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Tech Report: Cutting Down Phone Costs When Traveling Abroad

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A man speaks on his mobile phone in central Sydney on May 13, 2010.(Greg Wood//AFP/Getty Images)

A man speaks on his mobile phone in central Sydney on May 13, 2010.(Greg Wood//AFP/Getty Images)

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— I’m visiting a friend in Sweden right now and am using an Ooma Telo adaptor to make phone calls and save money doing it. It’s a Palo Alto-based company and you simply need a Wi-Fi connection and it will let you communicate both affordably and efficiently.

It’s like Vonage in that it’s an internet phone company that you can take with you when you travel.

In Ooma’s case I don’t even need to wire into my friend’s network. With this adaptor I’m able to make and receive calls as if I were at home. I even keep the same phone number. Calls that I make are free; in fact, when I make a call into my own area code, I just dial as if I were at home.

KCBS Tech Report:

The device itself costs about $150 and from then on you don’t have to pay for calls. It’s free. It’s one of the better choices in the voice over the Internet Protocol market for home or small office use if you make a lot of calls. There’s no monthly fees attached and no charge for any calls at least to and from the United States.

Other options for international travelers looking to stay connected are available. If you have a GSM phone (Global System for Mobile Communications), like an AT&T, T-Mobile, or any kind of iPhone you can use it overseas, but it’s going to cost you. It’s about $3 a minute if I were to use my regular cell phone here. I could opt to buy a local SIM card here in Sweden or any country for that matter and that would cut the cost down considerably.

Another option is Skype, which costs two cents a minute to call any landline in America and most landlines in Europe and other countries. I’ve used Google Voice too, where you can call anywhere in the United States for free. All you need is internet speakers and a microphone for your computer.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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