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Madrid City in English
Thursday 23rd of November 2017
6th of July 2011 by admin 22nd of October 2011
Getting well connected

If ET mentioned phoning home today, he’d have phone operators chasing him round the planet. All of them want your business—but if you’re just looking to call across borders or continents, which offer the best options? Andrew Sheehan investigates

Whether it’s Christmas, New Year or any other holiday season, sooner or later you have to part from your family and friends. “Keep in touch” or “give us a call” are popular parting comments, but with so many ways and means of communicating in the digital age, which are the cheapest and most effective? From the enormous telecom market, we’ve managed to identify a few competitive players, which means you may be able to call Mum, Dad, brother, sister and even Great Uncle Harold without all of the funds disappearing from your bank account.

Jajah
Jajah is an internet based phone service, which acts as an intermediary between you and the person that you want to call. The caller logs into their Jajah account, and inputs the desired phone number. Jajah calls the numbers of both the caller and receiver, then connects the two lines. The savings come from the fact that you are talking through Jajah’s systems, not your phone operator’s. No software is required, and the company also offer cheap landline calls, the details for which can be found on their website. Jajah’s calling rates can be found at www.jajah.com/prices.

Vonage
Vonage is a US-Based internet phone operator, which has recently released the Vonage Mobile Facebook App. If you own an iPhone, iPod Touch (2nd Generation or newer), or Android phone, you can download this app to your mobile for free. With Vonage Mobile you can talk to any of your Facebook friends anywhere in the world, as long as they also have the app, free of charge. To make calls your phone must be connected to the internet via either a Wi-Fi network or 3G connection (my own experience suggests that calls over Wi-Fi have much better quality, and calling over 3G will use up your data allowance). Once installed on your phone and registered, the application will automatically list any of your Facebook friends who also have the Vonage Mobile App installed. You can then immediately begin calling. For more information go to www.vonagemobile.com/facebook.
    Vonage also provides a regular phone service in which users pay a fixed monthly rate and maintain a phone number. It works by connecting a small “Vonage adapter” to your existing internet connection, to which you then attach your telephone. Vonage subscribers are able to call any numbers in the US and Canada, as well as most landlines in Western Europe at no additional charge. Rates vary per country, for more info check out www.vonage.com, and select your country in the top left hand corner of the home page.

Google
Google Talk is a chat service, which allows users to communicate via audio and/or video. Gmail users are automatically users of Google Talk. The Google Talk chat client can be downloaded from the following URL www.google.com/talk/. By installing the “Video and Voice plugin”, (also available at the previous URL) users can be chatting away in minutes with audio and video when they log into Google. All communication over Google Talk is free of charge, the only requirement being that users on both ends have Google Talk accounts and of course internet connections. To create an account, go to talk.google.com.

SkypeSkype: you never know when Brad Pitt might give you a tinkle
Skype is the grandfather of internet calling and usually the default choice when it comes to making international phone calls; in fact over 10% of all international calls are placed via Skype. It runs on all  popular operating systems, and on a variety of mobile platforms. Skype calls from your mobile can be placed over your 3G connection (directly with your mobile company) if a Wi-Fi network is not available; however placing calls via 3G will eat up your data allowance. Skype also supports chatting and video calls (provided users on both ends have the necessary hardware).
    Another feature, Skype To Go numbers, is a great way to enjoy cost savings without being tied to your computer. The feature lets you assign a local number for your location to someone who would normally be long distance. For example, if I’m travelling in New York, I can assign a local number to my wife’s Spanish cell phone. I then call the local number whilst in New York and Skype will connect me directly to her mobile in Spain at low cost. This works essentially the same way as the Jajah service mentioned earlier, so that calling through Skype’s system saves on long distance charges. Skype To Go cannot yet assign a local Spanish number, so it’s a service that works only if you’re calling to Spain from abroad, but local numbers are available for many other countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK. The To Go service can be a great solution for family and friends back home to get in touch with you easily. Another useful feature of Skype is the ability to set a permanent Caller ID for your outbound calls. By setting the ID, people receiving your calls will see the phone number you specify, rather than a random number or “unknown” caller. Skype’s rates can be found here http://www.skype.com/intl/en/prices.

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