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.