Overseas calling

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by traveldawg, Mar 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. traveldawg

    traveldawg Silver Member

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    Plz someone - looking for info about easy/inexpensive overseas phone solutions. I travel with an AT&T iPhone and their rates are horrid. I looked into PennyTalk, but it appears to only work FROM the USA to overseas. I am looking for something FROM my overseas destination back to the US. AT&T wants $1.39/minute from Iceland. Sure, I can pay extra for a plan and bring it down to $1.29/minute - but still not conducive for anything but a very short conversation.

    Am sure you have some ideas for me to explore.
     
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  2. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

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    Unfortunately there is not simple way to just use your phone like you do at home from the moment you land that is cheap.

    The best solution is to find a hotspot somewhere and use a local internet connection (ie not roaming data) and make a call on Skype or GTalk or the like.

    If you want to maintain cellular capabilities you need to pick up a local SIM card and get an unlocked phone (or unlock the phone you currently have). This can still be expensive depending on the country and the plans they have though in some places it can be dirt cheap compared to the arm and leg ATT charges.
     
  3. GoneFlying
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    GoneFlying Silver Member

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    Look at a VoIP solution and a softphone (suggest X-Lite) on your PC if you're on a wireless network -- a few reliable VoIP carriers include Teliax, Vitelity, and CallCentric ( http://www.teliax.com/ --- http://www.vitelity.net/ --- http://www.callcentric.com/ ) --- CallCentric will provide you an iNum for free as well.

    I actually use all three IP carriers at the moment, but have a setup with an Asterisk server that I can remotely connect to from overseas.
     
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  4. slice19
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    slice19 Silver Member

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    If you have access to wireless internet on your phone at a cheaper rate or even on a computer, use Google talk. Calling to the US i free from anywhere and the quality is, IMO, better than Skype. Skype is also a great option to run from smartphones.
     
  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I use Skype or GoogleTalk for outgoing. For incoming I use local prepaid in countries I am in a lot, and elsewhere I no longer have access at all. I tried MAXRoam but they were horrible and inefffective.
     
  6. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    I use jajah.com but that doesn't help you, because you're paying for incoming calls on your iphone. Jajah places a call to you and a call to the person you want to reach, so both parties receive inbound calls. In my case it works great when I call Italy, or when I'm in Italy using my vodafone chip, because then there are no inbound charges; I just pay a nominal fee to jajah. (a fraction of a cent a minute to call landlines, but about 22 cents u.s./minute to call an Italian cell phone, since those operators charge the caller).​
     
  7. Laptop Nomad

    Laptop Nomad Silver Member

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    I love skype and if the party you are calling has skype the call is free. If you travel a lot get a world subscription for around $13.00/ month you get 10,000 min a month. I have never had a problem with them. I do get a local sim card to call locally. I also have a call forward service to any phone in the world I send it to.
     
  8. Robin
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    Robin Silver Member

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  9. Tivoboy
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    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

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    Wow, we should really make a sticky for this type of topic since it will come up often.

    You best option would be wifi or cheap 3g in the country/countries you are visiting and then using skype or fringo, or ooma or vonage apps for "free" domestic calling. I always use skype when travelling internationally, the monthly fee is only 2.95$ for unlimited domestic calling which gets me to the USA for most of my calls. If I need to call internationally, I simply call my onesuite.com domestic number (for free with skype) and then dial internationally for what is .01$ to about .08$ cpm anywhere in the world.

    If you can get a SIM card in the country you are traveling to and have an UNLOCKED cell/iphon phone, you can usually get some form of unlimited 3g services in THAT COUNTRY for between 3$ a day or about 30$ a month. That means you aren't chained to a hotspot for calling and can simply make calls using the VOIP app over the 3G connection. Quality is very good

    What I usually do with AT&T is forward my AT&T number to a google voice number when I get on the outbound flight. From there, if someone calls me it hits my google voice VOICEMAIL and sends me a text that I have a new voicemail. Incoming texts on most carriers come out of your MONTHLY ALLOTEMENT. Outbound texts can be more expensive, but if you by some upfront in bulk you can get it down to .10$ per outbound intentional text. If you are a big texter, get a FREE TEXTING program like Textfree+ or another, or even use the googlevoice app for free texting to the USA and I THINK international.

    This will enable you to make cheap calls AND when people call your domestic number they can still actually get through to you in a way. they won't GET you directly, but you can always call them back.
     
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  10. traveldawg

    traveldawg Silver Member

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    Want to thank everyone for the many & various ideas. Nothing is easy, is it? Regardless, some exploring to do and thnx for your usual expertise.
     
