Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

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BahamaMan
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Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:11 am

I am in the Bahamas for the winter and am looking at options for making calls to the U.S. -- I have seen various options such as Magic Jack, Vonage, Duo etc for making calls and am looking for opinions on these and other inexpensive options. I am interested in a Land Line only, as I have bought a Bahamas Cell Phone for Emergencies. I have very a fast Internet connection here at 50mbps.

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lthenderson
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:18 am

While traveling, I just buy calling cards. They are cheap and easy to use and are disposable when the time comes and work on any landline. Although I haven't investigate it, in today's world with cellphones everywhere, I might call my cellphone provider and see how much it might cost to add an international travel package to my plan and just use it if it were reasonable.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:35 am

lthenderson wrote:While traveling, I just buy calling cards. They are cheap and easy to use and are disposable when the time comes and work on any landline. Although I haven't investigate it, in today's world with cellphones everywhere, I might call my cellphone provider and see how much it might cost to add an international travel package to my plan and just use it if it were reasonable.
Well, they are certainly not cheap in the Bahamas. Probably about $1 a minute to call the states. Also, there really aren't any land lines here. (And not in my Apartment). They have pay phones that accept calling cards. So, the internet is my option.

BTW - I can use Skype with my laptop and AT&T Calling Card for 3-4 cents a minute. Which may end up being my option.

co_investor
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by co_investor » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:50 am

I pay $2.99 a month for an unlimited US & Canada Skype subscription. I couldn't find anything cheaper when I researched my options 3 years ago, if you can find anything better/cheaper, let us know.

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Tyrobi
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by Tyrobi » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:00 pm

Try Talkatone since you already have internet. It's free.
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texasdiver
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by texasdiver » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:07 pm

I find that the more time goes by the less I have to ever actually make international voice calls. Email, free international text messaging apps like WhatsApp and things like FaceTime on the iPhone and iPad are all we ever really use for international communication these days. My kids don't bother to call their grandparents in Chile anymore, they just face time them.

If you are only looking for the ability to make calls from your house and have robust internet then there are a lot of good options. Skype is the one my inlaws use in Chile. If you want the ability to make calls from anywhere in the Bahamas then you'll need to deal with calling cards or international cell phone plans.

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praxis
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by praxis » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:17 pm

http://www.mobal.com/international-cell-phones/

I found using wifi communication like email was enough.

I take along this phone for free texting and cheap calls when I don't have internet.

hlfo718
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by hlfo718 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:30 pm

Skype worked well and really cheap when my family and I were in Asia calling US. We also used Facetime. Both have voice only option.

niceguy7376
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by niceguy7376 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:37 pm

If you have internet, then you can do Google Voice with Obihai and it will act as landline in your Bahamas home. If you have data plan on your cell and it is not costly, use Google Voice app to make calls from your bahamas cell phone.

Ooma and Vonage would be an alternate choice. But if you dont need them after the Bahamas stay, then they might turn out costly.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:43 pm

Tyrobi wrote:Try Talkatone since you already have internet. It's free.
Did some research and it's Not Free. From their website:
How much does it cost? (Most is free)
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2014 04:04PM UTC

Our Talkatone service includes:

Your own unique, FREE, local phone number;
FREE texting;
FREE inbound calling;
Texting US numbers from your Talkatone app with a Talkatone number is FREE, inbound as well as outbound. Inbound calls are FREE. Outbound calls on Talkatone to US phone numbers cost 1 credit per minute.

For US based users:
When you sign up for Talkatone you will receive 10 FREE minutes of outbound calls per month, and you can earn an additional 10 FREE minutes per month by connecting your Facebook account and verifying your cell number.

For non-US based users:
When you sign up for Talkatone you will receive a one-time allocation of 10 FREE minutes of outbound calls

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:59 pm

1tolivesimply wrote:I pay $2.99 a month for an unlimited US & Canada Skype subscription. I couldn't find anything cheaper when I researched my options 3 years ago, if you can find anything better/cheaper, let us know.
So far, I am using Skype, but I can dial my AT&T Prepaid Calling Card and call the U.S. for about 3.5 cents per minute. Seeing as I Probably would not be on the phone for more than 1 hour per month, this would cost me about $2.10 for 1 hour.

I also use e-mail whenever possible, however some credit card companies make you call their 800 number....And these are even free with Skype, not with Calling Cards!

Now, I'll have to figure out a good handset to hook to Skype.

