Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

back to overview

March 2001

Free Speech

Paltalk — international calls for free

Free Speech Owing to the end of Deutsche Telekom’s monopoly on the German telephone system, international phone calls have become exceptionally inexpensive. Small, private telephone companies offer callers the chance to dial a five-digit prefix and receive rates as low as several Pfennigs per minute, depending on the country being called. Still, those pennies can add up. Those who wish to communicate with distant loved ones more frequently than their budget allows fill the gap with email and instant messaging. While these tools are now an integral part of life in 2001, composing messages can be less personal than having a nice chat. If your aim is to yak and save even more on your phone bills, paltalk is for you. At, surfers can download software, plug in a microphone or headset and converse with those who followed that same procedure, within a matter of minutes. Though the cyber conversation is conducted walkie-talkie style — the caller must press “Ctrl” (or “Strg” on German keyboards) to talk, and let up to listen — paltalk’s connection is most often as clear as telephoning. Net congestion can be a problem at peak hours, but, at the price of a local call, you can afford to hang up and try your call again — and again.

tell a friend