A VoIP company based in Russia announced Friday that it has launched a global calling service that requires just a broadband Internet connection and a headset for free international calls.
Called EvaPhone, the service presents users with a dial pad in their Web browsers after they have logged in to the service's Web site.
In tests, the service was easy to use, and calls went to their destinations quickly and without hitches. However, there were problems hearing voices on phones that were called, and the login page was also difficult to use.
"Unlike other VoIP programs, this application doesn't require any software installation," said Maxim Demidov, the company's press secretary, in an e-mail. "Instead it works directly from your Web browser. All you need to make a phone call is navigate to the Web site in a browser and dial the number right there in the browser window."
Demidov said calls to landlines and mobile phones will be supported by a short ad that is displayed while the telephone connection is being established.
On Friday, the EvaPhone service was displaying an ad from Ymax, which offers a VoIP service called MagicJack. That service uses a matchbook-sized device that plugs into a PC for free service. The device costs $39.95 and includes the first year of VoIP service. Demidov said EvaPhone doesn't have any "deal" with MagicJack.
EvaPhone ads can be discontinued by registering for a "nominal cost," the company said. Registration also enables users to build a personal phone book and a history of calls.
The company said Adobe Flash Player 9.0 or higher must be installed on users' computers.