2 – Fongo

Pros / Advantages

Fongo is an impressive service that beyond granting free phone calls to landlines for folks in Canada and the United States, also provides users a phone number that can be contacted by individuals with a landline, and importantly allows users to have voicemail.   Those free features are certainly advantageous.  Moreover, the Fongo voicemail service can forward email notifications when new messages are received for free, with an attachment that contains the digitized (mp3) voicemail recording.

Cons / Disadvantages

At this point the only disadvantages I encountered are perhaps all tied to the software in varying degrees, and it is unclear whether the software or the OS (operating system) drives the issue (bugs exist such as the program (on iPad) not registering a missed call).  However, there is a solution for that issue, which is to login to their website and examine the call log.

Secondly, and on a separate note, be certain to check that the ‘Blocked Anonymous Calls’ feature is disabled in the settings, as I missed important calls as a result.  Obviously that feature can be useful in other circumstances.

Thirdly, the clarity is not ideal relative to a landline, but I find it is satisfactory.

Lastly, there may be a lag between when a caller places the call to your number, and when the app receives the cue and starts ringing.  One approach to address this issue is to ensure that the voicemail (if turned on) does not answer prematurely (e.g., after a ring or two).  Admittedly, depending on the usage, in certain occasions it can be desirable to adjust the number of rings to say 1 or 2, if the account is being used merely as a voicemail to email service.  If it is used in the same manner as a traditional phone, consider increasing the number of rings to say 5, 6, or 8.   A screenshot below highlights that setting, and how to adjust the number of rings a caller will encounter prior to shifting to voicemail.  To make that adjustment, the first thing to do is to enter the app and then click settings, and next to examine the ‘Phone Service’ sub-header, and subsequently ‘Rings Before Voicemail’.

Fongo - Numer of Rings
The number of rings a caller will encounter prior to voicemail can be adjusted within Fongo.  Lags can occur, and in certain cases a larger number of rings should be selected.

Rating: 4.75/5

Brief Fongo Tutorial & Instructions

Below is a brief tutorial and instructions on using Fongo’s free voicemail to email forwarding feature and to receive anonymous calls.  As remarked above, the screenshots below were obtained on an iPad, after obtaining the app from the App Store.   Android users can acquire the software from Google’s Play Store.  The program is easy to use for calling after registering, just click the dial-pad.

  • To enable the voicemail to email service visit their main site and click the login button at the top right, or click here.  The following page appears once the information is entered, and click the settings link.
fongo instructions 1
Fongo, Voicemail to Email Instructions – I
  • Next click on the voicemail settings as indicated by the red arrow in the screenshot below.
fongo voicemail to email instructions 2
Fongo, Voicemail to Email Instructions – II
  • Next, fill in the information related to the ‘voicemail to email’ (copy) and ‘Voicemail Forwarding Email’ (email address) entries, etc.
fongo instructions 3
Fongo, Voicemail to Email Instructions – III
  • Follow the steps below to ensure you can receive calls from an anonymous caller id.  Open the app, and enter the settings.   Then click on the ‘Blocked Numbers’ area, as identified by the red arrow.
fongo instructions 4
Fongo, Disable Block Anonymous Calls Instructions – I
  • Subsequently, uncheck the ‘Block Anonymous Calls’ field.
fongo instructions 5
Fongo, Disable Block Anonymous Calls Instructions – II

The alternate (or used simultaneously) internet calling programs described here are Google Hangouts and Skype.  Frequently asked questions are described in here , and also available is a comments area.