Copernicus
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by Copernicus » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:15 pm

If both phones download VIBER app, you can call FREE from one mobile phone to another anywhere in the world. You need to be in a free wifi zone though, which you can get either through home wireless modem area or in cafes or libraries, etc.

batpot
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by batpot » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:37 pm

If you have a laptop or android tablet/phone, get Google Voice, and it will cost you nothing.
50mbps will be plenty fast.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:43 pm

batpot wrote:If you have a laptop or android tablet/phone, get Google Voice, and it will cost you nothing.
50mbps will be plenty fast.
Not True, from their Website:
Google Voice is only supported in the United States and a mobile phone with a U.S. number is required in order to use it. Users outside of the U.S. can use Call Phone in Gmail to make international calls at our affordable rates.

batpot
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by batpot » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:46 pm

BahamaMan wrote:
batpot wrote:If you have a laptop or android tablet/phone, get Google Voice, and it will cost you nothing.
50mbps will be plenty fast.
Not True, from their Website:
Google Voice is only supported in the United States and a mobile phone with a U.S. number is required in order to use it. Users outside of the U.S. can use Call Phone in Gmail to make international calls at our affordable rates.
I see that on their website, and it's puzzling, because it simply isn't true. You don't need any other phone; they provide you with a US-based phone number, which can then forward calls to other numbers, including a mobile number. using a laptop or hangouts with the hangouts dialer over wifi does not require you to have any existing phone.

However, if you're setting up an account with them for the first time from an IP outside of the US, then you might not be able to get a number in the first place.
It's worth a shot; try it next time you're state-side.

drwtsn32
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by drwtsn32 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:53 pm

batpot wrote:
BahamaMan wrote:
batpot wrote:If you have a laptop or android tablet/phone, get Google Voice, and it will cost you nothing.
50mbps will be plenty fast.
Not True, from their Website:
Google Voice is only supported in the United States and a mobile phone with a U.S. number is required in order to use it. Users outside of the U.S. can use Call Phone in Gmail to make international calls at our affordable rates.
I see that on their website, and it's puzzling, because it simply isn't true. You don't need any other phone; they provide you with a US-based phone number, which can then forward calls to other numbers, including a mobile number. using a laptop or hangouts with the hangouts dialer over wifi does not require you to have any existing phone.

However, if you're setting up an account with them for the first time from an IP outside of the US, then you might not be able to get a number in the first place.
It's worth a shot; try it next time you're state-side.
Yeah I think you nailed it. It's available for US residents only, but once you're signed up the US resident can use Google Voice (Hangouts) overseas. At least that's how I understand it.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:08 pm

drwtsn32 wrote:Yeah I think you nailed it. It's available for US residents only, but once you're signed up the US resident can use Google Voice (Hangouts) overseas. At least that's how I understand it.
Well, this may be true, but it's still not free. I looked up their rates, and it's 10 cents a minute for a call to the Bahamas -10 cents per minute to a landline --- 25 cents per minute to a Cell. From their website:
Make international calls

You can make international calls at very low rates with Google Voice. You can use the Google Voice website or the phone system, as long as you have one of your forwarding phones or your mobile device available to complete the call.

Get started by purchasing credit through Google Wallet. Rates vary by country and will be counted on a per minute basis. To view international calling rates, click the View all Rates link in the Billing tab of your Google Voice Settings page.

You can make calls outside the United States from the Google Voice website or through the Google Voice phone system:

From the website: Click the Call button at the top left of the page and enter "+country code" or "+1countrycode" (depending where you're calling) followed by the international number. For example: +442012345612345 or +1246-426-0200.
From the Google Voice phone system: Access the Google Voice phone system by either calling your Google number, or if you're using Google Voice Lite, calling your access number from a mobile phone registered on your account. Once you're in the Google Voice system, press 2 to make a call. When dialing an international number, enter 011, the country code, and then the number (for example: 011442012345612345).

drwtsn32
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by drwtsn32 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:13 pm

BahamaMan wrote:Well, this may be true, but it's still not free. I looked up their rates, and it's 10 cents a minute for a call to the Bahamas -10 cents per minute to a landline --- 25 cents per minute to a Cell.
Maybe I misunderstood, but I was talking about calling the US from abroad. That should definitely be free. Basically if you have Google Voice, it doesn't matter where you are located.... the rates are determined by the number you are calling.

northernisland
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by northernisland » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:21 pm

I have an obi that works with Google Voice. There was a while when it wasn't working because of some conflict between the two, but now I have it set up again. It means free calls to the US and I can receive calls. If you have internet, something like this is your best option.

The obi is a little box that plugs into your modem and then you plug a phone into the obi.

