An alternative to Skype for avoiding a huge overseas mobile phone bill

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An alternative to Skype for avoiding a huge overseas mobile phone bill

If you have ever been struck with a huge mobile phone bill after traveling overseas, then it might be worth taking a look at Truphone before you next jump on a plane.

One way to make cheaper mobile calls while you're overseas is to use special travel sims, such as Woolworths mobile global roaming and GoTalk Global.

They offer significantly lower call rates and data allowances than what your mobile phone carrier can provide. 

But these companies don’t let you make cheap calls over the data network using Wi-Fi or 3G when a data connection is available.

We recently saw a presentation from Truphone, which may be worth considering, particularly if your regular destination is the UK, USA or in parts of Asia.

Truphone works the same way as other travel sims with pre-paid call and data credits, but it has an extra useful trick.

Here's the interesting bit - you can also use an app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry that will automatically switch your calls from a regular voice call to a call over data (WiFi/3G) when there is a data connection detected.

You press call and the app will automatically choose the means of carrying the call based on signal quality.

Another useful feature of the app is that it displays the per-minute cost so you know how much each phone call is going to cost you before you even make the call.

Similar to other travel sim providers, Truphone lets you assign multiple international numbers on the one sim card, though this is limited to numbers from the UK, USA and Australia. The benefit of having multiple international numbers is that you will only be charged local call rates whenever you make and receive calls to those countries from anywhere in the world.

Some other travel sim providers that offer multiple international numbers don’t offer the ability to port your existing mobile number across. Truphone lets you do this -  it means you don't have to switch between sim cards.

Truphone looks like a useful alternative to apps like Skype and Fring - which let you make unlimited calls to most countries from as low as $15 per month, but require a data connection (Wi-Fi or 3G).


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