Author Archives: Pingo Blog Editor

Pingo Service Update: Toll Free Service Available at NO Additional Cost

Dear Valued Pingo Customers,

As mentioned previously, we are currently experiencing connectivity issues using Local Access numbers due to service disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy.  At this time, we still do not have a reliable estimate of when this problem will be resolved. In the meantime, Pingo toll-free access is working normally.  

Please use the following Toll Free Number: 1-888-967-4646

As a courtesy to our customers, for a limited time, NO additional charges will be assessed for using any of our Toll Free Access numbers to make your calls during the service outage period. We will notify you when the Local Access service is fully restored, and at that time, the toll free charges will resume.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience. To fully investigate this matter, we are working diligently with providers that support over 60k Pingo Local Access numbers.

If you have experienced a problem using a Pingo local access number, we want to know about it. Please fill out the trouble shoot form so we can diagnose and resolve the problem.

http://www.pingo.com/en/troubleshoot.do

We truly appreciate your business and patience to allow us to restore the service.

Thanks for your continued support,

- The Pingo Team

Pingo Local Access Number Outage Due To Hurricane Sandy

Dear Valued Pingo Customers,

As mentioned prior, Hurricane Sandy severely impacted our systems, causing widespread damage and power outages. Our dedicated employees worked day and night to get your service back up and running yesterday.

However we are currently experiencing connectivity issues using Local Access numbers due to service disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy.  At this time, we do not have a reliable estimate of when this problem will be resolved. As soon as we do, we will communicate that information. In the meantime, Pingo toll-free access is working normally.  

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience. To fully investigate this matter, we are working diligently with providers that support over 60k Pingo Local Access numbers.

If you have experienced a problem using a Pingo local access number, we want to know about it. Please fill out the trouble shoot form so we can diagnose and resolve the problem.

http://www.pingo.com/en/troubleshoot.do  

We truly appreciate your business and patience to allow us to restore the service.

Thanks for your continued support,

- The Pingo Team

Pingo Website & Service Are Now Restored

Dear Valued Pingo Customers,

Pingo Website & Service Are Fully Restored!

Hurricane Sandy severely impacted our systems, causing an interruption of Pingo service for several hours. Our dedicated employees worked diligently to get your service back up and running.

Regardless of what Mother Nature brings, our commitment to you remains stronger than ever.

Thank you for your patience, and as always, we greatly appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

- The Pingo Team

Project Bread’s Strike Out Hunger Bowl-a-thon

iBasis Project Bread Bowl-a-Thon scheduled for tomorrow evening has bin postponed since the bowling alley will be closed due to Hurricane Sandy in Boston.

Project Bread Bowl-a-Thon is part of our companies “Corporate Social Responsibility” to help a great cause.

Project Bread’s Strike Out Hunger Bowl-a-thon

Sponsored by iBasis

Today, thousands of people in Massachusetts experience hunger because they cannot afford adequate food. Local families are struggling even more this year to put food on the table because of a recent rise in the cost of everyday food and the high cost of living in the state.

In fact, many families and individuals who never thought they’d need to ask for help are now having to decide between paying rent, getting medical care, or buying food. Money raised through Strike Out Hunger will help our neighbors get through the tough winter months that lie ahead.

Register today as a team captain, recruit teammates from your friends, family and co-workers, raise $650 or more per lane as a team and join us on October 30th for a good time while making a real difference.

Don’t have a team to join? Join Team Project Bread and have fun and meet others who are also passionate about ending hunger in Massachusetts!”

Looking at some old tweets from @TelphoneCard you can see some of the money we have helped raise for this local cause.

8:11 AM – 16 Nov 11

Pingo / iBasis Project Bread Bowl-A-Thon last night raised about $27,000 which was more then last year of about $22,000 for @WalkForHunger

9:15 AM – 3 Jan 11

80 bowlers from iBasis attended Project Bread Bowl‐a‐thon and raised almost 10k for a great #charity #cause.

