Gizmo Goes Friends and Family
Andy blogs the fact that Gizmo Project will be giving PSTN calls away to 60 Countries, but there’s a catch: the people you call must be Gizmo Project members, they must be added to your buddy list, and they need to enter their phone numbers into their profile. The 60 countries include landlines in all the listed countries, mobiles only in certain countries. All other numbers are subject to their normal Call Out rates, which appear to have dropped recently. They are darn close to what it costs to call via Voxee, which is an outgoing-only provider that I use on my Asterisk server and Linksys SPA-941. Close enough that I’m very likely to not recharge my Voxee account (assuming they keep their existing rates) and instead load up my Gizmo Project account with minutes.
This “plan” reminds me a lot of how the old MCI Friends and Family plan worked: you got your friends to sign up with MCI and be part of your “calling circle” and calls to them were much cheaper than it was to other people. This is the same idea as what Gizmo is doing except the calls are free and you can add buddies to your buddy list without having to talk to a human being.
It will be interesting to see how Skype and the other players in this space will respond to this.