Re-visiting Jajah

A lot of noise has been made during this week about the purchase of Jajah by O2 for the sum of USD 200M.

I am a customer of Jajah since their first days, but I have to admit I have never used too much their services. I have to admit that at the time that I was abroad, if I had already to go to the web to dial, I would prefer using Skype (since it would save me the price of the local incoming call, and when I was in my home country I never remembered their service when I needed it. Probably my mistake, but I believe many are in the same situation.

So I decided to re-visit their website and learn a little more of what is their offer today that makes it so interesting to O2.

You can see some of my conclusions after the break.

Jajah advertises itself as  the IP telephony company that invented web activated telephony. Is this fair? I guess it is. It was the first callback IP company for which we did not have to remember complicated callback service numbers and card numbers, but instead only to have a web address in our favorites, get there and dial. The system would then dial back to us and we would pay the incoming call costs (big difference if you are roaming) and the Jajah international fee according to origin and destination countries.

I agree this is a great service if you are roaming and don't have a data plan, and you need to save money. But whenever you have a wifi network nearby or a data plan, a call with skype would be cheaper specially because of the roaming incoming charges. So Jajah has always been for me a kind of a second-choice service while I was abroad and could not get any data service for a good price.

Meanwhile, Jajah's website has been re-vamped and looks great. Additionally, Jajah's mobile site easily presents our Jajah phonebook, and might be sometimes better and cheaper than using a local data program with a local SIM in order to make the calls. It will surely depend on the country and operator, but considering that if I need an AT&T local data program when I travel to the US in order to make Skype calls I will need to spend $20 just to begin with it, maybe it isn't so cheap if all I need is VOIP calls.

Secondly, Jajah has opened a new program called Jajah.Direct which in my opinion has found one of the main needs of the modern businessman: to call abroad easily and cheaply from his home country and city. Jajah.Direct works this way: you go into their website, enter the function "Get a number", and then give the number details of a contact person that you very usually call abroad. Jajah assigns this person a local number in your own country. Then you can SMS this number to your phone, and save it at your Contact's details as an additional number for him. When you dial that number, this goes to Jajah's servers which complete the international call via IP. You pay your local calls price to the operator plus Jajah's international fee. Maybe not as cheap as a Skype call from Wifi, but great to have when you are on the go.

Another thing: Jajah has put a new ads program: agree to hear a brief add before your call and you will be credited back with part of the call cost. Not bad at all.

In summary, there is some reason for all the fuss around Jajah. It seems like a solid and reliable service, has a good history, and even if it is not the cheapest of all, it is close enough to the cheapest services to be considered a good option when you are on the way.

I do believe I will be using Jajah more now that I have seen the new features. Will you?