Free Phone Calls With Bobsled

Category: Telephony

Bobsled is a free Internet voice and messaging service that lets you make free voice calls to mobile and landline phones in the U. S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. You like free calling? Read on to learn more about Bobsled...

Jump On Bobsled and Call for Free

Bobsled is an online service from T-Mobile that is similar to Skype, Google Voice, and a host of other VoIP services. With Bobsled, you can make free phone calls to people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Bobsled also lets you make live voice calls to your Facebook contacts, leave voicemail messages on their Walls, and initiate phone calls during Facebook chat.

The Bobsled apps (one for calling, one for messaging) are available for desktop and laptop computers (Windows or Mac OS X), iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad, and on Android smartphones and tablets. Sorry, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Linux users -- no Bobsled for you.

The people you call don't need Bobsled to receive your calls. They'll answer their phone just like they would for any other call. You can also make voice calls to other Bobsled users (like you would with Skype) or make a voice call to a Facebook friend.
Bobsled: Free Calling

When you call a Facebook user, the recipient will get a Facebook chat message, which contains a link. When they click that link, your call is connected. You can also leave a voice message, with the option of posting the message publicly on your friend's Facebook wall, or (for private calls) directing it to their Facebook inbox.

Want more options for free phone calls? See my ebook How To Make Free Phone Calls on Amazon.

Bobsled claims 2 million users, which isn’t bad for a service barely one year old. Skype, on the other hand, has hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Bobsled’s limited international coverage probably has slowed its growth. So has its lack of videoconferencing capability, which T-Mobile claims to be working on. Over 10 million calls have been completed using Bobsled since the service debuted in April, 2011. Of those calls, 80 percent have been international. In contrast, the company says that 90 percent of messages are sent domestically.

The Bobsled Conundrum

What’s remarkable about Bobsled it that it's a service of T-Mobile, a wireless carrier whose revenues Bobsled seems to threaten. Wireless phone service providers make their money by carrying your phone calls over their cellular networks. But Bobsled allows you to bypass that, and make phone calls over the Internet. Bobsled works on any Internet connection, including wifi and data plans offered by other wireless carriers. In fact, T-Mobile reports that 95 percent of Bobsled users are not its subscribers.

Bobsled's ability to make free phone calls with over wifi brings up an interesting possibility. Buy a used smartphone, don't sign up for phone service with a mobile provider, and just use wifi to connect to the Internet. You'd be able to dial out to regular phone numbers without paying any per-call or monthly phone costs. For incoming calls, you'd be limited (since you don't have a phone number) but you could receive voice calls from other Bobsled users. And of course it would only work when you're connected to a wifi hotspot.

Why has T-Mobile released a free service that competes with its bread-and-butter subscription services? The company says it’s willing to trade some revenues from minutes and messages to associate its brand with users’ other communication habits, especially Facebook and the iPad. Bobsled could also be a public experiment in what the next generation of communications carriers may look like. T-Mobile has said that it hopes to grow Bobsled’s user base to the point where ad revenues would be meaningful.

If you're already a Skype user, it might seem there's not much news here. But Skype's free calls are limited to Skype-to-Skype calling. (Both parties must have Skype.) Bobsled lets you call real-world phone numbers -- both mobile and landline for free. Bobsled's integration with Facebook is one unique feature that might be compelling to some users. But the limited international calling and the lack of video chat will turn some away. But T-Mobile says "we're working on it" so you might want to check back every few months to see what's new with Bobsled.

It’s rather strange to see a phone company acting like Google, conducting disruptive experiments that undermine the status quo. But that seems to be what Bobsled is all about. It'll be interesting to see if Bobsled can gain widespread acceptance in the market, given the headstart and popularity enjoyed by Skype, Google Voice and other players in the VoIP arena.

Have you tried Bobsled or other VoIP services for free calling? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Posted by on 26 Nov 2012


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Most recent comments on "Free Phone Calls With Bobsled"

Posted by:

Dirk
26 Nov 2012

Cool idea to use Bobsled over Wifi. Even if you have mobile service, you could cut down on your mobile minute usage by using Bobsled for outgoing calls (over wifi) and receive calls via your mobile number.


