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mobile phone use overseas
Old 10-11-2007, 12:32 PM   #1
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mobile phone use overseas

DD has applied to study in Scotland next semester. Has anyone found an economical way to communicate back home while overseas? I know her current phone plan would be prohibitively expensive in Scotland, even if it works, which I seriously doubt. I can't face five months of DW wondering about how DD is doing with no way to call and find out.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:17 PM   #2
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Skype - internet calls - download Skype free now - free calls - official website
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:50 PM   #3
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Thanks Trek,

I'll look into that option. Maybe I'll move home phone to that exclusively. I'm fed up with AT&T.
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Old 10-11-2007, 05:49 PM   #4
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Another option is Google Talk, similar to skype.

I use a lot of Google free online services, including document sharing, sharable spread sheets and my new best friend, google calendars. They work like sharable outlook calendars, but are accessible anywhere there's an internet connection
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:19 PM   #5
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Vonage. Get her a phone number that is local to yours so all the calls are local. I believe she will need a broadband connection. $24.95 for unlimited calling. Her phone number follows her wherever she takes her Vonage modem.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:56 PM   #6
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I second skype. My wife and I use it to keep in touch when she travels abroad. We use it with webcams and use it as a videophone. I also use skype to call my folks in Europe. Saves me hundreds on my phone bill... The only thing you need is an internet connection.
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:00 AM   #7
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Ques - skype vs Vonage:

I understand what Buckeye says, I have friends that have done this. You local number 'stays' with the little Vonage VOIP box you carry with you. So, when you are anywhere in the world with fast internet, a call from that local area to/from that phone is billed as local call. Even from regular old phones (POTS-plain old telephone system).

Does Skype work that way? Or does the caller need a skype type phone/account?

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PS - I am concerned that Vonge may go under. Their stock is ~ $2 from the $17 IPO.
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:20 AM   #8
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Ques - skype vs Vonage:

I understand what Buckeye says, I have friends that have done this. You local number 'stays' with the little Vonage VOIP box you carry with you. So, when you are anywhere in the world with fast internet, a call from that local area to/from that phone is billed as local call. Even from regular old phones (POTS-plain old telephone system).

Does Skype work that way? Or does the caller need a skype type phone/account?

-ERD50

PS - I am concerned that Vonge may go under. Their stock is ~ $2 from the $17 IPO.
With Skype you can get a local number as well but you don't need any kind of modem to carry around. Just a computer and a fast connection. You can log into Skype from any computer that Skype is loaded on and make your calls.

For example, I have a local Florida number with Skype (you get free Voicemail too) that my friends call and it rings me here in Estonia or wherever I am. I can be logged into Skype at an internet cafe in Taiwan and they can call me there. Nothing to carry around. And for me to call any number in the US from Estonia costs me 2 cents a minute. I have a little Personal communication device called a Mylo with Skype loaded on it and it comes with a built in mic and earpiece. So when I travel for example if I can get a WIFI connection at an airport or wherever, I can make and receive calls with it.

Oh and they do have Skype phones that you can buy and you don't even need your computer, just the phone and any broadband connection gets you service.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:30 AM   #9
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Wow! This is all great information. It'll be fun to get it all worked out.
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Can't you see yourself in the nursing home saying, " Darn! Wish I'd spent more time at the office instead of wasting time with family and friends."
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:37 PM   #10
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Another thought, you can buy a GSM compatible phone and SIM card (search web, there are tons of them) and just pay as you go.

Downside is (I think) you'd get a UK phone number with the SIM card, which means your family stateside has to pay $$$ to call you (or use Skype!)
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:07 PM   #11
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Another thought, you can buy a GSM compatible phone and SIM card (search web, there are tons of them) and just pay as you go.

Downside is (I think) you'd get a UK phone number with the SIM card, which means your family stateside has to pay $$$ to call you (or use Skype!)
My wife has a blackberry with T-mobile (one of only a few US providers using GSM) and it works like a dream in Europe and India. But it costs $$$$$ when she uses it overseas. Though it is great for quick phone calls or text messages when you don't have access to the internet, for longer calls skype is still much much cheaper.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:14 PM   #12
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Another option is using international calling cards. They are cheap and you can find them almost everywhere. If you don't have a cell phone while overseas you can use any phone to call a toll-free number (they usually have a list of toll free numbers for each country in the back of the card), enter your card number and pin, and they'll connect you to the phone number of your choice. They are convenient, the only bad thing is that you have to make sure you don't run out of minutes in the middle of a call. Personally, I would still go with skype though...
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:00 PM   #13
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One provider of GSM world phones and sim cards is www.telestial.com, I have not done business with them, just found them on a web search.

