Looking to save a few bucks? Plumble has an idea that’s long overdue: Listen to two 22-second ads, and make a two-and-a-half-minute call anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for free. Currently in beta testing, the service promises to extend the call length and service area beyond the 818 area code “soon.” UPDATE: Plumble tells us the calls will be 10 minutes long after the beta test is complete.
Sure, you could use Skype for free, but then you either have to only talk with other Skype users, or hand over your credit card number and pay up for calls over the standard phone network. Or, you could go with Vonage phone service, which we think sounds bad, but hey, it’s cheap.
We tried Plumble, and it works beautifully. Call its 818 number (which is a temporary number for this beta test), and it first makes you listen to one 22-second ad before you make your call, and another after you dial your number. Don’t make a dialing mistake or you’ll have to listen again. At 2 minutes into your call, it gives you a big, intrusive warning that it’s about to hang up on you (that the person you’re calling can also hear), and then unceremoniously dumps you after 2:30.
If Americans are as compliant with constant advertising as I think we are, this could be big. Plumble's call quality is excellent, and it’s free. Even if you don't want to use it all the time, this might be great for emergencies when you’re out of money and need to just make a quick call.