A few days ago, Skype’s connection fee for placing calls to landline and mobile phones in non-global rate countries was increased by 100%. As if that is not enough, the cost of a Skype call to Malawi mobile per minute is $0.163 without VAT and $0.187 with VAT.  Early last year, when I started using Skype’s PC-to-phone service, I used to pay only $0.099/minute. Aren’t the prices for these services supposed to be going down?

I really like Skype for their free PC-to-PC calls but when it comes to PC-to-phone calls, they are becoming too expensive. As a result, I am continuously searching for cheaper PC-to-phone services. My preferred service, the one that I have been recommending for sometime, is Comfi. For PC-to-phone calls to Malawi mobiles, I pay only $0.097/minute for their service but the call quality is excellent. The only hassle is that you must know how to install and set up the Xlite softphone.  For folks in the diaspora who frequently phone their loved ones in their home countries (especially in Africa) using Skype, Comfi can help to reduce their phone bills by more than 40%.

In addition to Comfi, I recently stumbled on ActionVoip. Unlike Comfi, they provide their own softphone which is easy to install and configure. So far, I pay only $0.086/minute for their service but sometimes the call quality is not good. But you can see that I save more than 45% compared to Skype.

If you are already using Skype, you can create Comfi and ActionVoip accounts, install and set up their respective softphones, and use them concurrently with Skype on the same PC. In my case, I have the three of them on my PC. My default service is Comfi. When Comfi misbehaves, I switch to ActionVoip. Skype is always  the last resort.