Monday, February 4, 2008

The world made smaller... and clearer

When we first came over, we were rather concerned with how we can call home. More importantly, how cheaply these calls can be made. I began combing all those 'ah beng' stores back home asking them about affordable calling cards that I can use in the UK. A guy in his twenties (with tatoos all over) was rather helpful and showed me a few. He then promised me a good deal by offering me a card with S$10 face value for only S$8. Though I must say that it looked rather dubious but I decided to give it a try anyway.

While looking around for a valid UK number to test the card on, I chanced upon that of the British Museum (in my London guide book). It didn't work... for the first couple of times. When it actually did, the voice quality was so bad that I gave up. The idea of going back to the guy (with tattoos all over) didn't seem like a wise idea. So much for a good deal.

We tried fiddling around MSN for awhile but it quickly dawn to us that our parents are not exactly IT savvy. Well, saw an ad online with regards to Skype and we thought what the heck and installed the program. Gosh... it's perhaps the best decision that we've ever made, well, at least compared to buying a phone card from the tattoed guy.

Skype's free for calls made to another computer (which must also install Skype). But in order to call to a landline, we need to top up some credit. 10 euros per shot. If you're using your Singapore credit card, state that you're not from the EU and the 17.5% VAT will be waived. It cost a mere 0.017 euro per minute to call Singapore from UK. As for the quality, it's pristine.

Strangely, to call a UK line from UK via Skype will cost 0.2 euros. In short, Skype is not for everyone. Do check out the rates before committing credit to your account.

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