Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, November 26, 2004

Cheaper Than Skype: Babble

Babble is a new broadband internet telephony (VoIP) service from the UK's that offers free PC to fixed/landline telephone calls across Europe, mainland North America, Australia and New Zealand. Calls between Babble users anywhere in the world are also free and users can also instant message (IM) each other when connected.

When we tested the service today, we were indeed able to make free calls to fixed line numbers in other European countries and to the USA. The voice quality was excellent, sounding no different than if you were making a call between fixed lines. Babble to Babble was also prefectly satisfactory.

More impressively, we were also able to make free calls from Babble to mobile phone numbers, both in other European countries and to the USA.



As advertised, Babble does require ISDN/broadband connections to work and will not operate on even the fastest dial-up connection.

Registration is free, the software download is free and there is no obligation to subscribe whatsoever. Voicemail (which we weren't able to test) and instant messaging are also free.

Babble will run on most PCs - you only need access to the internet. You may need to check your firewall options. You can add other components which may make your use of the service easier (such as a handset). A PC with at least 128MB of memory (RAM) and around 20MB of free disk space is recommended as well as Pentium 500Mhz or greater processor.

Babble is also shortly to launch a Mac OSX version.

The latest beta release (August 2004) provides a messaging service. If your callers go through to your 'answering machine', the message they leave is recorded and sent on to your registered email address as an attachment.

According to Babble, the service is currently being developed so that you can dial-in (from Babble or anywhere) to collect your messages, plus tell Babble where you would like your messages sent (your home phone, your mobile etc).

Babble uses underlying technology which is installed automatically on your PC when you load the software. It connects automatically to the network. As long as you are connected to the Internet, you can start making calls.

You can also receive calls from any phone user if you have signed up to the appropriate Babble service options. Limited is a UK-based operator of international phone services, which has been developing new phone systems, software and services for the last four years. The company operates a 'traditional' phone service for carriers and companies using the latest Ericsson AXE10 switching equipment. The infrastructure has recently been expanded to include VoIP technology. Whilst this is used for high-volume voice services to other telephone companies, it is also the basis for the Babble service.

All developed software is exclusively's own creation, built on open standards and technologies. This includes the management systems, web technology and designs, as well as the new Babble service and software. The company is privately owned.

From a cost-savings aspect, Babble offers a truly outstanding service and therefore it might seem unfair to criticize any other feature. However, the current service is in beta and the shortcomings we noted in terms of user interface (basic and somewhat clunky) and overall features and functionality as compared to the world leading Skype, for example can easily be improved upon.

Babble gets a 6/10 grading for features and a 9/10 for pricing.

[ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2004-12-22 16:46:09


so whos paying for this?

How can they continue to offer it free?

Expect this to not last long. its simply i promotional offer to pole vault them ahead of other voip apps.

2004-12-21 13:03:45


This is a testing progroam.

2004-12-01 17:43:56

P Dannon

Babble by is also based on Industry Standards (and as such is supported by many major manufacturers that have invested millions in developing open standard products) unlike Skype which is a proprietary system and effectively creates a 'closed user group'. After all, isn't a telephone supposed to enable seamless communication between networks. Try getting you Skype client to talk to your Cisco!!

Babble also allows PSTN/fixedline calls to the PC and not just outbound, IM and SMS as well...

Well done Babble. I wish you every success.

posted by on Friday, November 26 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




Real Time Web Analytics