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Jajah: The calling card killer

Monday, October 09, 2006

Have you ever used a calling card to get good rates to your friends and relatives in foreign countries? Then you know about the hassles of calling their toll-free number, then entering your 10 digit PIN, followed by the number of the person you're actually trying to reach. Not to mention you can only talk for as long as the card allows, and they sometimes bill you in 3-minute increments!

If you don't have a broadband connection, or you don't like using a microphone headset, then calling cards were just about the only option for making cheap calls from your normal phone line.

Enter Jajah. On their website, you simply enter your phone number and the phone number of the person you want to talk to and press Call. Your phone will ring. When you pick up, the other phone will start ringing. When it's picked up, the billing counter starts and you can talk to each other. Pretty simple. Depending on the zone you're in, your international calls are free or at low rates. It also helps if the other line is also registered with Jajah.

They also have Jajah Mobile, which is a transparent way of making Jajah calls from your cellphone, if you have a Symbian™ phone. Otherwise, there's a Java application you can use to make calls from your mobile phone which is admittedly more complicated, but still allows you to make Jajah calls without going to their website.

The question is, can this work? I mean in the long-term business sense, can they continue making money off of the infrastructure of established telecom providers? Jajah's genius move is relying on the fact that most people don't pay for incoming calls. This cost is usually picked up by the one who initiates the call. Since all Jajah's calls become local calls, with the long distance part going over IP, I'd imagine that the big telecoms wouldn't be too happy about this attempt to cut into their profits. Might they sue, or demand fees, or possibly enforce bandwidth regulations? We'll have to wait and see what happens.


6 Comments:

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also recommend people try myBlueZebra.com

It's quick, easy and great rates to lots of countries throughout the world!

 
At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Julie said...

Beware of extra charges on your Credit Card!

I just bought $5 credit using visa gift card. I saw 2 charges instead - $20 and $5 on same transaction date but posted on 2 different dates. Jajah customer service was horrible. I couldnt find a phone to call. I got 1 reply to my initial email asking for screenshots. I sent the screenshots but did not get any further replies. Credit Card company sucks even more, asked me to file a dispute and said it can take up to 45 days. What the F!? It is not just about the money but all the hassle. These companies suck. All companies with horrible customer service should be totally abandoned.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Legion™ said...

This is simply called web-initiated call back. It has been the norm in Malaysia since 2003.

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous calling cards said...

yeah.. there is huge competition for the calling cards.. as its a remote recharge sort of thing.

 
At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jajah has VERY poor customer service, and have a policy of misleading customers with false pricing.
I will explain:
1) The service called "Jajah direct", is very handy. However, to use it, you must have at least 5$ in your account, or else you cannot initiate a call using your cellphone or landline. That effectively means you are paying a "registration fee" of 5$. Jajah does not tell you this information anywhere on their website.
2) If you use Jajah direct from your cell phone, Jajah will charge you the higher "cell phone" fee, even if you are calling a landline number. That means that as a customer, you pay your cell pone provider for the connectivity to the "Jajah direct" number, and Jajah charges you the higher fee as if it has initiated the call to your cell phone. In some countries, such as Israel (and not in the US), The initiator of the call pays the call to the providers.
3) I have contacted Jajah support many times - but not once did I get an answer explaining any of these obvious discrepancies between the reality and what the pricing advertised in the Jajah website.
Here is an answer I got from one of their customer service representatives:
Daniel Boston wrote me this reply:
"When you use JAJAH Direct, you pay the regular low JAJAH rates to connect to your contact. Since you are making a local call in order to initiate the JAJAH connection, any local fees would be paid to your local or cellular telephone provider. .

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again."
He does not explain at all any of the above issues, and just replies the cookie cutter response. As opposed to what he wrote, I am paying the higher Jajah rates, not the lower Jajah rates.

Irene wrote me this reply:
"Unfortunately, I cannot give you an answer that will be satisfactory to you.

Our policy regarding JAJAH Direct has been explained to you more than once."

Unfortunately, I didn't get an explanation even one time...

Please call Jajah's office and ask for Daniel Boston or Irene or any customer service representative at this number: +1-650-9674357. Its their office number in California, and their office hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm PST time.

 
At 4:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also recommend to try www.freebuzzer.com, it has more than 40 countries available for free calls.

 

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