Saturday, July 26, 2008

Communications Abroad

Since I don't really want to venture far from my room at this point, I thought I would post on a bunch of topics that I think might be of interest to others on international travel.

One of the most under used technologies associated with the internet is the internet phone, most prominently associated with Skype. It took me no more than 10 minutes to get up and running on Skype and to purchase 3 months of "unlimited" calls for about $10 to any number in the US. I put that in quotes because I read the fine print and it says that you have 10,000 minutes under their fair share rules. I don't know about you, but there is no way I can spend 10,000 minutes on the phone. I am able to call my family or friends without having to worry about getting over charged by some random phone company. In fact, the main telephone service provider is Turk Telekom, which is partially owned by the government.

Cellphone usage is wide spread here. In fact, most people have more than one for some reason. I have read on a few tourism websites on Turkey that cell phones are hard to get or register here. In fact, I had no trouble getting a cell phone through Turkcell, the biggest cell phone company in Turkey. I registered my sim card under Sertan's name, but if I had brought in my passport there would have been no troubles either. If you bring a cell phone from the States, make sure it is unlocked. I believe that it is a simple password that your service provider gives you to input into your phone. All cell phones and sim cards are registered with the Turkish government to prevent the use of cell phones for terrorist purposes.

Internet is everywhere here. Most coffee shops and a lot of restaurants have a wireless connection that's available to customers. Here at METU, the internet is relatively fast. In fact, METU is the organization which is responsible for registering all Turkish websites. With internet access, you can use AIM, Yahoo, MSN, or Gtalk to communicate with friends back home. In fact, it is the one thing that I probably couldn't live without here.

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