Christmas is an occasion when most families get-together. However, for those who are not as lucky, as in the case of most families of Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), who has to spend the holidays away from their families. The most common method of keeping in touch is through telephone but international calls are very expensive. This is where technology plays an important role on how you can save on calls.
Today, there are a lot of alternatives to stay in touch with your loved ones at home. There is email, cellular phone, social networking sites, and internet phone or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Most of VoIP services are free while others are not but still very cheap compared to using the conventional telephone.
Yahoo Messenger has enabled the PC-to-PC calls and we even used it for official calls with my previous employer to save on long distance calls. This service is free if you call PC-to-PC but if if you call from PC to regular phones of mobile phones. there’s already costs involved. Sometimes internet connection may not be very good so you get a chappy reception. Aside from voice calls, you may also use video calls through Yahoo Messenger.
When Facebook gained popularity, it has also enabled video calling function although I have yet to try it. Again, call quality will also depend how fast your internet connection is.
Recently, I discovered the MagicJack through a relative from the States. This will also enable you to call from PC-to-PC for free but you may also use PC to mobile or regular phones with an annual fee. When you subscribe you will be given a US phone number and you can make calls to US and Canada for free. MagicJack is such a hit among Filipinos who have relatives in the US and Canada.
One of the longest VoIP services available is Skype. It lets you make internet calls for free and has different rates per country for those who want to subscribe and want to make calls to regular phones or mobile. I know somebody who uses Skype teaching English to clients in Italy.
These are not the only VoIP services available which you can choose from. There are now companies that offer additional features such as ITP VoIP, Viatalk, among others. I haven’t tried these companies’ services so you may want to visit sites that offer a lot of information to guide you in choosing the best VoIP providers.
image by: Mario Inoportuno