How to Make Free Phone Calls Using Your Computer
You'd like to make a phone call, but the phone is across the room, in the glove compartment, or back at the office. If there's a computer nearby, you still can place that call. As long as the computer has a microphone, speakers and an Internet connection, a phone is unnecessary. PC-to-PC calling and computer-to-phone calls require a bit of setup to start, but that initial bit of work will result in free calls and saved phone minutes. You can use Google Voice and Sipgate, handy Google tools straight from your browser.
Things You'll Need
- High-speed Internet connection
- Cell phone service
- Computer with microphone and speakers
Setup a free Google Voice account, which forwards calls to home and cell phone numbers. First, select a Google Voice number, then set up routing to your home or cell phone. The final step requires a confirmation call to your phone number.
Setup a Sipgate account at Sipgate One. You'll have to enter your cell phone carrier and enter a text message confirmation code. The site then asks for contact information and a password. After the information processes, you'll get access to the Sipgate software download. Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker recommends that users simply download the software, but don't install it yet.
Confirm your address through the emailed confirmation. You'll then confirm your exact address and select an number with an appropriate area code. Select options for a free, single phone number.
Surf to Sipgate.com and sign into your Sipgate account to change your settings. In the "Settings" section, select "Phone." Click the cell phone number supplied during setup and select "Delete." The new highlighted phone number will say "Phone of [Your Name]."
Click into "Voicemail, Forwarding and Hunting Rules." Clear all rules so that the screen says that you've set no rules for your number or account.
Surf back over to Google Voice and click "Add Another Phone." Enter your Sipgate phone number, unchecking the text message option, then save.
Open another window and sign back into Sipgate. Run the Google Voice confirmation call. When the call comes into Sipgate, click the "Dialpad" option to bring up the number pad. Type in the Google Voice confirmation code to verify the phone number.
Make phone calls through Google Voice, and receive phone calls through Sipgate. When Google Voice makes a call, select the contact name of your Sipgate number from the Google Voice dropdown list.
Tips & Warnings
- To keep Google Voice easily accessible, use the Chrome browser plug-in or download the browser application. There are also some desktop Google Voice tools available in the Resource links.
- Both Google Voice and Sipgate can record voice calls. However, both services play a legal disclaimer message before recording. Google Voice will only record incoming calls by pressing the number "4" while talking.