Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
MyNetFone Soft Fone
- Easy to use, good quality, inexpensive
- Computer needs to be on to work with software version, though hardware adaptors are available.
MyNetFone couples ease of use with smart accounting and good line quality and is ideal for both homes and small businesses looking to save money on calls by employing Voice Over IP (VoIP).
Price$ 10.00 (AUD)
For years Voice Over IP (VoIP) has been hyped and heralded as the next big driver for broadband adoption, but solutions have been either difficult to implement or unreliable. The ability to make inexpensive telephone calls from your PC isn't new, but MyNetFone has simplified the process tremendously.
Users can register a username and password at the MyNetFone site (www.mynetfone.com.au) and buy a SoftFone (software phone) for $10. Customers can then buy pre-paid credit and use either a headset plugged directly into a soundcard or a dedicated USB handset to make VoIP calls. The SoftFone is available on CDROM, but just about every customer using the service will have a broadband connection and will rely on the downloaded version. The company claims in its marketing brochures that, "dial-up users are welcome too, but quality cannot always be guaranteed". Both Windows and Mac OS X platforms are supported as standard.
There are a couple of plans on offer, starting with the base SuperSaver, which requires no upfront payments or monthly charges but attracts a higher call rate than the MegaSaver plan, which costs $9.95 per month. Both offer 10c untimed local calls, but the MegaSaver plan extends this to national calls, where SuperSaver incurs charges of 10c per minute, capped at $1.50 for 100 minutes. Both offer a fixed 29c per minute rate to mobiles, and calls to international numbers are charged at 2c per minute. One of the biggest benefits of the service is the inclusion of a DID/PSTN number, which allows regular telephone users to call you directly. You can receive incoming calls through the SoftFone just as you would a normal land-based telephone. The MegaSaver plan includes a DID/PSTN number in the $9.95 monthly fee, but SuperSaver users incur a $4.95 charge. Additional numbers can be bought for $4.95 each per month on either plan.
In addition to the SoftFone software, MyNetFone has struck deals with a number of VoIP hardware providers including Netcomm to supply telephone terminal adaptors that allow you to connect a regular handset to a broadband connection. These hardware solutions cut out the software and allow you to use a conventional handset to make VoIP calls through the service.
The reporting and logging systems for the service are comprehensive, and include detailed call logs, the ability to interface with contact lists, and a web portal that offers access to billing and statistics. The logging and portal simplifies accounting, and the company sends out monthly tax invoices via email for archiving.
In testing the SoftFone over a 1500/256kbps ADSL connection, we found the service to remain clear and reliable with no noticeable echo, lag or dropouts.
It'd be straightforward for a small business to deploy the service across its staff and cut down on the number of physical phone lines into an organisation. Likewise, home users can benefit from the service by saving considerably on both local and long distance calls. MyNetFone couples ease of use with smart accounting and good line quality and is ideal for both homes and small businesses looking to save money on calls. =
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