How I Saved 98% On Overseas Phone Calls

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If you have friends or family that you regularly call, you should consider the cost saving possibilities with Skype (affiliate link).  If you have friends or family overseas, you really need to check out Skype overseas calling options.

How Skype Changed the Dynamics of Overseas Calling

My family moved to Papua New Guinea in May 2006.  At that time, there was only one option for calls to North America – the local land line.  At that time, we paid $1.50 (USD) per minute.

After a year when we FINALLY got cell phones, (yes, in 2007) our rates for calls to North America dropped to 35 cents per minute off-peak and 50 cents per minute peak.

Then, just last year, (2009) high speed internet access pranced into town.  With high speed internet, we also welcomed Skype to the mix.

I’ve recently learned about another option called Magic Jack – I have a Magic Jack review here.

Craig’s completely unrelated note: When I started semi-professionally blogging in May 2009, we did not have internet at our house.  I started the blog on furlough and planned to make do when we got back.  By the time we arrived back in PNG, we had high speed internet.  It was so amazing.  Just two months ago I got internet in my office.  Long gone are the days of standing on my lawn trying to get a wireless signal.

Benefits of Skype:

No peak and off peak segments. You pay one rate regardless of the time of the call.  This might not seem like a big deal unless you have lived overseas.  I’ve had too many occasions where I had to wake up early or stay up late to call because I knew it was going to be a longer call.

No contracts required. You can pay month by month, so if you want to get a subscription for just one month, that is fine.

Free to sign up and activate account. You can start making free computer to computre calls as soon as you sign up.

Video calling features. You can use video (computer to computer).  This is a great way for relatives to see growing kids.  Unfortunately, in our case, our bandwidth is so limited that we cannot use the video features.

You can use Skype to send SMS’s.

Calling 1-800 numbers from outside the US. We’ve had problems calling 1-800 numbers from PNG.  As a result, we’ve had to ask family members to make calls to 1-800 numbers on our behalf.  However, using this service, we can now make free 1-800 calls to the US and Canada.

Skype Calling Rates

Computer to Computer

If you call from Skype on your computer to another customer, you pay nothing.  This is true regardless of their location anywhere in the world.  I can now talk with my parents for 30 minutes and there is no cost (other than my regular internet fees).

Single Call

Skype call costs are almost non-existent.  In our case, we pay around 2-3 cents per minute for calls to landlines in the United States and Canada.  Sure beats the $1.50 per minute we used to pay just four years ago.  That is a 98% savings.

One gripe I is that to make a call you need to buy units, but they start selling their units around $15.00.  In my case, I knew that if I were to make 42 minutes of calls on my cell phone, it would cost the same as the Skype credits.  With the $15.00 credit, I can now make about 500 minutes of calls, so I figured it was worth buying the $15.00 credit.

Just last week my wife called her parents in the States.  The 20ish minute call cost around 60 cents.  Sure beats $30.

Monthly Calling Plans

Unlimited calling to the United States and Canada only costs just shy of $2.50 per month.  This includes calls to both landlines and mobile phones.

For about $12.00 per month, you can get unlimited calling worldwide (includes about 40 countries).

Not Just For Overseas Calls

How about unlimited calls in the States and Canada for $1.95?  Not bad, eh?

Sure, you could pay $40.00 for a cell phone to say you are getting free minutes, or you could get a prepaid calling card and then make your unlimited calls from home with Skype.  But, hey, I’m probably the only person who is willing to save $300 per year by calling on Skype instead of my cell phone.

Phone Call Quality

I’ve been quite impressed with the call quality.  For us, during the day we get a terrible connection (this is due to our internet, not Skype).  However, at night we often have a better connection.  Truth be told, when we use either of our other phones we usually have a 2-3 second delay, so it’s not like there is a good alternative either way.

If you have good high speed internet and the receiver does too, you can expect clear and crisp calls.

Skype should not be used as an alternative to a landline/cell phone due to the necessity of emergency calling features.  When your computer does not work, Skype will not work either.

Check out Skype now.

Anyone else use Skype?  How does it save you money?

Comments

  1. says

    I live and work in China and I love love love Skype! I practically never call a landline since all of my family also uses Skype, including my grandparents.

    If you do call a landline from Skype, the person you’re calling may screen the call and decide not to answer the call since they’re going to be looking at a really weird number. I’ve had this happen a few times. Since the initial connection fee is a few cents more expensive than the per minute cost, I use my email to send a text message to the person I’m going to call to alert them of my call so they know to pick it up.

    Other than a little interference during peak times (US time), I can’t complain about Skype at all. You can even share your screen, which is great for sharing pictures and video clips with my family and friends without uploading it online. I purchased some Skype credit more than six months ago and I still have $9.73 left. At this rate I’ll never use it up! :)

  2. Scott Ferguson says

    I have never used Skype but just may want to look into it! I wonder if Skype only works on desktops and laptops or if it would also work through the internet connection on my iphone so that I could still be mobile when I call?

    • says

      @Scott
      I don’t see why you couldn’t use the internet connection on your iphone. With that said I am not the right person to answer any technical questions. Either way you should check it out.

  3. says

    Skype is amazing! I started using it in 2008 when we had started an online Bible study we had kicked off. Being able to talk and all be in an online chartroom was amazing. Even using it to talk to our family in Australia has been a blessing.
    .-= lencib: Falling into Favor´s last blog ..Not in Agreement =-.

  4. says

    The Honeybee uses Skype all the time computer to computer. I’ll be cooking dinner in the kitchen and I’ll hear her having a conversation with friends of hers in Europe or, say, her Dad on the East Coast – regardless, the sound quality always seems to be excellent! At least as good as my cell phone – and it’s free!

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

  5. Robert says

    I’ve wondered about internet security using Skype or Skype-like systems…Is someone/anyone able to mine my computer for any personal information? Would I inadvertantly be opening up my computer to virus infections and other malware and bad stuff? Could a computer tech person out there respond to this question and tell me/us what our security and/or infection risk is using Skype or Skype-like systems? THANKS! (from the technologically challenged)

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