Tuesday, July 17, 2007

International mobile calls: airBaltic and Skype

As I travel to Russia on business quite often, I am a bit annoyed by the roaming charges of 2.8-3.3 €/min for outgoing and 0.36-0.84 €/min for incoming calls. So I've been looking for smart ways to reduce those cost. Recent innovations i've found are:

1) airBalticcard Mobile - Air Baltic just launched a new SIM phone card for international calling. The rates in Russia are advertised as 0.39 €/min for outgoing calls with receiving calls is free of charge. Cheap rates are also available for other locations. The fee structure seems to be a bit more complicated with additional fee for buying the card, but it is nevertheless significant saving from the usual roaming charges.
But of course, airBaltic can't just satisfy in beating Estonian national carrier in building up the biggest Baltic carrier (Estonian Air used to have much more passenger traffic tha airBaltic just 6 years ago - now it lags the Latvians in any comparable level), for some reason they have also excluded Estonia from the list of the 60+ countries where the airBalticcard works. As i understand, it also means i would not be able to call to Estonia with the card. I plan to give it a try nevertheless.

2) Skype Mobile. As I recently got a new smartphone: HTC s-710, which runs on Windows Mobile, i can now use Skype also on my mobile phone in Wifi hot-spots. I installed it today and it seems to work just fine (although a bit slow, but this is due to my phone, i guess). For some reason the program installed in Norwegian language, but once i figured out how to change that, I was able to use chat and make calls pretty much as in ordinary Skype.

So if you receive phone calls from me in near future saying:
"Do you hear me well? You do? Great! Wow this is cool - I hear you too! Do you hear me well? Good! Bye then!"
Then this is just me discovering the recent innovations in mobile communications.


*uri said...

Well it gets even weirder. In FAQ section airBalticcard says:
My airBalticcard Mobile number has the country code +372. This code belongs to which country?
airBalticcard Mobile numbers use Estonia’s country code (+372).
How much does it cost to call an airBalticcard Mobile number?
To call an airBalticcard Mobile number costs the same as to call any mobile number in Estonia.

So it seems i can use the airBalticcard for calling to Estonia from Russia after all and to use it for receiving calls free of charge as well.
I guess i just need to try it out next time i go to Russia.

Mikk said...

Exactly. You got it right. It is an Estonian number in EMT network. To prevent them having too much competition they have invented two rules:
1. They don't show in their web-page that it would be possible for residence of Estonia to buy it. (you can do it in all AirBaltic flight though)
2. Answering calls and calling in Estonia is extremely expensive.

But for an Estonian traveling a lot this is a good product. You can answer calls in a lot of different countries for free or small charges. And people from Estonia can call to you with the same usual mobile phone call price. :)

An interesting thought though is - if it is possible to offer these small prices in EMT network, why do they still charge so so so much from their clients? (ok I understand - maximizing of profits but have the profits and revenues gone down during last years when the prices of calls have decreased a lot?)

Kristi said...

hmm, I noticed the ad on the plane last Tuesday, but didn't pay too much attention. But now you guys may have solved one of my (and my colleague's) most recent puzzles - namely, we had to contact a company in Russia recently, and we were provided a cellphone number for their CEO or something who was travelling in Paris at that time - when we noticed that the number starts with +372... we initially thought that maybe they are located in Estonia instead. Well, the guy told us that he had bought a calling card during his trip to Paris and that is the number he was given. So maybe somehow he had acquired the airBalticcard Mobile - or has the business of calling cards with Estonian numbers expanded further and there is a new global business model emerging?

vik said...

Airbalticcard Mobile - DENTEL
SIA Telecom Discount - SIA DENTEL
Gertrudes 54 - 3, Riga, LV-1011
Tel. +371 67271711
e-mail: info@airbalticcard.com
e-mail: info@telecomdis­count.lv
http: www.airbaltic­card.com

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Hanauer Straße 139-141
60314 Frankfurt am Main

Deutche Netzwerk Telefonie Ukraina, Kiev
Tel. (044) 592-21-63
e-mail: ip@dentel.net.ua
http: www.dentel.com.ua

Dentel GmbH - Swiss Update NT AG
Atherstrasse 113 CH-6317 Oberwil Switzerland

Bundesanzeiger vom 22.02.2008
Dentel Netzwerk Telefonie GmbH
Strasse: Hanauer Landstraße 135
Ort: 60314 Frankfurt am Main
Amtsgericht: Frankfurt
810 IN 739/07 D-4 (810IN73907)
Eintragungsdatum: 20071009
810 IN 739/07 D-4 Indem Insolvenzverfahren Dentel Netzwerk Telefonie GmbH, Hanauer Landstraße139-145, 60314 Frankfurt am Main (HRB 58386), vertr. d.: Igor Jassenjawski,LETTLAND, (Geschäftsführer) hat die Insolvenzverwalterin gem. § 208InsO angezeigt, dass die Insolvenzmasse zur Erfüllung der fälligen bzw. derkünftig fällig werdenden sonstigen Masseverbindlichkeiten nicht ausreicht. AmtsgerichtFrankfurt/M., 08.10.2007
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Der Gesellschaftsvertrag ist am 4. Oktober 1999 abgeschlossen.
Er ist zuletzt am 17. April 2002 geändert. Durch Beschluß der Gesellschafterversammlung vom 5. Dezember 2003 ist der Sitz von München nach Frankfurt am Main verlegt.

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