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00AM MDT SEPT 19, 2014... A TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE SOUTHERN BAJA CALIFORNIA PENINSULA FROM SANTA FE TO LA PAZ FOR TROPICAL STORM POLO... CLICK ON TROPICAL STORM POLO IN THE NEW STORIES COLUMN LEFT FOR MORE INFORMATION...

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Calling Internationally Over the Internet

Calling from Mexico via VoIPUsing Voice over Internet can save you money when calling internationally from your computer or internet cafe. Even when your back home in the states!

Boy things sure have changed! Baja California is no different. Mexico now has  broad band internet connections, that can help you save money on phone calls.

Here is  a little personal history to put perspective on some of the technological advancements that have taken place here in Baja. For example, how radically things have changed in communications in the last 15 years. When I first came to Baja, I came to Los Barriles to windsurf for the winter and not much else. I did however, have a need to stay connected with the U.S., for business purposes such as checking on renters and stock investments during that time.

Woman using a comptuer to call from MexicoThat meant a quick bike ride to the Buena Vista Caseta to have Norma put through the call on one of 3 maybe 5 lines that they had for both Buena Vista and Los Barriles. One thing I’ll never forget, the first year I lived there, is that she had to literally crank a hand generator for power to call (like Radar in the TV series MASH). I would tip her extra, to give it a few extra cranks in order to get a better connection. These calls were not cheap, convenient or consistent but it was the best and it worked. Having to wait in line and talk with everyone at the Telmex Larga Distancia office was also apart of the ritual as well as trying to learn Spanish from the local police who shared the building.

Well Los Barriles now has phones and high speed internet like a lot of other places in Baja and the rest of the world. In fact I’m writing this on my laptop while outside by the pool at our new Cabo home /office on a wireless connection that then goes through cable broadband connection to the rest of the net. Many of you may not be that impressed, as wireless networks have been out in Canada and the Unite States for a while now. But if I then tell you I use my computer over a wireless connection, to a cable broadband (Prodigy Ad Infinitum DSL works the same) to call the United States for 1.7 cents a minute you might want to listen up.

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man callinf long distanceYes, in fact I use this system to call anywhere in Mexico for about 3 cents a minute and to any cell phone in Mexico for 14 cents a minute as well. Telcel watch out! While cell phones have definitely taken off all over Mexico the costs are prohibitive for long distance calls of any length.

I have been using VoIP for years now, even when I only had dial -up service. However now that I have broadband Internet here in Baja California, many of my friends are amazed at how easy and well it works

The clarity of the connection is really amazing at times. Most of the time people I call don't even realize I'm using a net phone and are surprised to find I'm calling from Mexico.

Call ordinary phones anywhere in the world from your computer for the price of a local call with SkypeOut. www.skype.com. Skype in particular has become particularly popular with the travel crowd in Baja. The connection is of course, connection dependant, but most users find it to worked very well when calling from Baja to the US or Canada. Calls, like other VoIP providers, is just pennies per minute.

Lovely ladie calling on the computerYou can also enroll in SkypeIn which gives you a phone number in the US, Canada or many other countries, so your friends back home can call you. For businesses, it allows you to have a local state side number for your Baja business.

When calling another customer on the same VoIP provider calls range from Free to Almost Free. This can be particularly useful in calling family members for long chats.

In any case these relatively new “Net or PC to phone”  or "voice over IP" (VoIP)  services do work and I use them regularly for business as well as pleasure calls. So folks if you are tired of big phone bills do you self a favor and try out the latest in technology.

I have tried to explain to many people how it can reduce their phone bills dramatically, but until they stop by and put on the headset and call home for 20 minutes they just don't quite seem to get it. Generally when they offer to reimburse me for their 20 minute long distance call and I tell them the first ones free and anyhow why would I charge a friend for a 75 cent call! Now do you get it?  

My monthly Telmex bill went from close to a $1000.00 before the Internet, to $600 a month with email, and now to less than $100 a month including my broadband service and I’m calling internationally even more.

These same services work from any Internet connection, from anywhere in the world, with very competitive rates to and from just about any where. Most Internet cafes also have systems available but if you already have your own account they only charge for the computer time which is commonly only $1.00USD an hour now even in Baja.

One piece of equipment you will need is a good headset (headphones and microphone). It is worth it to have a nice one if you plan on using it regularly. My favorite is by Plantronics (from the aviation world) its stereo, has a noise canceling microphone and it folds for storage so it is very easy to travel with  You see the links below will lead you to the same service and equipment we use here at www.bajainsider.com. Yes if you follow these links and purchase from these companies we will receive a commission of a few bucks and you can save hundreds on your phone bill. So what’s that worth?

So happy communicating and we hope this information helps all of you stay just a little more connected to the world as you live and travel in the paradise of Baja.

James