Thursday, January 08, 2009


 Phoning Miriam Originally uploaded by PhylB
You wouldn't think in this technologically advanced day and age phoning would be getting harder rather than easier would you? Most families are one nation families so their phoning options are increasing greatly but multinational families are actually in danger of losing contact altogether simply because each country's norms differ vastly. Take our current situation. Up till Brita (Thomas's mother) retired they lived in a house with a phone so Thomas phoned his mum on average once a week for about an hour. Added to that his dad often called him more than once in the week for a quick 5-10 minute chat. No problem there, especially given we get free calls to Denmark with our digital TV package - way to go - I remember the early days when you paid maybe a fiver to phone a relative abroad. Most broadband packages come linked to a UK landline, all Sky digital TV services require a landline - the companies offer free phoning because phoning is no longer the primary use of your land line. Therefore the norm in the UK is to have a landline with free international calls. So where's the problem you ask? Read the smallprint - we get free calls to international landlines. In Denmark there is no countrywide link between landlines and broadband or digital TV services, add to that the fact that mobile calls in Denmark are 10% of the cost here - so what is becoming the norm in Denmark? No landline, only mobiles of course. So now Thomas's parents have moved into the flat our weekly call to them has increased from £0-00 to about the equivalent of buying Anna an extra 176 Pampers nappies a week! I am sure not many people would like to add that to their shopping list, especially not in these hard times. Adding 763 top quality nappies, or say 5 litre bottles of whisky (for those of you who don't understand nappy prices!), or 85 extra loaves (for the teetotalers with no kids) to your monthly shopping bill is just impossible unfortunately. So we need to find a way forward before international communications break down altogether! I guess there is Skype, but given they only have a laptop, they are unlikely to sit in their flat all day so we can ring them free on that. I can't really see Thomas on Skype to his mum. Thomas loves to pace all round the house when he's talking to her, so sitting immobile talking to the wavering image would be a big culture shock. I guess we could use email more but that doesn't really help Anna till she is about 8 or 9... Or snail mail - there's always that solution - aren't the advances in technology impressive?


derek said...

Get a skype phone. Then you can use skype to phone but still wander around as if it was a normal phone.

Phyl said...

That's a start - then we just have to convince them to leave the laptop on all day everyday instead of turning it on for 5 mins at a time to read email!

derek said...
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