Well, that was easy…

I’m looking at grad schools overseas, mostly in Europe.
As part of the process, I need to make some calls to these universities to chat with faculty, administrative staff, etc.
If I were to call, say, Switzerland from my Verizon cellphone, I would pay about $1.49/minute. If I wanted to pay $3.99/month, the rate drops to $0.08/min to landlines and $0.32/min for mobiles. That gets expensive quick. Qwest landline rates are comparable. I used to use Vonage, and calls to Swiss landlines are free on their standard World plan, but I don’t have their service any more.
Enter Google Voice. I already use it as my primary number and for voicemail, so deciding to use it for international calls was easy. One simply pre-pays for credits in blocks of $10 (which don’t expire) and then places a call from the web or dial-in phone interface. Costs me a whopping $0.02/min to landlines, which is much more palatable.
Since each endpoint is an actual phone, rather than a computer (like Skype, which has slightly higher rates), call quality is consistently good. The calls probably travel over some IP connections at some point, but there’s no jitter/lag that I could detect.
Even cooler: inbound caller ID works through Google Voice when international callers call me, at least those from Switzerland.
Hey, big phone companies: Vonage and Google can offer the same (and frequently more) services you do for considerably less money. Nickel-and-diming people for things like Caller ID, call waiting, and voicemail is losing you money. Your infrastructure was paid off a long time ago. Get with the program.
FTC Disclaimer: Do you see any referral links? Does it look like Google pays me money? If so, I’d have some Scrooge McDuck-style money vault and fancy food and drink rather than eating Clif bars and Dr. Pepper.
Google: I’m sure I can find some room in my condo for a Scrooge McDuck-style money vault if you feel the need to ship me a railcar worth of gold coins. Just sayin’.

2 thoughts on “Well, that was easy…”

  1. I love my Google Voice. I was a fairly early adopter, having a number when it was still called Grand Central. They’ll have me as a customre until the wheels fall off their company.

  2. Doing the grad school thing in Sweden at the moment, they start charging tuition next year but Finland and Norway are still free so far as I know.

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