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Priscilla | 25 May, 2013 | 一般 | (48 Reads)

Prohibitive international call charges mean that it can be painfully expensive to make calls to Pakistan from the UK. If you've got friends and family living in Pakistan, you may find that you talk to them much less frequently that you'd like to. Luckily, new VoIP technology means that cheap phone calls or even free international calls to Pakistan are now available to everyone.

Have you got friends and family in Pakistan? If so, how do you stay in touch? Letters, postcards and email are great, but they're just not the same as a proper conversation. People are often reluctant to pick up the phone to call friends and family in Pakistan, though. The tariffs are simply often too high to justify the call, they feel. And even if they do phone, they can't really relax and enjoy the conversation, because they know that with every minute, the phone bill is soaring. It's the same with international calling cards - you can't concentrate on the conversation because you're worried about how much credit the call is eating up. So, to save money, people will often avoid phoning their friends and relatives in Pakistan, or only do so rarely.

There is, though, a way to make free international calls or cheap phone calls to Pakistan - by avoiding traditional phone lines altogether. It's possible thanks to modern Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which makes calls over a broadband connection. VoIP turns spoken words into digital signals that travel across the internet, then turns them back into speech at the other end.

There are two main ways you can use VoIP to make free calls or cheap calls to Pakistan.

1. 'PC to PC'

In this set-up, VoIP software turns your computer into a telephone. You, and those you're talking to in Pakistan, must both sign up to compatible VoIP providers such as Skype or MSN. If only works if you've both got a computer or laptop, a broadband connection, a headset/ microphone/ speaker (which may already be on your computer).

This system may suit you fine. It's certainly the cheapest option, as it enables you to make free international calls. But it does have its limitations. You and the person in Pakistan both need to be at a computer, and you both need to have signed up with compatible providers. You can also use PC to PC system to make calls to other landlines or mobiles in Pakistan, though you'll be charged for these by the minute. Bear in mind, too, that the quality of the call probably won't be as good as that of a regular landline or mobile phone.

2. Phone to phone

If you want greater flexibility of making cheap phone calls using a traditional home telephone (instead of through your PC with headsets), it might be worth thinking about signing up with a VoIP provider that allows you to do this. What usually happens is that you opt for one or other of the call plans the provider offers. Depending on the call plan, these offer free calls to sol republic various countries - or you can get a really basic call plan that simply popsolrepublic.com includes unlimited anytime calls to the UK.

Because they use VoIP technology, these service providers can also afford to offer highly competitive international tariffs for calls to other countries. So if you find that Pakistan doesn't feature in any of the call plans offered, don't worry. If Pakistan is the only international country you want to call, you can simply sign up to the service provider's most basic call plan. As soon as you've signed up, you'll have full access to the provider's full range of cheap international tariffs, including Pakistan. If you're likely to call other international countries, check to see whether they're included in any call plans. By comparing the call plans and international tariffs, you should be able to work out what's best for you.

With this 'phone to phone' system, you'll get a special adapter from your VoIP provider. By using this adapter to connect your normal handset to your computer or router, you can effectively take advantage of VoIP technology - but use your normal phone to make 'phone-to-phone' calls to Pakistan. The only difference is that the calls go through your existing broadband connection - and not through a landline. It means that you can simply pick up the phone and dial a number in Pakistan. The person you're calling doesn't need to have a computer, or broadband. The call quality is so good that the person you're calling won't know you're using VoIP.

So if you want the pleasure of being able to make long, guilt-free, cheap calls to Pakistan, VoIP might be the way to go. You'll never worry about your phone bill again.

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