Unlimited mobile calls with PhoneGnome and magicJack

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Here's a nifty way to make (almost) free unlimited calls with your mobile phone using two inexpensive pieces of hardware and your MyFaves (or similar calling circle) service.

There have been mixed reviews of magicJack but a lot of people love their prices - the service provides unlimited domestic calls for $20 a year (that's right, per year) and you can get the first year of service and the USB hardware dongle for $50 (possibly less with a discount code).

This gives you free domestic calls for $20 at home, but how does this help my mobile phone? Well that's where a second VoIP gadget and service, PhoneGnome, comes in. This box is $99 and includes lifetime service.

Normally, one connects an ordinary home phone directly to the magicJack hardware. In this case, instead we will connect the phone through the PhoneGnome box, as shown below:

With this setup, you can use the phone normally for magicJack calls when at home - nothing changes about that - free long distance at home.

But now, here's the mobile trick. PhoneGnome comes with a free cell phone interface for the service called PhoneGnome Mobile Web. It's got a really slick interface on the iPhone but it also works on ordinary mobile phones (you need elemental web browsing, WAP works too).

So how does this give us free calls? We're getting there. You can use the PhoneGnome Moile Web application to place calls using your PhoneGnome account. When you do this, what really happens is PhoneGnome dials a "special" phone number that connects through the PhoneGnome service to the final destination (this is why you can call SIP addresses and IM users etc.) To get that number, make one of these calls (such as to **3 to check your number or some other free ** code) and write down the number that the PhoneGnome app calls - it should appear on your phone when the call is made (and will probably also be in the outgoing calls history on your cell phone). Add this number to your MyFaves plan. Now you can make unlimited US calls for $20 per year. And there's no "two stage" dialing. You just enter the number you want to call on your cell phone in the PhoneGnome Mobile Web application and click the 'Call' button. That's faster and eaiser than some of the other schemes for this kind of thing I've seen (like the allcallsfree/yak4ever hack, before they went out of business).

Now when you make that call from your mobile phone, the PhoneGnome Mobile Web app will dial the "special" number, which is now free because it's in your MyFaves. That call goes to PhoneGnome, which connects through your PhoneGnome box to magicJack and viola - free unlimited domestic minutes on your cell phone.