Cheaper International Calls with Google Voice

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 πŸ˜€ I even contemplated pursuing a career as a mathematician –but I took the wrong turn πŸ˜‰

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.

ServiceUSD/MinTechnologyComments
Google Voice0.15VoIPNo Caller Id
Skype0.33VoIPA connection fee applies when using the default 'Pay as You Go' plan
Vodacom0.78GSM/CDMAShocking how expensive it is to call within Africa
Roaming0.88GSM/CDMARoaming 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.

A Sample Vodacom Statement

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.

Sample Google Voice Call History

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 πŸ˜€

Bibliography

[1] Google Voice Features, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Google Voice: http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html
[2] Google Voice Rates, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Google Voice: https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/rates?hl=en_ZA&currency=USD
[3] International Calling, (N.D.). Retrieved September 5, 2011, from Skype: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/prices/payg-rates/
[4] 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

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  • Joshua Phiri

    So, I can use Google voice on my phone as well?

    • @joshua, yes you can. All you need to do is visit the URL below
      http://m.google.com/voice
      The beauty with Google Voice is that you don’t get to pay any connection fees –that makes it way cheaper than Skype. You definitely should give it a try if you haven’t already.

  • Joshua Phiri

    I got a pop up message saying setting up google voice using a mobile phone is not available. I need a desktop or laptop to do it.

    • @Joshua, Google product availability varies by mobile phone type. Not quite sure what sort of device you have. However, if you to to the link below, you can check if GoogleVoice is available for your mobile phone by selecting its type. I know for a fact that GoogleVoice is available for BlackBerry phones, Android& Apple.
      http://www.google.com/support/mobile/
      I hope this helps.