Speaking of great causes….

store owner needed a micro loan to help buy supplies

Check out our post on Facebook.com/YoPingo

“Help the world with a FREE $25.00 micro loan (While Supplies Last). Sign up for Kiva now to make a difference.
http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/GlobalPhoneCards Please like & share this post to help spread the word!”

Check out the previous blog post we did about Kiva on how to “Fund the World with a Free $25 Kiva Micro Loan!

* Disclaimer

Photo in this post is owned and credited to Kiva.org. The opinions expressed in the Bowl-A-Thon event details are those of Project Bread and do not reflect the opinions of iBasis. In addition, iBasis does not review the content for factual accuracy and therefore does not vouch for the accuracy of any facts contained in the quoted content provided by Project Bread.

Pingo Supports the New York Nigerian Independence Day Parade Celebration

Pingo was proud to help support the New York Nigerian Independence Day Parade Celebration with a booth at the parade & attend the Nigerian Cultural Night Events.

Check out the 100′s of photos we took at the Nigerian New York event images on flickr. Also watch, subscribe, like & share all the Nigerian Video’s captured on Pingo’s YouTube channel.  Amazing to see all the Green White Green Nigerian pride in New York City!

Please share this post with your friends, Facebook & Twitter!

Global Business Card Etiquette

By Guest Blog Post Author David Grebow on behalf of VistaPrint.com

Using a business card correctly in a global economy takes some knowledge about the way other cultures use their cards. Here’s a short primer on business card do’s and don’ts

Doing business in a flat world means you will be doing business with people from other countries. Whether you are traveling to a meeting in another country, or the people from another country are coming to meet with you in the U.S., etiquette is etiquette. It is important to show that you know the proper way things are done in their country.

As it happens everywhere, the meeting usually begins with the passing of the business cards. I said usually, but we’ll get to that. First, the general rules of playing international business cards.

In most countries, with the exceptions being North America and Western Europe, the exchange of business cards is a ceremony of great importance. Let’s begin with some general tips.

The current universal standard has not changed in many years. The business card still needs to include the name of the person, the company name, a company logo, if applicable, and the relevant contact information, including:

  • Street address
  • Postal code
  • Country
  • Telephone and fax numbers with country codes, and
  • Email addresses

Traditionally, black ink is used on white card stock. The typeface, usually serif, should be legible and professional-looking. The international standard for card size is 85.60 x 53.98 mm (3.370 x 2.125 inches).
Business cards are an internationally recognized means of remembering who was at the meeting. Make sure you have enough clean cards and that they contain the most up-to-date contact information.

Here are more tips on the card exchange:

  • When you are presented with a business card from anyone, make a point of looking at it and asking any questions you might have about the information printed on it. Do not just slip it into your pocket.
  • Business cards are generally exchanged at the beginning of the first meeting and not at any followup meeting unless new people are in the room, and then only they exchange business cards.
  • Do not carry your cards loose in your pockets or allow them to become bent or dirty. Invest in a small, discreet card case.
  • Never write on your card or on any card you receive unless directed to do so.
  • In North America and most of Europe, it is acceptable to have a simple statement or selling point about your business or service. However, it’s not such a good idea when presenting the card outside those geographical regions.

A few words about words. It is good etiquette for any meeting with businesspeople from another country to also print your contact information in their language on the back of the card. It is also good business etiquette to present the card so the recipient’s language is face up and facing them so they can read it as you hand it to them.

Hire a professional translator or agency and make sure your title indicates your position in the company hierarchy. Also make sure the correct dialect is used, and that any cultural nuances are observed. For instance, foreign translations of business cards for use in China are often printed with gold ink, which is considered auspicious.

Now for the fun part: Other countries and other business-card presentation etiquette. Here are a few of the key tips to remember:

Japan:

  • Business cards are considered an extension of your business and are exchanged with great ceremony. (That’s why this list of proper etiquette is so long.)
  • Invest in quality cards using a better card stock than you would normally choose.
  • Always keep your business cards in pristine condition.
  • Treat the business card you receive with great respect.
  • Make sure your business card includes your title since the Japanese place emphasis on status and hierarchy.
  • Business cards are always received with the right language facing the receiver using two hands holding the card by the corners.
  • When receiving a card, bow out of respect and read the card as if to memorize the name and title so you can match it to the person later.
  • If you are presenting cards to more than one person start with the highest ranking individual and move down according to the protocol of rank.
  • Never present a business card during a meal.
  • During a meeting, place the business cards on the table in front of you in the order people are seated.
  • When the meeting is over, put the business cards in a card case or a portfolio, not in your pocket.

