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Contacting me in Australia

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I'm off to Australia for WorldCon.

Spent a while today getting my iPhone set up to be usable there without costing huge amounts of money. But now I'm not sure whether I'll be able to receive calls and texts from locals without it costing them huge amounts of money.

Here's how it works, as I understand it:

  • I can receive text messages for free. (Which is to say: as part of my regular US plan, which allows about five times as many texts as I ever use in a month.)
  • I can send a limited number of text messages (5-10 per day) for a high but not ridiculously exorbitant price.
  • I can make and receive voice calls, but it'll cost US$1.30 per minute. So that's not a good way to reach me.
  • I can download and listen to voicemail via WiFi for free, if I can find WiFi. (I gather my hotel provides only dialup (!) Internet access, but I also gather there are Internet cafes in the city.)
  • I can use 20MB of data transfer (total over the course of the week) without extra charge.

All of which adds up to my probably not using my phone very much. If you want to reach me in realtime, sending me a text message is probably the way to go.

However, I have no idea whether other people in Australia will be able to send me text messages at reasonable rates for them. I called AT&T and asked if they knew, but they didn't; they said it would be up to the local providers.

I'm tempted to try Skype or Google Voice (I have accounts with both, but I never use 'em), but I'm not sure how much data bandwidth those use. But they should work fine if I can find WiFi.

Perhaps it would be simplest for me to get a local phone after all. I was hoping to avoid that, because I thought it would be simpler for people to be able to contact me via my regular number, but it looks like it may not be so simple after all.

(There are some ideas about getting set up with a local phone on LJ; I may look into that.)

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