CallPacket VoIP Promotion
If you're trying to configure your Linksys PAP2 adapter with CallPacket, click here
Note: The following information relates specifically to a promotion that CallPacket are currently offering (as of October 2005). I'm not sure how long these offers will be available however I encourage you to visit their web site to find out for yourself.
Ok, here's something that we definitely don't see everyday. A company offering the following services absolutely free of charge:
Free Direct Dial telephone number with a wide selection of available West Coast
US area codes
Free VoIP softphone*
SIP (Session Internet Protocol) Compatibility
Free, Unlimited 'In-Network' Calling
100 FREE United States Long Distance Minutes/month
Now I thought that Stanaphone's free offerings were pretty cool however they pale in comparison to what CallPacket have put on the table. All of the above are yours without parting with a c/card number or any other identifiable piece of information (financial or otherwise).
Free US Direct Dial (Land line) Telephone Number
If you happen to live in the Western USA, there's a chance that CallPacket may have a free land line number that is compatible with your local area code exchange. In other words, people may be able to call you directly from a normal telephone for the price of a local call! The area codes and numbers on offer from CallPacket are subject to availability so check their web site to find out the current situation.
Note: If you do sign up for their service, you may encounter an error stating that the area code that you're requesting is not available. Try disregarding this message and continuing the sign-up process. The area code that I selected initially came back as 'unavailable' however once I continued and selected a local exchange prefix (i.e., the first 3 digits after the area code) the problem disappeared and I was permitted to proceed.
*Free VoIP Softphone
Ok, I did have some trouble with the CallPacket softphone. I suspect that the problem(s) may be specific to my system so I encourage you to try it out for yourself. After I downloaded and installed the softphone, it wouldn't open. The icon did show up in the task bar as well as shortcuts on the desktop and quick launch bar. However, the program itself would not open and allow me to make calls. Furthermore, when 'ctrl-alt-delete' was pressed in Windows XP, the CallPacket softphone wouldn't show up in my 'applications' tab however it would display in the 'processes' tab. Trying to open another instance of the softphone would merely create multiple entries of the CallPacket Softphone' in my processes tab with no functionality. Again, I suspect that these problems may be specific to my system so I plan on doing some more troubleshooting to see whether I can iron out the bumps.
On a brighter note, CallPacket do claim to support third party SIP compatible softphones such as Counterpath's X-Lite. I haven't tested the service with X-Lite however if you are having problems with CallPacket's proprietary softphone this may be an option for you.
SIP VoIP Compatibility
Why pay upwards of $20 bucks a month to Vonage or Packet8 when you can get comparable features and quality for free with CallPacket? If you have an SIP compatible device (e.g., an SIP telephone or Analog Telephone Adapter), the chances are good that you'll be able to configure your device with CallPacket and make/receive calls as you would any other telephone.
CallPacket openly advertise that they support SIP and have a device configuration page specifically for this purpose. I have a Linksys PAP2 which I set up to work with CallPacket in matter or seconds. Using their configuration guide was painless and fast. Hint: They ask for your device's MAC address however this isn't necessary to part with in order to make it work.
I haven't needed to use this aspect of the service yet however I have looked at the options available within the CallPacket member login. It does appear to be functional and you can access your voicemail by dialing your own number and/or *86. I tried dialling *86 from my phone however all I received was a short delay followed by a second dial tone. Not sure what to make of that however it may have something to do with my Linksys PAP2 dial plan.
Free, Unlimited 'In-Network' Calling
Like most VoIP providers these days, CallPacket offer free, unlimited calling to other CallPacket users/subscribers. This means that if you have relatives and/or friends overseas to whom you talk regularly, provided they also get a CallPacket account, you'll never have to pay for your phone calls to those people again.
Free 100 min/month Service Works with Some Canadian Telephone Numbers!
Some Canadian Numbers work! I tried calling numbers in the following provinces; British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Of those provinces, normal telephones were reachable in all but Nova Scotia. Although CallPacket advertise that the 100 free minutes are applicable only in the US, some Canadian numbers do appear to resolve just fine. In other words, it appears that the vast majority of Canadian telephone numbers are reachable under the free plan in addition to normal land line numbers in the USA!
So there you have it. CallPacket are currently advertising these deals under a time-limited promotion so the goal posts may have moved by the time you read this. However, I suspect that their 'normal' rates and services are going to be very competitive regardless of how long the current promotion lasts.
It's true that some startup VoIP providers promote incredible deals in order to lure customers and then change the terms/conditions shortly after a decent subscriber base has been established. Let's hope they keep ahead of their competitors as the deals that they currently have on offer are unbelievable.