China:

  • Have one side of your business card translated into Cantonese or Mandarin and printed in gold ink.
  • Your business card should include your title.
  • If your company is the oldest or largest in your country, that fact should be highlighted on your card.
  • Same basic presentation rules listed above for Japan also apply to China. Hold the card in both hands when offering it and bow, and carefully read the card when you are on the receiving end.
  • Present your card before you ask for one from the recipient.
  • Never write on someone else’s card unless so directed, since it is considered a sign of disrespect.

India:

  • If you have a university degree or any honor, put it on your business card.
  • Always use your right hand to give and receive business cards. Note: This practice should be followed with businesspeople from any Islamic country as well as from many parts of Africa.
  • Business cards need not be translated into Hindi as English is widely spoken within the business community.
  • In India, business cards are exchanged even in non-business situations, generally after the initial handshake and greeting.
  • Always present the card in a way that the recipient may read the text as the card is being handed to them.

Korea:

  • When you receive a business card from a Korean, simply nod your head as a gesture of respect and thank the person for the opportunity to meet with them. No need to bow.
  • Unlike in other Asian countries, it is appropriate to put the card away immediately in a simple card holder. Looking at the card too long is regarded as ignorant and impolite.
  • It is preferred that you present your card to a person before asking for their card.
  • Again, present your card with both hands, Korean text side up, text facing toward the recipient, and give a gentle nod of the head. The nodding of the head is especially important when meeting with individuals senior to you.

Brazil:

  • Language, again, is important. When you conduct business with a Brazilian, have business cards printed one side in English and the other in Portuguese.
  • Distribute these to everyone present when they arrive, making sure the Portuguese text is facing up.
  • If you arrive first, present your cards right away.

Here are a few general rules for other countries, as well:

  • In Iran, only senior-level individuals exchange business cards.
  • In other Arabic nations, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, cards are given to everyone you meet.
  • In Hungary, on the translated side, your surname should precede your given name.
  • In Spain and Turkey, the business card should be presented to the receptionist upon arrival.

As you can tell, every country has its own way of conducting business and its own business card etiquette. Make sure, aside from learning the above rules, that you talk with someone who does business with the country you want to learn more about. Use the library or go online. Contact the Department of State or the country’s embassy. What you do — or do not do — will set the tone for your entire meeting.

For more information, visit: http://www.ats-sea.agr.gc.ca/exp/3754-eng.htm#g.

Guest Blog Post Author

David Grebow is a freelance business journalist who writes for Vistaprint, a global leader in marketing products and services for small businesses. David is a writer, editor, and author of many books, including “A Compass for the Knowledge Economy.” He holds an MBA from Harvard, and his work has been published in Harvard Business Review and The Economist.

Disclaimer:  This site does not compensate its guest bloggers for their posts. The opinions expressed in the guest posts are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of iBasis.  In addition, iBasis does not review the posts for factual accuracy and therefore does not vouch for the accuracy of any facts contained in this guest post.

Global Mobile Web Traffic Statistics

Just wanted to share some interesting global mobile web traffic statistics compiled in this info graphic produced by Go-Global.com

With Pingo your can dial the world while your on the go with Pingo EZ Dial app. Make a mobile cell phone call from 40 countries globally. Pingo EZ Dial app is compatible with 450 mobile smart phone models.  Then check out Pingo Soft Phone feature for web dial calls from up to 200 countries for just 1.75 U.S. cents per minute.

Check out the global country call rates . Then take advantage of Pingo’s $10 call bonus promotion on $20 min. sign up! That’s valid to new customers only.

