Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tech Column: Calling Overseas

by Bill Adler

Why do we use the phrase “calling overseas” when we mean “calling internationally?” Last I checked, there are a number of countries that are not overseas, but which fall under the international dialing cartel organized by the various land and cellular phone companies. But never mind. On to how to make inexpensive international calls.

Most of us are familiar with Skype, which can used to make free computer to computer calls anywhere in the world. (There are many other services that do this, too.) But sometimes it’s simply more convenient to use an actual phone, rather than a computer, which, among other things, can be rather inconvenient to hold against your ear while walking down Connecticut Avenue.

Jajah, http://www.jajah.com, is a handy service for making international calls from a physical phone. Prices vary depending on the country called and whether you’re calling a land line or cell phone. Using Jajah to call England, for example, costs 3.2 cents a minute if you call a land line, and 21 cents a minute to call a cell phone. What I like about Jahah is that you make your call from your regular land line or cell phone. You can see Jajah’s rate’s here: www.jajah.com/prices. With Jajajah, you enter in the phone number of the person you want to call in another country and you’re assigned a local phone number for that person. Then just dial the local number and you’re connected. Jajah has mobile apps for both the iPhone and Android phone, platform.jajah.com/mobile-app, so you can initiate a call from your cell phone.

Google Voice, www.google.com/voice, is another way to make inexpensive international calls from your regular land line or cell phone. Google Voice works a little differently from Jajah. You need to initiate the call from the web. Google Voice will call your designated phone and when you answer your land line or cell phone, it will dial the number you want to call in the other country. Google Voice will also announce the rate before making the connection. You can use the Google Voice app directly on your smart phone to call at the same rate. Google Voice calls are less expensive than Jajah: A call to the UK, for example, is 2 cents a minute to a land line and 10 cents a minute to a cell phone. Google Voice’s rate chart is here: www.google.com/voice/rates.


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft . He tweets at @billadler.

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