3Jam - an Alternative to Google Voice

What is 3Jam?

Cloud and smartphone
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3Jam is a service that provides 'cloud' phone numbers that can be used to contact a number of phones. It is an alternative and hence a competitor to Google Voice, but unlike the latter, it is not free. The price covers the expanded features and facilities it offers that Google Voice does not.

How 3Jam Works

3Jam allows a user to have a 'cloud' phone number which, by definition, is not attached to any one phone. This gives the user the benefit of having the number ring multiple extensions simultaneously, including landline phones, cell phones and even Skype and other IM services. VoIP technology is used to terminate calls to the IP part of the call circuit, to VoIP services and IMs.

What 3Jam Costs

The main difference between 3Jam and Google Voice is that the latter is free and the other not. Google Voice offers very basic features for free, with some important limitations. 3Jam's cost will stand worthy only if what it offers has relevance for you.

3Jam costs $4.99 per month for a one-year contract. If you want to pay monthly, that will be $8.99 per month. This includes a certain limit, like 40 SMS messages, 30 incoming call minutes, and 30 voicemail transcriptions. Anything beyond that increases the cost. Now this is a major problem with 3Jam – its pricing structure is not clear and you can never know for sure how much you will end up paying.

What's in it for the Money?

There are numerous reasons for which a user would choose paid 3Jam over free Google Voice. You will want to consider the following before deciding either to pay for 3Jam or to be content with what Google Voice offers for free. Among what 3Jam offers that could be worth paying for are the following. First, it allows you to take calls to other phone and IM services. You can also get as many phone numbers as you wish. People anywhere in the world can have an account, and anytime, unlike with Google Voice where only people in the US are served, and solely on invitation. 3Jam has a robust set of features, and an API for developers. Read more on how 3Jam compares to Google Voice.

Bottom Line

Basic users would choose Google Voice because it is free for local calls, and the features it gives are just enough for basic users. But still, you should be eligible for a Google Voice account – you need to be in the US and you need to have an invitation! 3Jam solves all that and gives even more, as discussed above, but for a price. I guess most 3Jam users would be those who can't get a Google Voice account.