Mobile Web Traffic Statistics
Infographic by- GO-Globe.com

Remember to check out Pingo’s global country call rates.  Then take advantage of Pingo’s $10 call bonus promotion on $20 min. sign up! That’s valid to new customers only.

Info Graphic Disclaimer:  This site does not compensate for sharing info graphics. The opinions expressed in this info graphic are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of iBasis.  In addition, iBasis does not review the info graphic stats for factual accuracy and therefore does not vouch for the accuracy of any facts contained in this info graphic produced by Go-Globe.com.

5 Questions from a World Nomad Traveler to an Expat Living in Colombia

Guest Post Interview of Jasmine Stephenson an expat living in Colombia and former World nomad traveler.

1st Question:

So your 27 and you went from Living in Florida to traveling the world. What inspired you to sell all your stuff and make that leap of faith to migrate to a new country not once but twice?

I just wanted something different for my life. I wanted to define my own version of success, live the way I wanted to, see other cultures, learn, explore.

2nd Question

You’ve lived abroad as a Nomad to Expat for over 4 years. How long & often do you call home to stay connected to friends and family from when you first left to New Zealand to now in Colombia?

I catch up with my family once every week or two.

3rd Question:

What would you say to inspire a Pingo customer to take this giant leap to becoming an Expat and/or Nomad to experience a life travel adventure?

Like Nike says, Just do it!

4th Question:

Can you share a culture shock experience while living abroad or perception experience of Americans?

I’ve had a few of those… probably the most laughable one was when I got blamed personally for causing the global financial crisis.

5th Question:

What advice would you give to someone considering being an Expat in Colombia?

I’d say that if you want to move to Colombia, don’t listen to the news. What you see on TV is very different from the daily reality that we live in here. Learn Spanish (at least the basics), talk to others who live here, and come visit. Find out why more people now than ever before are learning the truth behind the tourism slogan, “The only risk is wanting to stay.”

Expat Living in Colombia

Advice From an Expat Living in Colombia

Guest Interview Post Author Bio:

Jasmine Stephenson is a travel blogger who left her home in 2007 to live life on her own terms. She is currently living in Medellin, Colombia. Catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Immigration Questions with an Expert Immigration Attorney

Guest Blog Post:

By: Christine Swenson from Swenson Law Office PC

Question 1:
As you’re probably aware over 3,350,000 million searches on “immigration” are done in the US with over 11,100,000 globally.  What trusted immigration news & advice sites would you recommend to help people navigate the web to get a foundation of what to do before speaking with a licensed immigration attorney for specific advice?

Answer 1:

The Internet can be overwhelming, especially with a topic as broad and varied as immigration.  When using the Internet to begin your research and investigation, I recommend being as specific as possible when creating search terms.  Even though I practice immigration law exclusively, there are areas within this field that I do not handle.  Unfortunately, there are very few news websites I would recommend because, with the 24/7 news reporting method, it’s often difficult to provide concrete answers when so much is determined on a case-by-case basis.  However, there are two organizations I would recommend to get started:  Immigrant Law Resource Center at www.ilrg.org; and American Immigration, LLC, www.ilw.com.  Next, I would recommend immigration-related websites such as www.USCIS.gov or similar sites for government agencies that also deal with immigration such as the Department of State, for example.

Question 2:
What Immigration questions would you suggest someone ask to a licensed immigration attorney to ensure they know the current immigration laws & policies?

Answer 2:

I appreciate the fact that you’re focusing on “license immigration attorneys,” which tells me you are already aware of the problems with notarios, who may be able to conduct or to assist with legal transactions in foreign countries but which is not the case in the United States.  These folks claim to have special back channels to expedite or guarantee a favorable result.  These promises are not possible with the American immigration system.  At the same time, there are non-lawyers who have been through extensive training from the Board of Immigration Affairs, called Accredited Representatives, who are qualified to assist people with immigration issues.