  11. Justin Johnson
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    Justin Johnson Silver Member

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    I know this wont help the OP. But T-mo has wifi calling for its new Android phones. I use that in combination with Google voice for travel calls/txt. You have to have wifi access or a local sim-card with data access, but it lets you keep your current phone number. So no giving out a temp number and I don't have to worry about people spending a lot of money when the call me.
     
  12. emajy
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    emajy Silver Member

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    I just got back from Germany and picked up an O2 sim. Paid 15 euros for the sim, 20 euros for phone time and 10 euros for unlimited data. Couple that with the iPhone Skype app along with Google Voice made it simple and inexpensive.
     
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  13. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    A very good discussion forum is http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/
    From their "about" info:
    I've found it very helpful in learning about how to get sim cards in different countries, how to configure phones to function properly, how to find good pricing, and so forth.
     
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  14. lhrsfo
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    lhrsfo Silver Member

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    Rather than forwarding my calls to Google Voice, which then just sends a text, I forward them to my SkypeIn number. If I'm on Skype at my destination, then the call comes straight through to me, otherwise it goes to voicemail. The Skype app on the iPhone works outside the US when you are on wifi, so even a locked iPhone will be useful in that regard.
     
  15. Tivoboy
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    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

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    this is a very good site for prepaid and other GSM topics, been around for years.
     
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  16. Tivoboy
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    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

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    this works great too, just make sure that you don't have skype open on an android or iphone, IF you are on a limited data bandwidth sim card, since skype will use a LOT of data to do a call. I prefer to just get the text when someone calls me, and then call them back IF I am on a service or wifi that is offering me no limit to my calling/data usage.
     
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  17. below sea level
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    below sea level Silver Member

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    I have Skype installed on all of my portable devices and have an online number that goes directly to my account. I receive an email each time somebody leaves me a voicemail. That way I can choose whether to return the call or not.
     
  18. sagefemme52
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    sagefemme52 Silver Member

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    Several years ago I picked up a "Magicjack" device. For $19.95/yr. I use it to place all my calls back to the US, using my laptop and a good high speed connection. I found sound quality to be very dependent on a good high speed connection when I first started using it, now either my connections are all a lot better and/or Magicjack has improved their own software, and sound quality now seems consistently high. I too forward my landline and cell phone to my Google Voice #, so I get all my voicemails in one place, and can then decide who to call back. In addition I carry an older GSM phone and buy SIM chips as I go, if I want to make local calls. Last year I tried the Verizon Global phone service, it was wonderful having unlimited data(which is all I used it for, since phone calls were expensive), for a very reasonable upcharge from my domestic monthly data plan, but sadly they have changed this program enough so that it would now be cost prohibitive.
     
  19. A system I've used for a while is Rebtel. Easier than Skype for calling from phone, mobile or hotel. Free between many countries. www.rebtel.com
     
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  20. GoneFlying
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    GoneFlying Silver Member

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    I was just in Costa Rica and the WiFi network at my hotel wasn't very good from their access point.

    I couldn't get a good connection to my server in Louisville to setup an SSH/Tunnel, as I often tunnel to my machine in Louisville when traveling and tap into Asterisk remotely & surf the net via my proxy server.

    In some parts of Costa Rica I can get excellent broadband, including SJO's WiFi network, but it's not always the case from hotels, even places like the Hilton Garden Inn @ Liberia.

    Using X-Lite, a VoIP software program, I was able to connect to Teliax's Denver POP without problem; X-lite uses the SIP protocol and it appeared I was using the ulaw/pmcu codec for the calls; but despite high latency & slow speeds, all calls I placed (and received) were high quality.

    For others who use VoIP, what codecs do you typically use? I have multiple channels of g729a legally licensed on my Asterisk server from Digium. Most calls would use 'pass-thru g729' as until recently had my network optimized for g729a. Now, I've backed off of g729 use in favor of ulaw/pcmu depending on provider. As far as protocols, a mix of SIP & IAX2, but I'm very happy with Teliax for international calling.

    If anyone needs Asterisk help or suggestions, let me know. Running an Asterisk box makes my life much easier on the road.
     
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  21. chanp
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    chanp Silver Member

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    I use google. Free to the states and canada
     
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  22. ShopAround
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    ShopAround Silver Member

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    I get two local SIMs, one for my cell phone and a data SIM for my MiFi. Then I have my own wifi signal and can Skype without having to worry about the cost or quality of my hotel's connection.
     
  23. sagefemme52
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    sagefemme52 Silver Member

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    Where outside the US do you use the MiFi?
     
  24. ShopAround
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    ShopAround Silver Member

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    I have a Novatel MiFi 2352, for use with European networks. I've used it in England, Ireland, France and Italy so far.
     
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  25. sagefemme52
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    sagefemme52 Silver Member

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    Thanks; as for the data SIM, did you buy a separate one in each country or have you found one that lets you roam without costing a fortune?
     

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