores your ability to talk to people around the world for free.

The service works by giving you and your international friends local numbers to call when you want to speak to each other. Here's how it works. When I call my friend Ricky in China, I call my local US number for him, he picks up and I tell him to call me back on his local Chinese number for me. I stay on the line and, after a short ad, we are connected and can talk for as long as we want!

You can set your numbers up for the first time on your computer, the phone, or via text message. I'll admit that it sounds complicated at first but it's actually quite easy once you try it.

The service isn't perfect. When I tested it out, the call quality was average and there was a slight delay in the audio. Still, the idea of providing this kind of service on the revenue from short, location-specific advertisements is truly innovative and I'm curious to see if it'll last this time.

At press time, Talkster is available for numbers in 38 countries.

Have you tried Talkster or any other similar service? Tell us about it in the comments below.


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