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My cost to call home to the US from my German cell phone is now essentially the same as it is for anyone in Germany calling to anyone else in Germany from a cell phone.
Call costs in Europe are very different from the pricing structure in the US. Calls TO cell phones cost more than calls to land lines. Call from cell phones have various rates depending on your carrier, plan, and who you're calling. I'm using an O2 Loop account with an unlocked Nokia phone I bought for 40 Euro last time I was here. With this plan, like most plans here, incoming calls are free while I'm in Germany. SMS messages sent are very inexpensive, but calling out to the US is very expensive.
Here's what I've done:
From my cell phone, I send an SMS message. It routes quickly though a gateway and into my Domino server where it lands in a mail in database.
A pre-delivery agents instantly picks it up, and drops an entry into a queue for Asterisk.
Asterisk (my VOIP server) dials my cell phone in Germany. The rate for that is 22 cents per minute billed in 6 second intervals. That's because its a cell phone. Calling a land line in Germany is only 1.6 cents per minute. The difference is the carrier cost..
When I answer the cell phone -- now a "free" incoming call on that phone -- my Asterisk server prompts me for a number. I enter whatever number I want to call and Asterisk connects the call as it would if I were dialing from my home office. Total call cost is now radically less than making a call to the US from the cell phone would otherwise be.
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