Cost of staying in touch

Written by admin on April 24, 2008 – 6:33 pm -

A friend and I were chatting on Skype just a few days ago, we couldn’t help but talk about how much we spent on our phone bills ten years ago. I spent at least USD 500 a month to call my wife everyday with our conversations averaging around 15 to 20 minutes. Fast forward to today, I can chat for hours (and to answer your question, yes I yak a lot) and all I pay for is my monthy broadband connection.  Nowadays Filipino expats are very lucky to have the internet to be able to keep in touch with relatives. This kind of connectivity was unthinkable 15 years ago. I remember our neighbors, whose fathers were mostly working in the middle east recording voice tapes to send to their loved ones. Over the years the internet improved, and we had email, then instant messaging and now Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP.

I personally use Skype and so do most of my friends and relatives. I run Skype on my Samung Q1 UMPC and use KT Wibro for my internet connection, you can probably tell that  I am a sucker for wireless connections that why I use a bluetooth headset so that there are no wires that get in the way.  I buy Skype Out credits for calling landlines and I have Skype In number that my contacts can call using a regular telephone. As of this time Skype In numbers are not available for the Philipines, which means you cannot have a Skype In number with a Philippine country and city code (ex. +632 xxx-xxxx). So the only solution for calling the Philippines would be to have your contact be a Skype member. Remember you don’t get charged for calling Skype to Skype, you only get charged when you call landlines.

What if you are technically challenged or you don’t want to use a PC for Skype? A Skype Wifi Phone allows you to make calls over a wifi network, you can be at home, at the airport, the office or sipping your mocha latte in a coffee shop making call over a broadband wifi connection for next to nothing. There are dozens of Skype Wifi phones out there but for those living in South Korea the Belkin Skype Wifi Phone seems to be popular choice.

 Belkin Skype Wifi Phone

Also available are cordless phones that have Skype built into them, which means they function like a normal cordless phone when plugged into your phone line and at the same time as a Skype phone when it’s plugged into your internet (broadband) router.

Philips Skype Cordless

The Skype WiFi phone will put you back around USD 150, so buying two, one for yourself and the other for your relatives might seem a bit costly, but if you think about it, you can talk to them anytime and until your jaw hurts from yakkin’, then it doesn’t seem so expensive anymore does it?  Just keep in mind that if you’re planning to send and install one in the Philippines, they need to have a broadband internet connection and a wireless router installed.


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