Friday, August 27, 2010

How to Make Cheap International Calls from Oman with Skype

It is relatively easy to find products that can be used to make cheap calls to Oman from almost any location in the world but making international calls from Oman is another matter. The Omani government has attempted to block most cheap international calling options so people (especially expats) are forced to use the high cost, government controlled monopoly phone company to make international calls. This is especially designed to extract as much money as possible from the relatively large expat community living in Oman.

On a recent visit to Oman I found that their phone service is expensive (even phone cards) and call quality did not seem very high. I used a prepaid cell phone while in the country and the domestic call quality is even poor. The government has blocked Skype and other pc-to-phone and VoIP products for several years so people are required to use their expensive domestic phone service. However, there is a way to use Skype from Oman and I found that Skype call quality was even higher than the Omani land line or mobile phone service.

I used Skype from Oman by first downloading a program called StrongVPN onto my laptop computer. Strong VPN creates a connection through the Internet from a PC to a server located in another country (the USA or Europe). Strong VPN assigns an IP address to the PC from the other country so Skype thinks a call is being made from that country not from Oman. I connected my PC to a server in New York using Strong VPN and made Skype to phone calls to the USA for 2 cents per minute. The system worked great and call quality was super. Strong VPN for use from Oman costs $85 per year but that can be saved many times over by using Skype instead of the domestic phone service for making international calls.

Strong VPN offers other advantages to people who travel with a laptop. One big advantage is a secure connection on any wireless network. It encrypts the signal through the wireless connection so it is much safer to use a laptop on almost any public network. There are also other advantages that are discussed on their website.

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