Skype saves stranded PR guru from dust -

Tales of woe from some of the estimated* 500,000 Brits stranded by the recent volcanic dust cloud are now gradually emerging. Some of them have horrific mobile phone bills but not legendary UK PR guru, Nick Spencer.

Our Nick sensibly turned off data roaming on his iPhone as soon as he landed. But downloading and installing Skype on his iThingy saved him from enormous phone bills.

He was stranded without a return flight for a week. As Nick pointed out, Wi-fi is free in virtually all of the hotels and local bars.

So he was able to make all the necessary calls to family, friends, work colleagues and even his dentist via Skype. He estimates his total Skype bill was under £20.

The real breakthrough for Nick, however, came when he discovered another iPhone app from Simon Maddox simply called 0870. See here.

This app translates the extremely expensive premium rate numbers which big businesses normally give out into something more affordable.

This worked in the case of BA's helpdesk which translated from an 0870 number to +441914907901. Just as well because Nick reckons he spent something like five hours on the line to BA.

Nick's mobile phone company also lost out on his data traffic because he was able to download and read all his emails via Wi-fi.

"Skype saved the day because I'd never have hung on for forty minutes to the call centre otherwise," Mr Spencer confessed.

* by Acision who alerted us to impending 'bill shock' for roaming travellers.