How to Use Skype to Save on International Calls
Calling cards used to be the way to save, but now there's a new standard to avoid high international roaming charges. Skype is a simple service that allows users to chat, talk, or video chat over the Internet. Best of all, Skype-to-Skype calls are free, though there's a small fee to call a landline or mobile number.
Even if your phone works internationally, remember to check with your provider before you travel to avoid surprises when you return. At this writing, there is a proposal in Western Europe to bring down costs, but roaming rates would not even begin to decline until July 1, 2012. (See details on The New York Times: In Europe, a Move to Slash Phone Roaming Calls.) TIP: To avoid high rates for simply receiving voicemails and text messages, don't forget to turn off international roaming on your phone before you arrive.
1. Download the free program on laptop or app on your smartphone.
Download the computer program at Skype.com or through your app store. The mobile apps can be used on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation (with iOS 4.0 or above), as well as on Blackberry, Android 3G smartphones, and certain multimedia phones. For video chat, you'll need a forward-facing camera.
2. Create a Skype account for free.
When you join, you'll choose a Skype name and set up a password. Contacts can be added manually or imported from sources such as Facebook, gmail, and MSN. To save the most, make sure your key contacts have Skype accounts too.
3. Decide between free and subscription options.
Skype-to-Skype calls are free but to call a mobile number or landline, you'll need to buy credits. Prices range from pay-as-you-go calls to the U.S. for 2.3¢/minute up to an unlimited world plan for about $14/month. There are special plans based on regions, countries, and also options to enable group video calling.
4. Find and connect to wi-fi.
This step is key to avoid charges from your cell phone carrier. If you don't have access to free wi-fi, you can also pay by the minute with skype credits at over 500,000 locations worldwide.
5. Call family and friends.
Use Skype to chat, call, or video call your friends worldwide. Just don't forget to factor in the time difference!
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Member Comments (4) Post a Comment
If you want to put in a little more work up front so that you dont have to deal with having an extra app; gingerbread integrates internet calls directly so you can forward your number to SIP and whenever you are connected to the internet (wifi or 3g) your phone will ring normally and outgoing calls will be made by IP.
Search for "SIP calls on android" there are many guides out there. Unlocked Iphones offer the same possibility.
I downloaded Skype to my Itouch, bought a set of headphones with mic ($8), got a skype credit of $10 and it’s been the greatest and less expensive way to keep in touch with family when I travel abroad. I use it from India and I talked without restrictions because the minutes are really cheap (unlike when you used a calling card), lately I used it in Brazil and for $10 I think that I talked more than 3 hours in total since we had an emergency and had to call to the US several times.
I use Amivox. It allows me to use my landline, my mobile and my computer under the same account. Prices are extremely low but quality is as with conventional telephony. Here is an article that made me try the service and I am hooked to them since: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iris-lee/cool-icelandic-phone-tech_1_b_1169372.html
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