Thursday, 9 May 2013

Google Pulls Plug on Free iNum +883 Calling

In June of 2012, I reported that Google was finally allowing direct and free routing of calls, from Gmail, to numbers in the Voxbone hosted iNum +883 network.  I considered that to be a great initiative on the part of Google and their support for the iNum initiative.

I often made calls to the iNum Echo Test number at +883-5100-0000-0091 from my Gmail accounts just to test that everything is working AOK.  As well, I also have iNum numbers with Voip.ms, CallCentric, and Spout Canada (thespout.ca).  I also often call the iNum Echo Test number through them for testing, too.

Well, today I tried to call the iNum Echo Test number via one of my Google Apps Gmail accounts and the calls failed.  The error message indicated that I didn't have sufficient calling credits to call this destination (+883-5100-0000-0091).  "Sorry! You do not have enough credit to make this call. Add credit."



After searching the Google Voice rates page, I see that they are now charging 3 cents/minute to make calls to iNum +883 numbers.  The rate can be found under "International Networks - Voxbone".



I'm starting to think that Google is going the way of Skype.  Skype has always charged for calling iNum numbers.  And yet, services like Voip.ms, CallCentric, and Spout are still routing my iNum calls for free.

So, now I wonder.... just how much longer is Google going to continue to provide free calling to phones in the USA and Canada?  If they charge for something like iNum calling (which should be free), I think the days of  free calling to landlines and mobiles are numbered...