Many of you may recall that last August we showed you an easy way to implement free calling to millions of cellphones using Gizmo5 and Asterisk®. Vaporware aside, it's been a quiet six months in the Skype for Asterisk department. But now the folks at Gizmo5 have outdone themselves once again. This time it's their new OpenSky service. Here's how it works. You can call as many Skype users as you like and talk for up to five minutes for free.
If there are people you frequently call and the time limit is a problem for you, then you can cough up $20 a year and make as many 2-hour Skype calls as you like to your ten best friends. If you've got more friends than that or if you plan to use this for something other than a home Asterisk system, then there are reasonably priced plans to accommodate you. $320 a year gets you 20 accounts to an unlimited number of Skype users with the same 2-hour per call limit. $800 buys you 50 accounts, and $1600 buys you 100 accounts per year.
Once you have everything working, you're ready to add a few numbers on your Asterisk system for your Skype pals. Here's the easy way, and we'll cover some more sophisticated implementations in a subsequent article. Assuming you have a friend with a Skype username of joeschmo, here's what you need to do to call Joe by dialing 563 (J-O-E) from any extension on your Asterisk system.
Edit the /etc/asterisk/extensions_custom.conf file on your system and add the following line within the [from-internal-custom] context:
exten => 563,1,Dial(SIPfirstname.lastname@example.org)
If you also use softphones which support SIP URI dialing, then you might want to add another entry like this in the same context:
exten => joeschmo,1,Dial(SIPemail@example.com)
Now just reload your Asterisk dialplan, and you're ready to start calling your Skype buddies around the world from any Asterisk extension.
asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"
The FreePBX Alternative. As has been pointed out in a comment, you can accomplish much the same thing using newer versions of FreePBX without having to muck around in extensions_custom.conf. Just add an Extension, choose the Custom type, provide an Extension Number, a Display Name, and optional SIP Alias. Then insert the following in the dial field, save your entries, and reload the dialplan when prompted.
$20 Buys You Skype Calling Aliases. One of the major drawbacks of Skype always has been the alphanumeric Skype names which make it next to impossible to place Skype calls using regular telephones. Well, Gizmo5 has solved that, too. With your $20 annual subscription which gets you 2-hour Skype calls to your 10 best friends for a year, you now can define new phone numbers to match against your 10 favorite Skype friends. For example, for a user named John Doe, you might choose 564-6363 (JOHN-DOE). Once you sign up for the $20 Skype subscription and configure this alias in your Gizmo account, you can reach John Doe on Skype by dialing 1-333-564-6363 through your Gizmo5 trunk from any Asterisk extension. In your Asterisk setup, just create an outbound route for Gizmo calls with the following dial strings, and you're all set.
Special thanks to JPE on the PBX in a Flash Forum for the original tip and to Adrian at Gizmo5 Operations for the alias demo. Enjoy!
Want a Bootable PBX in a Flash Drive? Our Atomic Flash bootable USB flash installer for PBX in a Flash has been quite the hit this past week. Thank you to all of our generous contributors! Atomic Flash provides all of the goodies in the VPN in a Flash system featured last month on Nerd Vittles. You can build a complete turnkey system using almost any current generation PC with a SATA drive and this USB flash installer in less than 15 minutes!
Be sure to include your real email address which will not be posted. The winner will be chosen by drawing an email address out of a hat (the old fashioned way!) from all of the comments posted over the next several weeks.
And it's still not too late to make a contribution of $50 or more to the PBX in a Flash project and get a free Atomic Flash installer delivered to your door as our special thank you gift. See this Nerd Vittles article for details.
Special Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors
Awesome Vitelity Special. Vitelity has generously offered a terrific discount for Nerd Vittles readers. You now can get an almost half-price DID from our special Vitelity sign-up link. If you're seeking the best flexibility in choosing an area code and phone number plus the lowest entry level pricing plus high quality calls, then Vitelity is the hands-down winner. Vitelity provides Tier A DID inbound service in over 3,000 rate centers throughout the US and Canada. When you use our special link to sign up, Nerd Vittles gets a few shekels down the road to support our open source development efforts while you get an incredible signup deal as well. The going rate for Vitelity's DID service is $7.95 a month which includes up to 4,000 incoming minutes on two simultaneous channels with terminations priced at 1.45¢ per minute. Not any more! For our users, here's a deal you can't (and shouldn't) refuse! Sign up now, and you can purchase a Tier A DID with unlimited incoming calls and four simultaneous channels for just $3.99 a month. To check availability of local numbers and tiers of service from Vitelity, click here. NOTE: You can only use the Nerd Vittles sign-up link to order your DIDs, or you won't get the special pricing! Vitelity's rate is just 1.44¢ per minute for outbound calls in the U.S. There is a $35 prepay when you sign up. This covers future usage. Any balance is refundable if you decide to discontinue service with Vitelity.
Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest...
- This offer does not extend to those in jurisdictions in which our offer or your participation may be regulated or prohibited by statute or regulation. [↩]