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Skype: Best VoIP Connection to Africa and Asia

By Wayan Vota on November 26, 2009

I am FJ Cava, and as the Business Support Manager at Inveneo I spend a lot of time communicating with Inveneo business partners throughout Africa and Asia. We’ve tried a lot of communication channels, VoIP Phones, cell-to-cell calls, Yahoo/MSN chat, and the best real-time communication tool I have found is Skype.

Inveneo relies on email a lot. However, the problem with email is that it often is not in real-time which, is fine for many situations but not all. There are times that I need to communicate directly with a business partner in Africa that I find Skype to be the most stable, cheapest and reliable tool available.

Skype is simple, easy, cheap

Benefits

First Skype is free to download and install on both Mac & PC platforms. This is important as I use a Mac but most Inveneo Partners use PC. This then allows me to communicate for free to our partners on the ground using what is called a Skype-to-Skype call.

It’s really easy to call from Skype. first you have to locate the person you want to call in your contact list and click their name. Then to make a call simply click the green button with the phone on it. This starts the call. It is that simple.

Two Challenges

One drawback of this communication channel is that both parties need a microphone and earphones. Mac comes with this built-in but PC doesn’t so partners need a headset.

The other issue with Skype is the Internet speed on both ends. Sometimes calls get dropped or don’t connect at all because of extremely poor bandwidth, often on the partner’s side. For these occasions there is something called Skype-Out which is calling a cell phone or landline from Skype on your computer.



My status

Still, Dead Simple

All that is needed is to enter a phone number and hit the big, green call button. This will connect you and your computer with the cell phone you’re calling. This method, Skype-Out, costs money but far less than a regular cell-to-cell call from the USA to Africa. I also find this to have the best sound quality and connectivity of any connection, bar none.

I don’t know how they do it but for whatever reason USA Internet connection to a cell phone tower in Democratic Republic of Congo is far better than, landline-to-cell or any other means of communicating for that matter.

The other nice features of Skype are they have video included if you want to see the person you are talking to, as well as a chat feature that rivals such clients as Yahoo and MSN.

So if you’re interested in talking with Africa or Asia in real-time, that doesn’t break the bank and is consistently reliable, I would use Skype.

Filed Under: VoIP
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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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