Now, to address the heart of your question.  First, people need to conduct some research on their own to have a basic understanding of what immigration process you need assistance with so that you can communicate with your attorney.  In general, clients should ask whether the attorney has handled a similar immigration process previously, how many clients the attorney has handled similar situations, and whether those clients cases were resolved in favor of the client.  I would ask what the typical obstacles are applicants face when pursuing this type of process.  Lastly, I would engage them in a discussion about what they do to keep up on the changes in immigration law and policies: do they take any classes? Participate in discussion groups or training other attorneys?  Does the attorney participate in the American Immigrant Lawyers Association?

Question 3:
 Can you share an interesting client or industry immigration story?

Answer 3:
Without obtaining my client’s permission to share his/her situation, I cannot share their situation.  What I can tell you is that the people I have met through my immigration practice are some of the most sincere, hardworking, family-oriented people who simply want a better life for themselves and their families.

Question 4:
Being that this is an election year what political changes could you possible predict to help solve illegal immigration problems?

Answer 4:
Since the last “amnesty day,” authorized in 1983 under President Ronald Regan, there are millions of people who are in the United States and are non-citizens.  There is an entire generation which is caught between a rock and a hard place: DREAMers.  The DREAM Act is for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act and addresses the needs of those who were brought to the U.S. as children and who, for all intents and purposes, were raised as citizens but are not here legally.  As you likely know, on June 15, 2012, President Obama enacted a deferred action program for those who meet certain eligibility criteria.  This program does not grant a legal immigrant status; if eligible; it identifies and only allows requester the legitimate authority to work in the United States, to enroll in college and to pursue the dream they were raised with.

The first concern I have is whether this new deferred action program will remain in place if Mr. Romney becomes president.  Based on what has been stated to date, Mr. Romney has not made any statements of support of this policy nor has he committed to continuing it.  In light of how many people this policy will help, it would be calming to deferred action recipients to have a commitment to this program.

The second concern I have is that there is no one right solution to the various challenges we have with immigration.  For example, currently we have caps on the number of immigrants who can come to the United States to work.  This cap is fixed, regardless of the state of the American economy.  An option would be to have the cap flex – increase or decrease – dependent upon whether the economy is growing or contracting.

Next on my list would focus on agricultural workers; currently, the government only allows for temporary agricultural workers.  The maximum period of time those visa holders can remain in the United States is three years, with the expectation that visa holders do not work year round and they return to their country.  For most of us who live in urban or even suburban areas, we have little concept of what it takes to run and to sustain a successful farm operation.  There are so many agricultural jobs throughout the country that demand full-time, lesser-skilled employees, yet there is no viable visa available for them.

Lastly, regarding the large undocumented population not addressed through new policy, it would be more effective if the Obama deferred action policy was applied to the parents of DREAMers.  Contrary to the naysayers, this does not reward them with legal status but does allow them to work and continue their contributions to the economy, only legally.  For the DREAMer generation, an option might be to convert their deferred action status to a legal status, when it is time to renew their status, which is in two year (if the policy isn’t revoked).  This keeps in mind that the only way any of the DREAMers, or anyone else for that matter, will have the legal status is through congressional action.

Question 5:
Could you share some interesting immigration statistics?

I must admit that statistics are not my “thing” because of my skepticism with the ability for people to manipulate numbers.  However, I have found that the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), which is bipartisan, investigated the complexity of immigration and have shed a new light on the impact immigrants have on the economy.  Here is a sample of what they have found and brought to light:

•    When we typically thing of an entrepreneur, we think of small business owners who employ others.  Yet in the US, there is no visa option for foreign nationals to start small business.  If you have at least $1 million to invest in the U.S., then you can apply for an EB-5 visa.  Or, if you’re from certain treaty nations and are able to invest enough in your own business, then you can apply for an E-2 visa.
•    To apply for an H-2B visa, for temporary/seasonal, nonagricultural workers, it takes approximately eight weeks and at least $2,500.00 per applicant.  PNAE’s research found that under this current system and backlog, one in three small businesses would close or reduce hours due to the lack of help.
•    A 2010 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found areas with higher immigration have higher wages for native workers because immigration leads to greater specialization and productivity.  From 1990 to 2007, immigration was associated with an increase of about $5,100 in the yearly income of the average U.S. worker in constant 2005 dollars. The same study found no evidence that immigrants hurt employment rates or hours-per-worker for U.S.-born workers.

