International calls in South Africa are insanely expensive, and funny enough, local voice calls are no exception either. It gets even better though, International calls are so expensive that it is 5 times cheaper for someone from home (Zambia) to call me than it is for me to return the favor. One would wonder why that is the case, especially that the interconnect rates are the same between two interacting mobile operators *SMDH* And did I mention SMS is not spared? It appears I found myself in a place where the basic laws of economics do not apply. But thank goodness for VoIP and the Internet! I can make calls at a shocking ~500% cheaper rate. Yes! 500% less… I did complex Mathematical Number Theory (Mathematical Methods+Numerical Analysis) at versity so I am really good at maths 😀 I even contemplated pursuing a career as a mathematician –but I took the wrong turn 😉
I’ll get straight to the point, because I know that is why you found yourself on this web page in the first place. After a fleeting encounter with Skype, I now use Google Voice to make International calls because it costs me 41% less than it would if I used Skype. Of course I loose the ability to have a custom tailored caller ID, but what the heck! A summary of the comparative cost of each of the available options I tried out is shown in the table below.
|Google Voice||0.15||VoIP||No Caller Id|
|Skype||0.33||VoIP||A connection fee applies when using the default 'Pay as You Go' plan|
|Vodacom||0.78||GSM/CDMA||Shocking how expensive it is to call within Africa|
|Roaming||0.88||GSM/CDMA||Roaming is insanely expensive|
Note the % variance between making an International call –from the Vodacom GSM network to another GSM network within Africa– between using GSM and Google Voice is a staggering ~420% –USD 0.15/Min vs USD 0.78/Min.
Of course one might argue that there are Internet connectivity costs incurred when making use of VoIP solutions, but seeing that bandwidth is relatively cheaper in South Africa, it still is definitely a better alternative.
A sample call history from Google Voice is show in the figure above. Note that the cost is billed per Minute and not the standard per Second billing mechanism used by most telecommunications operators. This obviously has its own pros and cons, but lets not go there.
VoIP is the future and I would embrace it if I were you –Like I did many years ago 😀
 Google Voice Features, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Google Voice: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html
 Google Voice Rates, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Google Voice: https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/rates?hl=en_ZA¤cy=USD
 International Calling, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Skype: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/payg-rates/
 International Calling, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Vodacom: http://www.vodacom.co.za/vodacom/services/Stay+in+touch/International+Calling?selected=10_a10&ciFormat=default&ht=t