Home » Technology Diary — February 10, 2024

Technology Diary — February 10, 2024

by admin

Calling is almost free. Mostly. But you should still be careful

My mother calls me. Someone is in the hospital, you’re worried, she’s been on the phone with her daughter for a long time. But the daughter lives in Sweden. So she called a Swedish cell phone with her cell phone. Multiple times and for a long time. “Are I going to have a really big phone bill now?”

I think it’s actually quite easy to make phone calls if you pay attention to a few little things. But as we discuss this, I realize how complicated it actually is.

My mother has a flat rate on her landline phone for calls to other landline phones within Germany. This is certainly by far the most common case of phone calls, no problem.
She has a flat rate on her cell phone for calls to all landline and mobile phones within Germany. That happens sometimes too. A call to a cell phone abroad to Sweden would be quite expensive (I think around 1 euro per minute).

But from here it gets surprisingly complicated in detail. Because that only applies if you use the phone function on your cell phone. But I once told her that she should call abroad via WhatsApp. It’s not that easy to understand the difference between what it means to make calls using the telephony function of your cell phone or via WhatsApp, but there are different images for this on your cell phone, so it’s easy to remember. Now you have to pay attention to the fact that a WhatsApp cell phone call is free, but uses data. So it only works as long as the mobile data volume has not been used up. So she should only use it when she is on WiFi. Or, outside of Wi-Fi, don’t spend so long on the phone (“Keep it short!”). And this also applies if she is called via WhatsApp outside of the WLAN. Whereas making calls using the telephony function is always free – as long as you are in Germany. Even if she is called from abroad.

So we summarize:
Call a landline number within Germany: use a landline phone or cell phone, it doesn’t matter. If you have a cell phone, then prefer to use the telephone function. If you’re on the go, then not via WhatsApp.
Calling a cell phone number within Germany: Use your cell phone. Better with the telephone function. If you’re on the go, then not via WhatsApp.
Call a phone number abroad: Use your cell phone and be sure to call via WhatsApp. It’s better to just make phone calls from home, but if you’re on the go, keep it short and don’t chatter (not even when you get a call).

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I realize that it was a good idea to buy a prepaid card for my mother and not have her cell phone costs automatically deducted from my checking account. In the worst case scenario, she could call away the 50 euros in prepaid credit to Sweden if she accidentally taps the wrong picture when calling Sweden.

(Addendum: The friend in the hospital is slowly feeling better. And the son has even more questions about making phone calls.)


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