Frequently Asked Questions

The Freedom Fone platform provides you with a collection of useful tools with which to engage, inform and encourage feedback from an audience of telephone users. Whether they use traditional landlines, basic mobile phones, Skype or other ‘soft’ phones they have what it takes to communicate with your Freedom Fone service.

To experiment with the latest version online, visit the online demo.

Have a look at this power point presentation (216KB) for a little background information.

Below are answers to some of the more general questions about Freedom Fone. A more comprehensive and technical list of FAQs can be found on our development wiki.

The Freedom Fone software and installation instructions can be found here.

All versions are available as complete system replacement installers. This approach limits the Linux expertise you need to get up and running with Freedom Fone. We've produced useful guides to help you with this process and will continue to improve the guides with your feedback and queries.

If you would like to request a new feature to be included in a future version of Freedom Fone, please complete a New Ticket in our Trac's Ticketing System, remembering to select Feature Request (_feature_request) from the Component dropdown menu when submitting your request.

The cost of setting up a Freedom Fone installation is relatively cheap. You should budget for most of the equipment below:

The costs of running the service would include:

  1. What must my organisation invest in to use Freedom Fone?

    • A desire to reach across the digital divide and offer information on demand to telephone users.
    • A spare computer with these recommended specs: RAM: 2GB, Processor: 1.6GHz+.
    • One or more mobile sim cards.
    • One or more of the GSM devices described below.
  2. What equipment will we need to connect the Freedom Fone computer to our mobile sim cards?

    • You could run a Freedom Fone deployment with one or more, or a combination of, the following GSM devices:

      • MobiGater – USB device. Takes 1 sim card. Passes voice and SMS on to Freedom Fone.
        Cost approx EUR 50.
        Note: We have experienced some audio interference connecting multiple MobiGaters to computers with old USB cards.
      • OfficeRoute - SIP gateway. Takes 4 sim cards and can handle 4 concurrent calls. Passes voice and SMS on to Freedom Fone.
        Freedom Fone versions 1.6.5LTS-04 OR and 2.0.x include native support for this device.
        Make sure you request a licence that enables POP3, SMS and SNMP.
        Cost approx EUR 620.
      • VoiceBlue Lite – Takes 4 sim cards and can handle 4 concurrent calls. Passes voice on to Freedom Fone.
        Note: VoiceBlue Lite requires Windows for SMS handling, hence Freedom Fone does receive SMS messages from this device.
        Cost approx EUR 900.
    • We have been able to negotiate lower pricing on the above devices for Freedom Fone users. If you'd like assistance with procurement, write to us at info [at] freedomfone [dot] org.
  3. How much will it cost to set up and run my Freedom Fone service?
    • a dedicated computer
    • Single phone line configuration
      • 1 x MobiGater and sim card
    • Multi-phoneline configuration
      • One or more OfficeRoute GSM gateways
      • Multiple sim cards
    • speakers or headphones (to listen to voice messages and test menus)
    • microphone for recording original audio material
    • mini-disc recorder (or mp3 recorder) for field recordings
    • backup power supply to keep system up 24/7 eg inverter or large UPS
    • salary costs for manager/editor/programme officer
    • airtime for pre-paid lines (normally just enough to keep the lines open/activated)
    • cost of promotional SMS updates (likely sent out using FrontlineSMS or bulk gateway for now)
    • advertising costs to inform people about the service
    • normal admin overheads - rent, power, water