We went to Marrakech in Morocco during half term – I was on call and had checked with 02 prior to leaving that my phone would work, which apparently it would albeit at a cost: 81p a minute to call the UK and 50 something pence a minute to receive calls.
The plan however was to use Groundwire, which is a ‘softphone’, i.e. a software based phone using Voice Over IP to make and receive calls, rather than using the 02 network. You need a VOIP account to use groundwire and I was using my Globe2 account – this costs just 1.5p a minute to make calls and nothing to receive.
Once in Marrakech I was very pleased to have this functionality, not just because of the cost but because I had zero signal the entire time I was there! In hindsight I think if I’d rebooted my phone it might have connected.
The only issue then was accessing the Internet, as Maarrakech isn’t the most digital place you’ve ever been to. Initially we managed to find an Internet cafe with an unsecure wifi connection, so we stood in the street (which was very noisy with motorbikes, donkeys, cyclists, pedestrians and cars all trying to squeeze through a narrow single lane space) but eventually found out that if we stood in a specific spot in our Riad (hotel) we could get a connection in piece and quiet – and like this it worked a charm, I had a few issues I had to deal with but still managed to enjoy my time away.
Groundwire is for the iPhone and is OK, the call quality was absolutely fine but I find it a bit clunky receiving calls. Jo’s Blackberry uses a different softphone which seems a lot more intuitive, I’ll be posting a review on this soon on Globe2 (along with a new site soon!)