Aug 13 2006
Inexpensive synchronous communication: you need to talk!
Many communities need to use phone calls and teleoconferences to “think together.” (See related articles.) That can become expensive (a one-hour call from Denmark to the US can cost $20), so inexpensive alternatives are important (a pre-paid phone card with a scratch-off pin code can be half as expensive). A Google search for “international phone card your-country-name” will provide useful alternatives.
The obvious advantage of voice-over-IP communication between people who are online is that of cost but even PC-to-phone communication can still represent a significant saving on international calls, especially for people living in countries with limited competition in telecommunications. For the cost savings compared to standard phone calls you are likely to pay a price (i.e., lags and reduced audio quality). It works best if you use headphones.
There are a number of services of different kinds which are easily available. These include PC to phone services such as iconnect and go2call and pc to pc voice over ip communication such as that possible using Groove or Paltalk . There are several alternative services to consider. If you are calling a telephone bridge, it’s worth testing it in advance because some bridges don’t like some connection routes.
PC to Phone
- http://messenger.yahoo.com (Uses net2phone costs 2 cents per minute in US, 3 cents between the US and Germany)
PC to PC
- Instant Messengers (MSN, Yahoo!, etc.)
Other cheap phone services: