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Need Input - Expat Focused Communication Services

Hello, everyone. I'm an American living in Budapest, and was faced with some interesting challenges prior to moving here that I'm wondering if others were faced with as well: How to ensure I could properly keep in touch with people back home.

Sure, there are things like Skype, Facebook and so forth - but what about the family members who are less technically savvy? Grandparents, parents and etc... ?

Fortunately, I come form a long background in telecom and service providers. As such, overcoming this issue was easy for me - and quite cost effective.

Now I'm curious how many others are finding themselves in situations where they can't access some services they're used to due to being in a foreign country (i.e. some websites, apps, etc) - and how many people are looking for ways to have telephone service at a low cost with a US (or any other country, for that matter) phone number...

I am considering starting a new business here that specifically caters to expats. Phone service, internet proxies to make it look like you're in the US, travel assistance with pets (I brought a cat and a dog with me here to Buda, and they frequently travel with me to other countries).

Prior to investing too much time and money in to this idea, I'd like to get a feel for a few things.

1) How many people have found themselves in a similar situation and would like a easy and cheap solution to overcome it?

2) What suggestions or ideas would you have, something that you might want/need that you have not really found readily available?

I appreciate your input.

Skype have calling plans that work out pretty cheap and google hangout dialer allows free calls to most US and Canadian numbers.

I can provide Google voice directly to phones sitting on the desk/table... That's somewhat what I'm aiming to provide. I can even make it useable form cell phones - both incoming and outgoing - through data or wifi connection.

Unless the person is:
in a country where such services are blocked
has no idea things like skype and google communications apps exist
in a place with very slow internet

it's going to be hard to sell a communications service as the big boys have it looked after.

I agree with Fred. If one has a land line from their local telecom, then one only needs to get a rather inexpensive VoIP phone adapter to call Internationally on the cheap.

How to setup Google Voice outside the US has been an open secret for years. To learn how to do it, one only has to .... well, Google it.  ;)

Most people I know use the already listed web sites, VoIP services or messaging and chat apps or services to communicate internationally. So I see no real business from them.

For the non-tech Grandparents and parents, then the old fashioned snail mail post card, seasonal card, or letter is really an option to consider. Grandparents, especially, grew up with real letters, and sending them something they can touch and hold is probably a great way to keep in touch.  :)

klsallee :

For the non-tech Grandparents and parents, then the old fashioned snail mail post card, seasonal card, or letter is really an option to consider. Grandparents, especially, grew up with real letters, and sending them something they can touch and hold is probably a great way to keep in touch.  :)

That is an excellent point, and one I hadn't even thought about.
I will immediately print off a few photos of the kids and write a letter to my mum.

Thank you,

It's great to have  ideas and be willing to try them out.
My sister set me up with Magic Jack a few years ago as a Xmas gift. After the year membership was finished I let it go.
Most of my friends are still from the generation where we do not need to have contact that often.  A quick hello on the internet is enough most times.
I always like long periods of not seeing or talking to people because when I do get to finally see them, it is like greased lightning! Really exciting and fun to catch up after years.
Guess I am a loner type of person.
Helping people bring pets over is helpful but I wonder how busy you would actually be with that service.
Our son skypes us every so often, wish he did once a week but him not calling often means things are ok with him. He only calls if he needs something.
I suppose it depends on how close people are with their relations and friends.
I hate to admit it but I hate speaking on the phone, 5 mins is more then enough time to say what has to be said to most people.
Only have a handful of people I know that have enough to say to warrant being on the phone for an hour or more.
Not anti-social, just not a phone talker.
Grew up in the time where we only got a short 10min. phone time after school with friends and only if all our homework and chores were done.
We have a brand new I-phone that we have never even set up, it is outdated already!

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