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Staying In Touch From Abroad Using VoIP  
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1940 posts, RR: 9
Posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1499 times:

Hello there

I know a lot of you spend quite a bit some time on the road and as such probably find it a bit hard to keep in touch with loved ones back home.

I am in Shanghai on a 1.5 year assignment and I'm finding it a bit more troublesome to keep in touch compared to when I was in Singapore.

I welcome all advise, especially that of those of you who are living or have lived in China. Here is the story:

1) I decided to cancel my Vonage account (US VoIP service) because it ties me down to home. I tried the Vonage for BlackBerry app but turns out you can only use it while you are on US soil.

2) I started to use Skype and got an unlimited account to make calls from the computer. This generally works great, but the internet connection at the hotel has been spotty so either the quality of the call is not great or it drops it frequently. I am hoping that once I settle into a permanent apartment the internet will be good and so will the quality of the calls.

3) Skype says they will launch a BlackBerry app in May (although so far it seems it will only be available for Verizon customers (in the US). Still, this would be useless for me as my company has installed a service book on my BB that doesn't alloy a 3G connection on China Mobile (my BB service provider).

4) I'm thinking of shelling out ~US$350 - 400 for an iPhone and getting either a 2GB data plan for RMB200 or an unlimited data plan for RMB500 per month (would be great if anyone could give me any idea of how much data I would use if I make about 2 - 3 1-hour long calls every day. This will also depend on the speed of China Mobile's 3G network, but my understanding is that it works quite well.

5) Someone recommended Rebtel, but I haven't heard much about it so I don't want to sign up for yet another service that won't work quite well.

All other ideas to stay in touch are welcome! Btw, I make most of my calls either to Singapore or to the US.

Cheers
Coal


Nxt Flts: UA FLL-EWR-HKG | SQ HKG-SIN | MI SIN-KUL | MH KUL-RGN | K7 RGN-NYU-HEH-MDL-RGN | MH RGN-KUL-SIN | SQ SIN-SYD
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8709 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1486 times:

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):

1) I decided to cancel my Vonage account (US VoIP service) because it ties me down to home. I tried the Vonage for BlackBerry app but turns out you can only use it while you are on US soil.

As it happens I work for a VoIP company.

Even though they are a competitor, you maybe should not have terminated your Vonage account. The ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter - the little box you had plugged into your router and into which you plugged your phone) does not care where it is. Plug it into any router anywhere in the world, and your home phone number is active on it - just don't tell Vonage that you are in China.



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1940 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1476 times:

Additionally, can anyone confirm that if I buy an unlocked iPhone from, say, eBay, would this work in China? I hear they use different 3G technology.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: UA FLL-EWR-HKG | SQ HKG-SIN | MI SIN-KUL | MH KUL-RGN | K7 RGN-NYU-HEH-MDL-RGN | MH RGN-KUL-SIN | SQ SIN-SYD
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8042 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1471 times:

When I traveled overseas on business I used video conferencing with a Mac. iChat is better than Skype because it has about twice the fps. While I prefer iChat my wife uses Skype thees days to talk to her brother in Australia as he's on a PC.

Might also wait until we see if Apple has added a video chat camera on the iPad. There are rumors on this and we'll see April 3rd.


User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1940 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1471 times:

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 1):
As it happens I work for a VoIP company.

Even though they are a competitor, you maybe should not have terminated your Vonage account. The ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter - the little box you had plugged into your router and into which you plugged your phone) does not care where it is. Plug it into any router anywhere in the world, and your home phone number is active on it - just don't tell Vonage that you are in China.

Hey there, thanks for the advice. Yes, I did that in Singapore for nearly 4 years. I even told them I was there, and they didn't care. They encourage you to take the vonage box on the road.

However, for the BlackBerry app it says you need to be on US soil to use it. What's more, to download the app they need to send you the download link to a US mobile number, which didn't work for me as I had a Singapore and China mobile number. Even after I got someone in the US to get the link and forward it to me, it still didn't work after installation. Besides, like I said, my company has restricted the 3G connection so I suspect the quality of the calls would be very poor.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: UA FLL-EWR-HKG | SQ HKG-SIN | MI SIN-KUL | MH KUL-RGN | K7 RGN-NYU-HEH-MDL-RGN | MH RGN-KUL-SIN | SQ SIN-SYD
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1940 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1464 times:

Hmmm, thanks for the suggestion. And I do happen to have a MacBook.

But basically I do not want to be tied down to the computer while I'm at home, as I find it more productive to walk around and do chores while on the phone.

Also, I travel domestically in China 2 - 3 weeks per month, with limited time in hotels, so I really need a mobile solution.

Thanks
Coal



Nxt Flts: UA FLL-EWR-HKG | SQ HKG-SIN | MI SIN-KUL | MH KUL-RGN | K7 RGN-NYU-HEH-MDL-RGN | MH RGN-KUL-SIN | SQ SIN-SYD
User currently offlinemt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6545 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 1 day ago) and read 1418 times:
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I know the way it's marketed it doesn't make it too appealing but have you considered MagicJack? I know some people who use it for travel and have been using vonage for years and now are trying MagicJack ant I seems to work just as well for $20 a year.

they are still using both systems in parallel to see which is better, but unless there is some hidden secret about MJ it seems that they will keep it

[Edited 2010-03-10 05:48:29]


Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1940 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 1381 times:

Quoting mt99 (Reply 6):
I know the way it's marketed it doesn't make it too appealing but have you considered MagicJack? I know some people who use it for travel and have been using vonage for years and now are trying MagicJack ant I seems to work just as well for $20 a year.

they are still using both systems in parallel to see which is better, but unless there is some hidden secret about MJ it seems that they will keep it

Actually I nearly switched to Magic Jack before but the problem is I also make a lot of calls to countries other than the US and Canada, so in the end I would probably pay quite a bit.

Again, I need a mobile solution, e.g. for iPhone.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: UA FLL-EWR-HKG | SQ HKG-SIN | MI SIN-KUL | MH KUL-RGN | K7 RGN-NYU-HEH-MDL-RGN | MH RGN-KUL-SIN | SQ SIN-SYD
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