It’s good to come back to my home town, where I grew up and lived for 26 years. Many of the foreign travelers from US may wonder how to call their families or friends in the US. I am actually amazed by the Taipei Gov. Now I can actually dial my my friends in US from any one of the 800+ moving bus in Taipei. With the free Wi-Fi offered by Taipei city government, I can check email, making a free US domestic calls on a moving bus, at major city facilities, hospitals and subway.
I have never heard or seem any city bus in the USA offering free wi-fi. Obviously, Taipei is much more hi-tech than USA. At mean time, you can also enjoy FREE BIKE RIDE in Taipei!
I you are interested in traveling to Taipei and make long distance calls to people live in USA or Canada, you can actually make free calls. Here are the setup you need.
- A Google Voice Account
- An Obi Phone Box installed at your home or office.
- Setup your OBI Box with Google Voice account.
- Create an account with OBITalk.com and config your OBI Phone Box
- Download OBITalk iPhone App or Android app
With this setup, you can pretty much make free calls to anyone in the USA and Canada from any place with wi-fi. If you are in Taipei and would like to make free calls in the US, you can purchase pre-paid WiFi Card at Starbucks or many other Pre-Paid Wi-Fi data plan with the top 3 mobile companies in Taiwan.
If you want to use the Free Wi-Fi offered by the city government, you can apply a new account here at Taipei Free Public Wi-Fi. You should apply this before you leave from USA to Taipei, because it requires to verify your account with a USA Mobile phone number. They will send you a TEXT message with the verification code.
Once you get your account setup, you can use your iPhone or Android to access the free Wi-Fi at place with the Taipei Free Logo (at hospital, on bus, etc).
So how does it work actually? When you dial your friends or families in the USA or Canada from the OBItalk mobile app, you are actually connecting your phone with your OBI phone box at your home or office through the Free Wi-Fi Internet. It them dial out to the person through your Google Voice Account. So the person whom you dial to will see your Google voice number as caller ID. In this case, they don’t really know that you are actually in Taipei or somewhere in the world with free wi-fi access.
This is so far the coolest thing I like about Google Voice and Obi Phone Box. If I am at the coffee shop, I would just use my computer to make call through Google Voice on Gmail.
Personally, I don’t like Skype and refuse to install Skype on my iPhone. So calling people on Skype is NOT an option.