Alternatives to Skype
I have occasionally saw that there is a number of companies that are rendering services similar to SKYPE and I am wondering if that makes sense to switch. For example Brama Telecom internet phone provider (based in Canada) offers phone packages slightly cheaper than Skype while all calls are going through the same landline connecting Europe and USA - so what is the difference? Do you have such experience?
I have used a service called VoipCheap for a few years now and have a free period each time I top up my credits. Calls from Japan to a UK land line are just 1p per minute.
The quality is usually pretty good with the occasional lock up, requiring a redial.
I've never used Skype for paid calls since it was more expensive when I started with this service.
But when I call my online banking where I think the call center is based in India, all the redirection can make it a bit difficult to comprehend what the operator is saying at times. And I have to be very clear with my instructions to them where they sometimes don't get what I have said.
But this may be the same with Skype, I don't know.
For calling the US, we use Magic Jack. 20 bucks a year, 20 bucks for the VOIP modem. Regular phone plugs in, voicemail to your email. You have to register with a US address (not checked), no cc provided until the year runs out. GIves you a unique US number in the area code of the registration city/state.
For international we use our house line (depending on the country), Google Video chat, or Skype depending on the other person.
I am also using Skype as always. I find comfortable with it. I use voip before and it was just a try for a month. Just veered back to skype after a few weeks.
AT&T and Verizon are coming out with really cheap VOIP. And the only reason skype is popular is because it integrates video and text chat along with VOIP. Otherwise its just like Yahoo Messenger or gtalk.