Posted by:

Eric
26 Nov 2012

I use Google Voice in tandem with GrooVeIP on my Android device to complement my cellular service, which is a monthly prepaid plan with only 300 minutes of voice time included and poor signal quality at my home.

Google Voice allowed me to choose my own phone number for free, and the service is free (at least through the end of the year). I get voice mail transcriptions sent by text and to my email inbox, again free, so even if I don't have my Google Voice connection fired up on my phone, I am alerted to the fact I missed a call.

Call quality has been generally quite good over my wifi connection at home, as well as at other places with hotspots (grad school campus, Starbucks, etc.) I've occasionally had delay/echo issues, but they are usually resolved by simply calling the individual again to get a fresh connection.

I don't use it all that much, mostly just for calling family here and there, but when I do, I've been quite pleased. Even if Google started to charge for it, it would likely work out to be cheaper per minute than what my cell phone service provider offers.


Posted by:

ArtM
26 Nov 2012

Why no mention of Google Voice? Was still free last that I knew.


Posted by:

Stuart Berg
26 Nov 2012

Another excellent smartphone app that does free calling over WiFi is netTalk. I know it's available for Apple iOS products and probably is available for other smartphones as well. I have it on my iPod Touch, so I have the phone capability of an iPhone when I'm connected to any WiFi, without the cost.


Posted by:

finyin
26 Nov 2012

In the following first sentence, bet you meant to say T-Mobile, not Google, true or not true? "It’s rather strange to see a phone company acting like Google, conducting disruptive experiments that undermine the status quo."

EDITOR'S NOTE: No, I meant Google. Want some examples? Google gigabit fiber, Google self-driving car, Google Analytics, Google Adsense/Adwords, Google Voice, Gmail. I could go on...


Posted by:

MrToo
26 Nov 2012

TalkATone and GrooveIP are excellent companions of Google Voice, All for free. Don't forget, no international call means you can't call outside the US. There are no restrictions on calls originating from outside US.


Posted by:

Bronzen
27 Nov 2012

It would be nice to find a link on the page to the software for Bobsled. Unless I missed it, which I do not think I did.


Posted by:

Ryam
28 Nov 2012

if you like bobsled then you will like this facebook free phone call app. You can call your facebook friends phone for free or any phone number in the world.
http://apps.facebook.com/callbux


Posted by:

MyTravels
01 Dec 2012

Skype is also free to US 800 numbers (toll-free)


Posted by:

Bruce Fraser
02 Dec 2012

Re: "Why no mention of Google Voice?"

The main reason being that Google Voice is available ONLY to residents of the USA. Bobsled appears to be for all residents of the world. Now THAT'S a Google move -- shaking things up!


Posted by:

Larry
24 Jan 2013

Bobsled rocks - plain and simple! Use it all the time.


Posted by:

JP
14 May 2013

I just visited the Bobsled site and checked the support forums. It appears that there is now a 15-minute usage limit per day now.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's not clear to me if that's only for International calls or all calls. Anyone know for sure?


Posted by:

JP
15 May 2013

from: https://getsatisfaction.com/bobsled/topics/15_minute_time_limit_now

13 days ago...

"To clarify, I am talking about calling a U.S. number from within the U.S. I saw something about a 75 minute maximum time per call. Did that change to a 15 minute maximum time per call? If so, can you still just simply call the person back and talk for another 15 minutes and keep doing that forever? If a change was made, I thought Bobsled was supposed to post that change on their website. But, I haven't seen anything posted about this."

and from 10 days ago...

"I have had this problem too. I can't call longer than 15 minutes and this is within the United States. I reported it 2 weeks ago and it's not been fixed. No one ever replied."

and from 4 days ago...

"I experienced the same thing tonight. I tried to call home and it all of a sudden said I had 3 minutes left. However, when I tried to call back, I got a recording that said I reached my minute limit for the day.......I'm extremely confused. I read a little over a month ago that free calls to the US were a max. of 40 min per call. I don't remember exactly where on the bobsled app or website that I read it, but I'm 100% sure that I did see it."


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