For me, the main plus is that it's nice to not be tethered to computer and able to walk around while talking (do laundry while talking to family, etc.). I like it a lot and it's not super hard to get set up.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:32 pm

drwtsn32 wrote:Maybe I misunderstood, but I was talking about calling the US from abroad. That should definitely be free. Basically if you have Google Voice, it doesn't matter where you are located.... the rates are determined by the number you are calling.
No, you didn't understand and you may indeed be correct. Since I already have a Google Account and Gmail, I may be able to use this. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:35 pm

northernisland wrote:I have an obi that works with Google Voice. There was a while when it wasn't working because of some conflict between the two, but now I have it set up again. It means free calls to the US and I can receive calls. If you have internet, something like this is your best option.

The obi is a little box that plugs into your modem and then you plug a phone into the obi.

For me, the main plus is that it's nice to not be tethered to computer and able to walk around while talking (do laundry while talking to family, etc.). I like it a lot and it's not super hard to get set up.
I tried to search for an obi, but was not having any luck..... Do you have a link for the 'obi' ?

IPer
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by IPer » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:38 pm

I have unlimited Skype World, I pay yearly, get a discount, plus I have a Skype number for inbound.
I also maintain a balance in my Skype account for numbers which are not free (there are some). I have
a local prepaid sim plan with Internet (Around $19/mo in Thailand) so my Skype is always on, desktop
when at home, phone when out. My overall phone costs are very low, and they are written off as
they are a business expense.
Read the Wiki Wiki !

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Don_Qua
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by Don_Qua » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:46 pm


BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:11 pm

drwtsn32 wrote:Maybe I misunderstood, but I was talking about calling the US from abroad. That should definitely be free. Basically if you have Google Voice, it doesn't matter where you are located.... the rates are determined by the number you are calling.
I already have a Google Account and I checked on Calling the U.S. from where I'm at (Bahamas) --- Very Cheap but still not completely free. Looks like calling the U.S. from the Bahamas is 1 cent per minute.


Country Rate per minute
France - Mobile 3¢
India - Mobile 1¢
Mexico - Mobile 5¢
United States *free from the U.S. & Canada 1¢ from everywhere else
* Some calls to the U.S. may incur charges. Learn More

drwtsn32
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by drwtsn32 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:20 pm

BahamaMan wrote:
drwtsn32 wrote:Maybe I misunderstood, but I was talking about calling the US from abroad. That should definitely be free. Basically if you have Google Voice, it doesn't matter where you are located.... the rates are determined by the number you are calling.
I already have a Google Account and I checked on Calling the U.S. from where I'm at (Bahamas) --- Very Cheap but still not completely free. Looks like calling the U.S. from the Bahamas is 1 cent per minute.


Country Rate per minute
France - Mobile 3¢
India - Mobile 1¢
Mexico - Mobile 5¢
United States *free from the U.S. & Canada 1¢ from everywhere else
* Some calls to the U.S. may incur charges. Learn More
Really? I don't get that.... Google Voice is basically VOIP service.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:47 am

drwtsn32 wrote: Really? I don't get that.... Google Voice is basically VOIP service.
So is Skype and my Ooma, but they both charge for international Calls.
Skype charges 1.7 cents per minute.
So Google Voice at 1 cent per minute is a better deal!
Last edited by BahamaMan on Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

111
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by 111 » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:49 am

I have Google Voice & Hangouts and calling the US has been free no matter where I am calling from. I lived in the US when I signed up for it, but have been overseas the last 5 years and have never been charged calling the US. Only to other countries.

Not sure where you are getting the rates to from other countries to the US, but on the Hangouts page I see "Almost all calls to the U.S. and Canada are free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. A few U.S. and Canadian destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number."

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:50 am

111 wrote:I have Google Voice & Hangouts and calling the US has been free no matter where I am calling from. I lived in the US when I signed up for it, but have been overseas the last 5 years and have never been charged calling the US. Only to other countries.

Not sure where you are getting the rates to from other countries to the US, but on the Hangouts page I see "Almost all calls to the U.S. and Canada are free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. A few U.S. and Canadian destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number."
The Bahamas is apparently different.

1.) I tried running Google Voice with Firefox under Windows 8.1 and after researching found out that there are problems (I since have got it to work)
2.) So, I unstalled Chrome and got it to work, and sure enough they will charge me 1 cent a minute from the Bahamas.
3.) I called my Answering machine at home and left a message. The call took 1 minute.
4.) I started out with a Credit of $10 and sure enough, they charged me 1 Cent. I now have $9.99 in my Google Voice account.

Calling credit: $9.99Help_dark Refunds Change currency
$10.00 Add credit »

If I make a Local Call down the Street here in the Bahamas (Land Line) it lists the Cost as 10 cents per minute. Which is 1 cent more than Skype, which is 9 cents per minute.