Guest Post Author Bio:

expert immigration attorney

Guest Post From Expert Immigration Attorney

Christine Swenson has practiced law for more than 15 years. She was a prosecutor in Tucson, Arizona, and in the greater Denver metro area for more than six years when she changed her focus to education.  She has been a vocal supporter of victims’ rights throughout her career. Christine recently opened her own practice as a result of her work with victims of crime and the opportunity for them to obtain a U Visa. This work has reignited her passion for immigrants and the struggles and prejudices they face in the United States, which prompted her to focus her practice exclusively on immigration law.  Check out her blog to keep up with her work with victims, DREAMers, and other immigrants.

When Illness Strikes While At Work Abroad With Children

Health Advice For Living Abroad With Children

Getting sick is never fun, but it is something that everyone will at some point experience in their life. Whether it’s a simple cold or a serious ailment, illness can leave us feeling miserable and sometimes even a little helpless. During our under-the-weather experiences, it’s always great to see a familiar face and hear friendly voices, but when we’re outside and away from our family circles, we often feel a little alone while living abroad with children.

Even our family may feel a little helpless since they cannot be there for you when illness strikes. When you’re work abroad with children and at a distance from your family and familiar friends, coping with sickness is basically left up to you. Maintaining your health, getting medical advice and assistance, and having to support yourself all on your own can be difficult, but the truth is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. And though your family may reside in a completely different country or continent, they can still be there for you when you need them the most to handle living abroad with children.

Helping keep things on track

When illness becomes serious, and it often strikes when we least expect it, it is always a good idea to enable your family to take care of any necessary processes that still need to be maintained when you can’t take care of them. In these situations, your family can take steps that will ensure that you and your life abroad are in good hands.

Provide your family the contacts you have, such as work, school, and friend circles so that they can assist you by handling bills and information for a care network. In many emergency situations, it is a good idea that such entities as work and school are quickly notified.

Despite their distance, you may depend on family abroad to arrange for transportation, grocery shopping, and other daily provisions. In serious illness situations, these care-essentials will make a large difference in your quality of life and enable a speedy recovery. Such simple tasks that a completely healthy person may take for granted can become an incredible hassle when we’re feeling under the weather, and it’s a great opportunity for your family to help even when they’re far away from your work abroad with children.

A different kind of help

Sick and yet so far away from family, keep in mind that they can’t really help you physically, but they can still be there where it really counts. They can be there in heart and provide advice and social support. This is one of the biggest concerns of anybody suffering from an ailment. The feeling of being alone and having to face not only the day’s regular challenges but also coping with sickness can leave an individual feeling a little depressed and helpless.

Because physical distances can become a barrier between individuals and their family, you can utilize an International service that’s not like typical prepaid calling cards keep your family close, even when they’re far away while living abroad with children. An economically sound method, prepaid calling services help your family stay in touch and provide the support needed when you’re confronted with illness.

A renowned saying, laughter is the best medicine, is very true. People that smile more and have a happier experience tend to recover at a quicker rate because they have the will and determination to recover. For these reasons, it is a very practical idea to discuss and chat regularly and keep a firm schedule to do so.  Your family chat experiences will give you something to look forward to and enjoy. You won’t feel alone and it will take away feelings of helplessness that are often associated with sickness.

Just knowing that they are there for you will make a huge difference in your recovery. Keep in mind that it also helps them to know that they are helping you through your recovery as well. Despite their distance, communication services provide one of the best tools by which we can stay in touch with our family circles and keep the important people in our lives a little closer to the heart.

Even when you’re in a new country surrounded by new people and places, you can still count on the familiarity of your family and friends to be there when you need them most. Even when illness strikes and you’re feeling a little helpless, the ability to communicate across long distances will provide you with the social support you truly need to recover as quickly as possible to work abroad with children

**Photograph “Young Man Sitting on Bed” by aaaal3xxx under Creative Commons Attribution