I first read about Whistle on SlickDeals: Free Inbound/outbound Calling No Server required and what intrigued me was the fact it works with Google Voice as well as SIP capable ATA devices. There’s also the fact that it works on your iPhone and iPod Touch, but I currently own neither.
I’ve been using Google Voice + Gizmo5 + ATA for almost a year and it’s been working great. The only downside is that outgoing calls are limited to 3 minutes. However if you initiate the outgoing call from Google Voice, it’s unlimited.
My Linksys PAP2 comes with 2 lines which means I can setup 2 separate SIP accounts, so I decided to give this a try. Creating a new account actually requires downloading their software. Installation was pretty simple, though their software was pretty much a very simple SIP client. The SD thread also links to a tutorial on how to set up your ATA: Use Whistle Phone on any SIP device – Make free VoIP calls to USA [Tutorial]
The only changes I needed to make was the following:
Outbound Proxy: proxy.whistlephone.com
Use Outbound Proxy: yes
Use OB Proxy In Dialog: yes
User ID: (10 digit phone # – no dashes)
Password: (your account password)
Auth ID: (10 digit phone # – no dashes)
Use Auth ID: yes
I also learnt a bit on how to define ATA dial plans. Here’s what I ended up with:
(1[2-9]xx[2-9]xxxxxxS0 | <:1>[2-9]xx[2-9]xxxxxxS0 | <:1425>[2-9]xxxxxxS6)
Which made me realized that neither area codes nor prefixes can ever begin with 1.
Gave it a test run and found out I had to disable my STUN Server. Never quite knew what the STUN Server did, but when setting up Gizmo5, the tutorial stated I should enable it. I disabled it and my Gizmo5 account was still able to receive and make calls. With the STUN Server disabled, I was also able to make calls using my new Whistle account.
As noted on the thread and site, you’re required to listen to 15 seconds of ads before your outgoing call is made, but there’s no restriction on how long the call is as long as it’s within the U.S. They do have international plans, but I have no idea if it’s a good deal or not. I made about 5 test calls and only the 1st one required me to listen to an ad. I’m not sure if it’s because I hung up pretty much immediately after calling my cell phone. Definitely worth playing with. There’s no ad requirement for incoming calls.
If you don’t have an ATA device, you can always hook up a microphone to your computer.