Monday, January 30, 2012

FYI: Cheap (Reasonable) Calls from US and UK (I Think) to Sri Lanka from mobile/cell phone

Got sticker shock when I saw the rates to Sri Lanka from the AT&T package in the US.
If you use a Skype like package it USD 0.16/min (and that does not include internet data usage).
If you use the World Connect package its USD 1.23/min (yes USD 1.23 min or SLR 150/min).
The other standard option is to use phone cards available from most grocery stores/bodega's out here in NY.
That means scratching the card, getting a pin number. Then call a local access number, punch in pin and then the phone number you wish to call. Its a real pain in the neck. One of the many downsides is you need to remember the phone numbers or have them written down.

Anyway was trying to figure out a way to call cheap from the mobile/cell phone and also be able to use the contact list in the phone. The other criteria was it had to be a phone-to-phone solution and not a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution. Skype etc are VoIP solutions and that means you get billed for data usage on the cell phone.

Settled on the following solution. Application on phone called LowCaller and subscription to phone-to-phone carrier. I used lowratevoip.com. but there few others and apparently might be the same organization (see here under the rate calculate pull down menu).

Here are the steps I used to get this working.
a) First check if your phone supports the LowCaller app (IPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Samsung and Symbian). I have a basic starter Android.
b) Get yourself an account at LowRateVoIP or similar (see here).
c) Make sure the phone (s) you are calling from are set up properly. You will get a text message and/or phone call with a verification number to your phone which you enter on the website.
d) Download the LowCaller app on to your phone. I used the browser on the phone and typed in the URL get.lowcaller.com.
e) Install the app (you will be prompted).
f) You can make all International calls to default thru the app. Make sure the phone number in the contacts/address book is in the form +94-7755522 for contacts in Sri Lanka.
g) Voila. You call a contact/name in the address book that has the phone number in an international format (i.e. +CountryCode-PhoneNumber) and it goes thru the app. Your phone number will also show up on the caller ID on the receiving parties phone.

Cost of the first few calls I made to Sri Lanka
Minutes    EUR     EUR/min   USD/Min   LKR/Min
00:11:39   0.720   0.06      0.08       8.8
00:00:14   0.070   0.30      0.39      42.9
00:06:31   0.420   0.06      0.08       9.2

So about the EUR 0.08/min advertised on website except for the very short call

4 comments:

  1. Mobile phone call rate goes down. Day after Day the users of the mobile phone is increasing and that's why the mobile company decrease the price to remain in the competition otherwise people are switch telecommunication company.


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  2. i want to know how to make low cost international calls from uk to Canada with best possible calling rates. Can anyone suggest me something?

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  3. I live in London(uk) but most of my relatives lives in other countries so i wanted to know how to make cheap international calls from London to reduce my call rates.

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  4. Thanks for sharing ood and helpful article with us. I really have enjoyed all of this very cool information.
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