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Old Sep 12, 06, 11:05 am   #1
 
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Options for Calling US from Dubai

I will be in Dubai for 5 days and need some affordable options for calling family in the US. I don't have a GSM phone so there goes that idea. Any other ideas? I do have an AT&T calling card but that still gets fairly pricey. Thanks!
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Old Sep 12, 06, 9:11 pm   #2
 
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If you'll have a computer and Internet access, one very inexpensive way is to use Skype (www.skype.com). Using the Skype Out feature, you can call US phones for 2-3 cents/minute, and if you install Skype on a computer at home, you can make Skype to Skype calls for free.
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Old Sep 16, 06, 9:58 am   #3
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you can rent a GSM phone on arrival.. after customs in the corridor with all the hotel rep desks
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Old Sep 18, 06, 1:17 pm   #4
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If you have costco membership, they sell MCI international calling
card. Just lookup the international access online
and you'll be able to use it from UAE.

Here is the access number and service code for UAE.
UAE: 0 800 111
service code: 349

You can also buy calling cards locally.

I dont have an exact cost, but I think its somewhere close to a quarter
per minute for either option.
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Old Sep 22, 06, 11:53 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rts123
If you'll have a computer and Internet access, one very inexpensive way is to use Skype (www.skype.com). Using the Skype Out feature, you can call US phones for 2-3 cents/minute, and if you install Skype on a computer at home, you can make Skype to Skype calls for free.
About two months ago, the UAE started blocking Skype. Competition for Etisalat perhaps? I suppose that's one consequence of living in a totalitarian country. . . (I don't want to start an argument about the UAE -- I absolutely love it here. This is just one small inconvenience.)
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Old Sep 22, 06, 12:36 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecabq
About two months ago, the UAE started blocking Skype. Competition for Etisalat perhaps? I suppose that's one consequence of living in a totalitarian country. . . (I don't want to start an argument about the UAE -- I absolutely love it here. This is just one small inconvenience.)
Is it confirmed that they do this now? if it is the case.. then it has to be
because of Etisalat.
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Old Sep 22, 06, 11:16 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpx
Is it confirmed that they do this now? if it is the case.. then it has to be
because of Etisalat.
It's not like there was an official announcement. But I cannot go to www.skype.com from anywhere in the country, which has been the case ever sense I have been there. It's funny -- you don't get the note about the page being "blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates," but you just get an error that looks like it's from Skype. Please try and see if you get the same thing.

Although I have never been able to go to the Skype web site, I could use the Skype application until recently. But now it never connects -- it's as if you are trying to access Skype but are not connected to the internet. I would welcome others to try -- maybe it's just my computer (and those of a few of my co-workers).
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Old Sep 23, 06, 6:31 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecabq
It's not like there was an official announcement. But I cannot go to www.skype.com from anywhere in the country, which has been the case ever sense I have been there. It's funny -- you don't get the note about the page being "blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates," but you just get an error that looks like it's from Skype. Please try and see if you get the same thing.

Although I have never been able to go to the Skype web site, I could use the Skype application until recently. But now it never connects -- it's as if you are trying to access Skype but are not connected to the internet. I would welcome others to try -- maybe it's just my computer (and those of a few of my co-workers).
One thing I've noticed in few places is they force the browsers to go
through the proxy, but the direct connections were just fine.

Check your browser configuration and try to force it to connect
directly instead of proxy. You may be able to visit some sites
(if it still works the way it did for me in the past)
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Old Oct 6, 06, 2:26 pm   #9
 
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I always just buy a local phone card. You get a pretty fair amount of talktime -- that's assuming you are just going to call the U.S. for brief chats and not an hour-long conversation. The cards have an access number, in English, and you just scrtach off the card to reveal the calling card number. You get a balance before the start of each call letting you know your remaining balance and associated talk time.

One note, not all calling cards work at all public phones -- I was at one of the malls either Ibn Batutta or Emirates and the Etisalat card would not work -- was told a different card was required. Worked fine from the hotel though.
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Old Oct 8, 06, 4:25 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecabq
But now it never connects -- it's as if you are trying to access Skype but are not connected to the internet. I would welcome others to try -- maybe it's just my computer (and those of a few of my co-workers).
It's not just you - Etisalat has blocked it. The way around it is to use a VPN connection (if you have one available) to somewhere outside the UAE. Thre are several commercial VPN services that are available - check the Skype forums for more details.
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Old Oct 9, 06, 12:31 pm   #11
 
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That's good advice. I use my corporate VPN and am able to connect, but VPN puts such a tax on the bandwidth that it's often too clunky to use. Given how beautiful the infrastructure is in the UAE in general, I find the internet connection speeds to be pretty mediocre.
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Old Oct 11, 06, 6:55 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJFK
I always just buy a local phone card. You get a pretty fair amount of talktime -- that's assuming you are just going to call the U.S. for brief chats and not an hour-long conversation. The cards have an access number, in English, and you just scrtach off the card to reveal the calling card number. You get a balance before the start of each call letting you know your remaining balance and associated talk time.

One note, not all calling cards work at all public phones -- I was at one of the malls either Ibn Batutta or Emirates and the Etisalat card would not work -- was told a different card was required. Worked fine from the hotel though.
This is what I actually did for my trip to Dubai and it saved a lot of money over using my AT&T card. Although, one retailer did accidentally sell me the card for wireless time so you have to make sure to buy the right one.
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Old Oct 16, 06, 12:58 am   #13
 
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I'm in Dubai for a couple of nights right now and can confirm that Skype does not work here. As noted in an earlier post, there's no official warning that it's blocked, instead Skype just acts as though it's not connected to the Internet. I have also found that my Sprint calling card doesn't work at my hotel (Holiday Inn), as calling the local access number is blocked. At least I have e-mail.
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Old Oct 16, 06, 5:12 pm   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rts123
I'm in Dubai for a couple of nights right now and can confirm that Skype does not work here. As noted in an earlier post, there's no official warning that it's blocked, instead Skype just acts as though it's not connected to the Internet. I have also found that my Sprint calling card doesn't work at my hotel (Holiday Inn), as calling the local access number is blocked. At least I have e-mail.

try it from the pay phone... or call the hotel operator
to connect you. Its a free call, but they may charge you a
connection fees.

I think since the number of digits is not the same as a local call
some hotels/pay phones simply dont connect.
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Old Feb 4, 08, 9:56 am   #15
 
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Dial out of Dubai

I am in the Dubai airport now and can't seem to dial out on my calling card. I got two separate numbers, but neither one seems to work. Anyone know if either of these formats should work here?

000-0404-4026

800-0441-0036
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