Betamax (VoIP company)
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Betamax is a prepaid Internet telephony service provider, founded in 2005, based in Cologne, Germany and currently operating under several different retail and wholesale labels. Betamax customers are able to access the VOIP service using a proprietary client software. Betamax services may also be accessed via SIP-protocol-based software and hardware.
- Software-based access - Initial signup usually needs to be done with the proprietary software client downloaded from the website. However, after signup, a client may use programs such as X-lite to place calls if SIP access is available as an option.
- Hardware-based access - Settings are provided which may be programmed into a stand-alone hardware adapter such as an Analog telephony adapter to allow clients to place calls without the need for a computer.
- Phone To Phone calls - After logging into the web-based account area, clients may connect two phones together by entering two phone numbers. Note however the client will be charged for each segment of the call.
- Free Client To Client calls - Betamax clients of any of the retail labels are able to call other clients from any other labels for free.
- Dedicated call-in numbers - Only offered in select countries.
- Shared call-in numbers - Customers can place calls via a local call-in number (where available) for no additional cost other than the cost of the call made after connecting. Rather than entering a PIN, the system reads the phone number taken from the caller ID and matches it with the phone number stored in the client's profile.
- SMS Messaging - SMS Messages can be sent for a fee from the software-based client or from the website after logging into the account area.
- Callmenow Button - Clients can add a button to their webpage so visitors can speak with them by entering in their phone number. After the client submits their phone number, it will then connect the call between that number and the number that has been predefined for that button. You can also define the maximum rate you are willing to connect to prevent calls to undesired locations with higher rate.
- Sip settings for mobile phones - Settings can be sent to Nokia and Samsung phones via SMS Messaging that support Wi-FI Connections. A complete and current list of supported phones can be found when logging into the account area which can be done without depositing any funds.
Retail and wholesale labels
Betamax GmbH & Co KG offers its retail services under the following trade names:
Betamax GmbH & Co KG offers its wholesale services under the following trade names:
These services are very similar, but each has its own rate plans. Some of these services do not support SIP and associated hardware (see above), only supporting a softphone. All services, retail and wholesale, are strictly on a prepaid basis. Betamax offers various methods of payment for their retail labels. Recently, however, Betamax has removed the option to make payments using credit cards or Paypal for users from several countries .
MyVoipProvider.com, a VoIP service comparison and blog, has published fraud accusations against Betamax . The fraud accusations include credit card fraud, duplicate or triplicate charge fraud, changing service terms without notification. In later entries, the same blog stated that there has not been credit card fraud, but customers' credit cards may have been compromised.
It also mentioned, in the same article, that customers' accounts are blocked with the code ERROR 33. According to Betamax's product web pages, , the code is described as a General Error without giving further details.
Moreover, Betamax has blocked some users (without any explanation) from using certain VOIP products. However, the company let customers buy credits but do not allow them to call. If users try to call they receive a message that says "The other party ended the call due to unknown error. A number of users have filled a feedback form available on the product website but no clear solution has been provided.
- Betamax is available in about 30 countries.
- Support: Betamax customer service is only via the website although there have been claims that support tickets are persistently unanswered.
- Free destinations change frequently, with no guarantee that calls in the future will be still free. Tariff changes are announced only on the website (the softphone shows costs during the call, and VoipBuster provides a spoken cost report prior to connection). When numbers are not free, Betamax claims its prices are still lower than other providers.
- No free voicemail service is offered.
- No overview is given of available geographical phone numbers before the user registers.
- The software is only available for Windows and Blackberry. It is possible to call using other software and the SIP server at Betamax. Some examples of free software with such capabilities are Linphone, Twinkle and Ekiga.
- ↑ VoipBuster instructions
- ↑ Phone To Phone instructions
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Betamax payment issues". Betamax.com. http://truvoipbuzz.com/2009/06/payment-options-in-betamax-clones-tips-tricks/. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- ↑ "Betamax VoIP Credit Cologne - Fraudulent credit card charges". MyVoipProvider. 07/18/2008. http://www.myvoipprovider.com/blog/betamax_voip_credit_cologne. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- ↑ "Betamax Scam Update". MyVoipProvider. 07/18/2008. http://www.myvoipprovider.com/blog/betamax_scam_updates. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- ↑ "General Error (CODE:33)". VoipStunt. http://www.voipstunt.com/en/error.php?id=33. Retrieved 2009-01-02.