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September 5, 2008

Jaxtr – Globalize Your Phone

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One of your best friends from college lives in Seoul. A business contact lives in the United Kingdom, and a nonprofit you support does the bulk of its work in China. As our world becomes smaller and as more businesses, students, and families travel and connect with others across the globe, it is becoming increasingly more important to stay connected. With differences in mobile phone systems and intermittent connections with Internet phones, talking across continents can be more trouble than it’s worth. Jaxtr, along with a few other web phone services, have stepped in to help alleviate this problem – and make international phone communication almost as simple and inexpensive as domestic calls. Jaxtr is one of the leaders in this area, with over ten million users connecting with friends, family, and coworkers internationally.

Jaxtr has a group of features designed especially for international callers, including phone calls, voicemail, and text messaging for the transcontinental jet set. Jaxtr users can add a badge to their website, MySpace, or Facebook page. When someone clicks on the badge, he or she gets a number to use for a local call that is redirected to your mobile or landline. You can set these calls to ring your phone or to go straight to your Jaxtr voicemail (which is emailed to you as an MP3 file). Jaxtr also gives users the capability to send free text messages internationally and to connect with other Jaxtr users in the web social networking section of Jaxtr. Whether it’s with a quick text or a much longer phone call, Jaxtr hopes to make it easier to communicate with friends who live down the street as well as those who live across the ocean.

Practical Uses:

  • International students can use Jaxtr to keep in close contact with friends and family at home
  • Families traveling overseas can call home for updates – without an international cell phone or internet connection
  • Workers and business owners can use Jaxtr to talk with international clients and global partners

Insider Tips:

  • Use Jaxtr to exchange phone numbers with others on a blog, or social networking site without giving away your real number
  • Use the call screening feature to eliminate calls from unwanted callers
  • Read the small print when viewing Jaxtr’s rates, to avoid accidental charges
  • Since Jaxtr turns voicemail into downloadable MP3 files, you might use Jaxtr to turn your cell phone into a digital recording device

What we liked:

  • Free international texting is available in 150 countries
  • Jaxtr allows social networking among Jaxtr users on the website’s “Café Jaxtr” page
  • Calls to other Jaxtr members are free

What we didn’t like:

  • The fee schedule is tricky. For example, when reading the fine print, you can find that click-to-call calls have an additional charge
  • Users are billed for calls forwarded, as well as outbound calls

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2007
  • Privately Owned
  • Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
  • Founded by Konstantin Guericke, Touraj Parang and Phillip Mobin
  • Web site: http://www.jaxtr.com

Costs:

  • Rates for calls are $0.01-$0.92/minute, depending on the country
  • International text messages are free
  • Calls to other Jaxtr members are free