When you go to Jajah's Web site, you'll find a clean and simple interface. Clicking the View Demo link takes you to a flash demonstration (with sound) that walks you through the steps: First, enter the phone number from which you want to make a call (landline or mobile). Next, enter the phone number you want to call, then click the green Call button. A moment later, your phone will ring and when you pick up, you'll hear a recorded voice say, "Please hold, Jajah will connect your call." You'll hear the other end ring, and from there on out, the call proceeds as a normal call. You can try it out for free for five minutes, though only to and from landlines. Registration is a simple three-step process: First, enter your e-mail address, choose a password, pick which currency in which you want rates displayed, and pick your time zone. Then enter the phone numbers you want to register; you can choose up to three. Jajah prelabels your numbers as home, office, and mobile, but there's no reason why you can't enter a second home number in the office category, for example. Finally, Jajah will e-mail you a link to finalize the registration.
After registering, you can make calls at will from any of the three numbers by following the steps outlined above. Jajah initiates both ends of the call over the Internet, but the last section of the call (to both sides) is carried on the local PSTN or mobile service provider, so call quality is excellent. In fact, the people we called using Jajah had no idea the calls were initiated over the Internet (the only telltale sign was that their caller ID showed no information on the incoming call). This technical setup also means that call quality is not affected by uploads and downloads, as the call is not carried over your broadband connection.
Dial-up users can theoretically use Jajah, though if they have only one phone line, they must disconnect from their dial-up service provider after clicking Call. A brief look in Jajah's user forums shows that this doesn't always work, though Jajah support is looking into improving the experience for dial-up users. The Jajah interface clocks the length of your call in minutes and seconds, though when you disconnect the call, the counter keeps running for about 7 seconds. It's a little alarming at first, as you do pay by the minute, but we found that you don't get charged for that delay. Jajah's only major feature is an address book, where you can enter up to three numbers per contact.
Jajah's rates are relatively inexpensive, especially for international calls. Jajah charges 1.7 cents per minute for calls within the United States, so it doesn't make sense to use Jajah for local calls that would otherwise be free, but for international calls, it's quite the bargain. For example, calls to most of China are 2 cents per minute. The site lists rates to all countries currently available and breaks down countries by local area codes, as the rates may vary--for example, calls to mobile phones in England are far more expensive than calls to landlines. But when you key in the number you're calling, a little note to the side shows you the per-minute rate for that call.
To manage your Jajah account, go to My Account, which displays your call history, which includes date, from/to, duration, rate, and final cost. You can print or export your history to Excel. My Account also shows your account balance. Jajah uses a post-paid system, which means you pay for only those minutes you've already incurred. You can pay by credit card, bank transfer, Moneybookers (similar to PayPal), or PaySafecard (a European prepaid card for online payments). If you pay by bank transfer or Moneybookers, you can overpay your account, thereby setting up a de facto debit account with Jajah. The My Account section also shows the three phone numbers you've registered. If you need to change a phone number, you won't be able to do it yourself, for antifraud reasons. Instead, you'll have to e-mail Jajah's customer support to have them change it for you. While we understand the concern for security, this limitation puts a damper on one of Jajah's potential uses: calling for cheap while traveling.
Jajah provides online support in the form of FAQs, user forums, and e-mail support. We e-mailed customer support about a billing issue, and it took more than 48 hours to get a reply. Ironically, there is no telephone support, which would be a quicker way to change your registered numbers. The most common problems reported in the user forums relate to proper phone number syntax (you need to enter + and the country code for international calls) and to rate conversion issues.