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lthenderson
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by lthenderson » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:43 am

BahamaMan wrote:Well, they are certainly not cheap in the Bahamas. Probably about $1 a minute to call the states.
I should have been more specific, I buy them before I go overseas. Just doing an internet search, I can find many that allow me to call the US from the Bahamas for $0.15 per minute."

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:08 am

lthenderson wrote:
BahamaMan wrote:Well, they are certainly not cheap in the Bahamas. Probably about $1 a minute to call the states.
I should have been more specific, I buy them before I go overseas. Just doing an internet search, I can find many that allow me to call the US from the Bahamas for $0.15 per minute."
At any rate these are not an option, as I don't have a Land Line... And Google Voice is only 1 Cent a minute after researching this option.

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SailingAway
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by SailingAway » Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:44 am

We live on our boat, presently in French Polynesia and believe we've tried most of the generic options. We finally settled on using skype and magicjack. Magic Jack gives us a fixed phone number, it also has a nice voicemail feature and emails you an audio file of any messages left. It also works well with less than optimum internet conditions. For calling out we still use skype mostly and although it has gotten more expensive since Micro$oft took it over, it is still a very cheap option.

The other thing we do is just talk to the locals about a local sim card for your gsm phone. Usually at least one of the providers will have some very low cost option for calling the US. You have to ask questions and investigate. For instance in Colombia you could take part of your prepaid balance and buy minutes for .01/minute for calling to the US. We didn't figure it out till the local provider sent a text message to us after we'd been there over a month.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:39 pm

SailingAway wrote:We live on our boat, presently in French Polynesia and believe we've tried most of the generic options. We finally settled on using skype and magicjack. Magic Jack gives us a fixed phone number, it also has a nice voicemail feature and emails you an audio file of any messages left. It also works well with less than optimum internet conditions. For calling out we still use skype mostly and although it has gotten more expensive since Micro$oft took it over, it is still a very cheap option.

The other thing we do is just talk to the locals about a local sim card for your gsm phone. Usually at least one of the providers will have some very low cost option for calling the US. You have to ask questions and investigate. For instance in Colombia you could take part of your prepaid balance and buy minutes for .01/minute for calling to the US. We didn't figure it out till the local provider sent a text message to us after we'd been there over a month.
Thanks for this ! --- We are just starting this living abroad thing....So your input was great! --- Was not sure of all of the options, but the standard 60 cents a minute sounded pretty steep in this day and age. We bought a Cell phone for $25 plus a $16 Sim card for emergencies. (May never need it). The Skype does work fine when we need it. Actually, I hate the phone and prefer e-mail, but sometimes Vendors just don't cooperate.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:42 pm

1tolivesimply wrote:I pay $2.99 a month for an unlimited US & Canada Skype subscription. I couldn't find anything cheaper when I researched my options 3 years ago, if you can find anything better/cheaper, let us know.
OK, here is what I settled on and works great! --- I bought an ObiTalk 200 for about $50 and got a phone number via RingTo...... All calls to and from North America are Free, including the Bahamas where I'm at. Google Voice wanted to charge me for International, but RingTo is definitely Free in all of North America. I have a dedicated phone number to receive calls as well. Works great with no Drop outs at all! You do have to sign up for a Mandatory 911 service that is only $1 a month. So this sounds like a better option than you are using.. I really like it! :happy

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corner559
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by corner559 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:44 pm

hlfo718 wrote:Skype worked well and really cheap when my family and I were in Asia calling US. We also used Facetime. Both have voice only option.
I also use and like Skype because I can use it anywhere on my iPhone and call just about any country.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:47 pm

corner559 wrote:I also use and like Skype because I can use it anywhere on my iPhone and call just about any country.
My issue with Skype is that they wanted to charge international rates for calling to the U.S.A from the Bahamas. Ringto service was free throughout North America.

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corner559
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by corner559 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:16 pm

What do you mean by International Rates? My calls from outside the States are 4 cents a minute, and with that I have a US-based phone number that anyone from the US can call me on as if I were in the US. When someone calls me from the US it's as if they are calling a local number and I get charged ZERO.

BahamaMan
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Re: Options for calling the U.S. from International ?

Post by BahamaMan » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:07 am

corner559 wrote:What do you mean by International Rates? My calls from outside the States are 4 cents a minute, and with that I have a US-based phone number that anyone from the US can call me on as if I were in the US. When someone calls me from the US it's as if they are calling a local number and I get charged ZERO.
What I mean by international rates are anything but zero. Skype charges me 9 cents a minute from the Bahamas to the states. With RingTo, the cost is zero.

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