My Experiment with Free International Calling

13 Jun

In two weeks I depart with a group of students and a fellow teacher to Australia.  This will be my first trip to the continent down under, so my excitement builds as my departure date approaches.  I have one conundrum, as I will be in another country, I need a way to communicate with my family and friends at home.  Obviously, social media will an easy hit, and wifi is readily available.  However, I would like to be able to see my wife and one year old daughter a few times during my nearly three weeks away from my family. So, I’m going to experiment with Skype and Google Voice to see if I can place phone calls and connect with my family from half a world away.

A new phrase for my vocabulary is Session Initiation Protocol or SIP.  Basically, this system sets up communication between two parties.  In my case, it will establish a phone connection between my wife and I.  So, though I know Skype will work, my goal is to use my Google Voice number with an SIP provider in order to make a free international phone call form a wifi hot spot.

To set up my SIP account I went with sipgate (iTunes Link).  Sipgate will allow me to make a Voice Over IP (VOIP) or internet phone call.  This app will work on either my iPhone or iPad and is free (as far as I can read).  Think of it this way, you have an iTouch or other internet device, you now have a way to make or receive phone calls.  No more registering with phone companies or setting up accounts – I can have my own phone via the web.  Whenever I hit a hot spot I can have numbers, voice mails, anything I need forwarded to my iPad or iPhone via the web.

I will let you know how this experiment goes.  I do not get to travel international often so seeing how this works will be interesting.

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