They have a promotional package for $49 that looks like it would surely get you started.
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:38 PM   #14
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Friends orignally from Denver bought Vonage to use in PV. They now have 2 accounts, one business and one personal. On the personal account they have local numbers in Texas and Wisconsin.

They have a converter that turns all the phones in their house/office to use their Vonage line. But they visited us here and just brought a portable phone that is about the size of a compact cordless. It enabled them to answer and make calls using our WiFi connection. Very cool. It seems to combine the best of both worlds. No computer required at either end.

I am not worried about the Vonage future. They would get acquired before they went under.
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Old 10-13-2007, 01:14 PM   #15
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They have a converter that turns all the phones in their house/office to use their Vonage line. But they visited us here and just brought a portable phone that is about the size of a compact cordless. It enabled them to answer and make calls using our WiFi connection. Very cool. It seems to combine the best of both worlds. No computer required at either end.

I am not worried about the Vonage future. They would get acquired before they went under.
That does sound good - very flexible, have your home phone with you anywhere there is WiFi.

I'm still concerned about VG going under. As I understand it, the IPO was a desperation move - they had already hoped to be bought out, but no one came up with an offer. So they went to the public, and that $17 IPO closed at ~ $15 the first day of trading, and is now at $1.85. Another VOIP provider went under a few months back - peoples lines just went dead. I don't think the ones that pre-paid for a year of service even got their remaining months reimbursed.

-ERD50
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Old 10-13-2007, 01:40 PM   #16
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That does sound good - very flexible, have your home phone with you anywhere there is WiFi.
-ERD50
You can do the same thing with Skype too. Just get a Skype phone and talk anywhere you can get WIFI.

Skype Phone - Skype Headset - Skype Web Cam - Skype WiFi Phone - Accessories
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Old 10-13-2007, 02:34 PM   #17
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You can do the same thing with Skype too. Just get a Skype phone and talk anywhere you can get WIFI.

Skype Phone - Skype Headset - Skype Web Cam - Skype WiFi Phone - Accessories
Yes, I saw that Skype has the WiFi phones too, cool. That Skype site confuses me though, maybe you can decode it for me.

I need to get SkypeIn to get a phone number so that people can call me, right? That is just $5/month for a one year commitment ($6.month for 3 months).


No Emergency Calls Skype is not a replacement for your ordinary telephone and canít be used for emergency calling.

Does that mean I can't even place a 911 call? Or just that it does not give a location?

If I buy SkypeIn, does that include free calls OUT to the US? Or is SkypeIn purchased in addition to SkypeOut ($2.5/month for one year) Their web site seems a bit cryptic to me.

Still a bargain if you need both. $7.50/month and some $99 phones - lots of flexibility. Still a little nervous to drop the landline w/o 911 location. One event could be life/death and the cost of a land line would seem like very cheap insurance.

Their $99 phone does not appear to have a charger dock - that would be a no-go in our household. It looks like the $149 phone does.

Thanks,
-ERD50
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Old 10-13-2007, 07:41 PM   #18
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I will be so disappointed if Vonage goes under. I have been with them since they started. They are a better deal than what Time Warner offers but TWC's marketing muscle is huge.

Stock price doesn't necessarily mean anything about whether a company goes under or thrives, does it? Didn't several high flyers go bust? It's a reflection of how the public values the company but it that doesn't always mean a lot, especially on the high side. I agree they have some negative stuff going on but hopefully they can pull it together and keep going.
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:49 PM   #19
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Buckeye, I hope you are right. I love to see competition in the phone industry. All this modern tech allows this stuff to be done on the cheap (remember when AOL charged - was it 10 cents - per email?). But the old established companies have a strong hold on the market.

Actually, AT&T provides a fairly reasonable digital phone service in our area. I'm tempted to get it, just to avoid any hassles in switching, but I keep rooting for the underdogs.

-ERD50
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:15 PM   #20
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Yabbut the digital phone service from the main carriers is not usually portable.
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