Thursday, May 13, 2010

Deployment Question #21--What phone service does he use?

As we get things ready, I have some questions.

Do you use Skype?  Pros?  Cons?

Magic Jack?  Pros?  Cons?

Calling cards?

Cell phone?

What's the best route?  What are the costs associated with it?

Help!

19 comments:

Birdie Woods said...

We started out using calling cards and they were about $45 for 2 hours of talk time. When he was home on R&R he was able to download Skype and it saved our sanity. It's completely free and the quality kind of sucks sometimes but after 7 months of 5 minute calls the last 7 were so much easier and when he wasn't busy, we talked for up to 3 hours at a time!

S said...

skype. He had a few phone cards but it lacks privacy. What he did though was to put some money towards skype and called me on my cell when I wasn't home. It worked great for us. The previous one we didn't do skype as the bandwith wasn't the greatest back then and we were too cheap to spent the money for crappy service but I had the advantage of having a DSN line, so I sent an email when I was in the office and he called me or I called him at his desk.

Mel said...

He was using the "calling cards" they have, where he loads up his pin with minutes and simply types in a pin number. However, he was calling my cell and we found that I was going over my minutes almost every month because there was no guarantee that he could call during off-peak hours. I recommend skype instead.

Briar Rose said...

My hubs had no internet where he was last time. He used SPAWAR to call home though. Worked pretty good when he had time to wait in line for the phone. (He was at a pretty crappy little COP in the middle of nowhere!) For $25 we got about 10 hours of talk time. He gave me the info for it and I would go on every 4-6 weeks to check it. And add money as needed. They even offered free days sometimes so that if he called on that day we did not get charged for it. We had good luck with it.

Amber said...

He gets free calls but not many chances to make them. We chat in Yahoo IM, I turn on my webcam but he is not allows to have a camera so I can't see him.

Megan said...

For this deployment we're using skype. Sometimes it has a really long delay (once it was over 40 secons. That conversation didn't last very long before he got so fed up he just hung up) But other times there is no delay at all. I guess it all depends on how many people are on line then. And we can do the webcam with skype also. Skype to Skype is free and for him to call my cellphone, the monthly charg is pretty reasonable. His second deployment we used yahoo and that worked pretty well also. His first deployment I think we used calling cards, but i'm not really sure I don't remember.

L.C. said...

we use skype and for the most part is has been a bust, especially for desert locations. However with none combat deployments he is allowed to call his local base operator and have them transfer to a local number for unlimited talk time.

Emme said...

We used yahoo IM the first time he was deployed. This last time around internet wasn't an option so he bought a cellphone. It ended up being crazy-expensive ($150 for the phone and around $50+ a week to buy minutes-we talked alot!) but it was well worth it. He didn't have to stand in line and we could depend on our conversations being about the same time every other day or so. Usually, he'd call before he went to sleep. I'd know he was safe, then I could go about my day.

The biggest advantage of the cellphone was that I was able to contact him. I never called him, but I was able to text anytime I wanted and that made me feel more in control. I have Sprint and texts to/from were .20 a piece. Not bad at all.

Nittani said...

We were *planning* on using Magic Jack....some of his friends recommended it. So, before he left, we bought it and I set it up. I called my mom and his mom....both across the country....and they said that it sounded more clear than when I called from a cell phone. So I was really excited that this would work when he got over there. He's tried it maybe 6 times. 4 out of the 6, I couldn't even hear him...it was extremely digital. The other 2 times, it was ok (not great), but it would cut out every couple of minutes, so he'd have to call back. I think its so bad because the internet is extremely poor where he is.

Nittani said...

Oh, and I forgot to list the cost.....it was $40 at Walmart. That includes the hardware as well as a one year subscription (I think after the first year, its $20/year). You also need a phone....any home phone will work.

Amy said...

We've been using Skype and Google videochat. I actually like Google better as I think the quality seems to be a little better. If you go with either of these though, make sure you have them downloaded before going because from what I've been told, you can't download them once you get there.

Abbey said...

We used Skype and didn't personally like it, but I can't remember why now. Verizon just told me that I could download Skype onto the phone so we could see each other like that (his webcam and my camera on my BB) so maybe I will revisit that idea. We have used Yahoo IM to webcam to each other and that seems to work great. He took a MagicJack with him this time (and his own phone) and it is like $40 for the whole year. It has worked out great for us. Yes, sometimes it doesn't always work the greatest but it is just like the other phone lines over there. just a little delay ... not to bad to get used too and it isn't there all the time. Plus he usually calls every day and can talk for quite a while. You can leave voice messges for him to call you when he turns on the computer so that if it is important he will know about it. I think that the calling cards are kindof a thing of the past. I don't think that many ppl will use them soon due to so many options and laptops. Hope that helps!!

Heather said...

He used a Skype Wi-Fi phone when he was in the Philippines, but we use calling cards for Japan and TDY.

Mary Madeline said...

We used Skype. It was great for us. The kids loved seeing him and it's much better than the phone!

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

We used Skype but it was pretty awful. His internet connection was akin to dail-up. It ended up being more frustrating than anything. Once in a great while it would work out so that we could see him and actually make out facial expressions - mostly he looked like a white blob :) And his (crappy) internet cost 80 dollars a month - which in my opinion is highway robbery!!

It was really nice to hear his voice and be able to call him (computer to computer) and it was awesome that he could text/call my cell. But, next time we'll figure something better out!

I've heard good things about Magic Jack.

trooppetrie said...

my husband is in ramodi. if he wants internet for his room it is $120 a month. CRAZY. he calls me through the military lines. we get a little lucky. we are at bragg which has a million soldiers gone so getting a line is not always easy. but we still have AL cell phones so he calls me through there operator

Julie said...

I found your blog through the MilSpouse blog hop.
When my husband was deployed we had to use calling cards at first because they didn't have internet available in their CHU's. But once he was able to get internet we figured it out that it was cheaper to use skype. Of course being able to use skype depends on whether or not your hubby will have good internet access. But if he does...Skype was great. We used webcams so my daughter and I could see him and his family could see him! Of course the connection was not always great but so worth being patient to be able to see my soldier :)
Hope that helps a little.
Just started my blog so go check it out when you have time:
http://j-armywifelife.blogspot.com/

Julie said...

Oh and one more thing...skype worked better when we were talking computer to computer. That is FREE! But sometimes my husband would have to call my phone from his computer and there is a charge for that but it is nothing compared to the cost of calling cards. And the connection from computer to phone was not always as clear.

Anonymous said...

My husband bought a phone before he left specifically to call from over there. He uses the calling cards to call and I can buy them off nobelcom.com (seems to be the cheapest to call a cell) to call him!
He can call from his computer to my cell using Yahoo but it's terrible quality and I can barely hear him. He refuses to do this most of the time bc "there are many ears"!!!

So, He just uses his cell to cal from outside of the living quarters and we budget the minutes most of the time.