What's the cheapest way for a traveller to call Germany from S. Africa?
July 18, 2008 3:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm traveling to South Africa next week, and need to make regular calls to Germany. I'm from the UK and have a UK mobile. What's the cheapest way to do this?

I'm traveling around South Africa for a little over two weeks and need to make calls to Germany, probably each about 30mins to an hour long, maybe every two days.

I have a UK mobile with Vodafone but the rates will be extortionate. The call rates back to the UK are 75p/min (US$1.50) and then I'm guessing I'd have to pay on top of that for the call to Germany.

I'm thinking that the best bet would be some kind of call saver account where you can dial a free access number and then make calls via that, but Googling for this turns up very little from South Africa. Does anyone know of any such account? I don't mind having an account that would be linked to a credit card, since this would save having to find a local calling card every few days.

Or even better still, is there yet a way to make calls FROM the PSTN network TO Skype? I know it would be good to have it the other way round but the simple problem is that I won't have a regular landline number since we'll be moving between hotels every few days.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!
posted by gkhewitt to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
You can get a Skype number local to Germany and set it up to forward to your cell. Then the person in Germany could make a local call, Skype would forward it to you and charge it to your account at the South Africa rate. But the call would have to be initiated on their side, and you would not pay the low Europe rate. This is the only way I know to make that work with Skype, and I do it all the time.

However, you should check what the rates would be on a prepaid SIM bought locally in SA. It is actually cheaper for me to direct dial the US and Europe from Senegal (0.22-0.25 a minute) than to have someone there call me through my Skype line (0.29). Of course cheapest is dialing the US oe Europe from Skype (0.02-0.05) but for that, you need an internet connection.
posted by Nothing at 4:36 AM on July 18, 2008

Note: You can change the forwarding number as often as you like, as long as you have an internet connection to do it.
posted by Nothing at 4:38 AM on July 18, 2008

Hmm.. I may look into the SIM option, since I won't have a fixed landline to forward to (hotels) and the Skype forwarding to cell option doesn't take into account that Vodafone will charge me 75p/min for the privilege of receiving a call, as well as making one!
posted by gkhewitt at 5:30 AM on July 18, 2008

You don't pay to receive calls on a local simcard. You can pick up a starter pack easily and virtually for free from several places (they just want you to be airtime so usually the sim can be had for just a few rand).

If you've got a phone with 3G that can run fring, it is cheap and easy to buy a prepaid data bundle which you could use to make calls through the internet. Vodacom's data rates are on this page, for example 1 GB costs R289 (around 19 quid) and is valid for 1 month.

Double check your phone compatibility but it should be fine as I've used more than one mobile from the UK here.

If you need more information about buying airtime and converting it for data usage, let me know.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 5:47 AM on July 18, 2008

Nthing Skype
posted by chrisalbon at 1:29 PM on July 18, 2008

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