Sunday, November 11, 2007

Calling the USA - Cheap Calls to the USA

At any given time there are over 2 million Americans working, traveling or living overseas and most of them will want to call friends and family back in the USA during the holiday season. This can be difficult from many locations and costs and quality vary significantly between products. We looked into this and found several options for making high quality, low cost calls to the USA from almost any location.

One option for calling the USA or almost any location from nearly any country is the AT&T Phone Card. The AT&T card offers high quality connections from nearly anywhere but it comes at a steep price (see below). It has a wide network of access numbers and has now hidden fees or taxes but the per-minute rates are extremely high. We think there are much cheaper options than AT&T which offer similar quality so the AT&T card should only be used when absolutely necessary. One such option is the Fast World phone card. The fast World card features nearly the same coverage as AT&T at a fraction of the cost. It can be used to make international phone calls from over 100 countries and has toll free access numbers in 86 countries. It also uses a 1 minute rounding billing increment like AT&T but charges a 15% tax or usage fee for each call. However, even with the usage fee their rates are 70 to 90% cheaper than AT&T from most locations. The following are some examples on calls to the USA from some popular locations.

  • Call the USA from Germany - Fast World $0.034/min, AT&T $0.40/min.
  • Call the USA from India - Fast World $0.17/min, AT&T $1.55/min.
  • Call the USA from Russia - Fast World $0.076/min, AT&T $0.75/min.
  • Call the USA from Japan - Fast World $0.035/min, AT&T $0.35/min.
  • Call the USA from Mexico - Fast World $0.043/min, AT&T $0.45/min.

You have the idea. You can save up to 90% on calls by using a phone card like Fast World to make international calls rather than AT&T. There are other options for making calls to the USA from specific regions of the world but Fast World has wide coverage and is ideal for international travelers.

Another option that should be considered is Web Call. This is a feature offered by the Continental Phone Card. Web Call can be used to make cheap calls from any country but is not as convenient as a Phone Card. With Web Call, you need to send a specially formatted e-mail to a computer that connects your call from a standard telephone. So you need e-mail access and a phone that can accept in-coming calls. If you have these than Web Call is likely the cheapest option and you should give it a try.

All of the options discussed above are prepaid and require no long term obligation. They are convenient because you can open an account and purchase them on the net in a couple of minutes. Than you can continue to use and re-charge the same account for as long as you like. Also, you can prepay in very small amounts ($3 to $5) so they are handy options even if you want to make one or two short calls. There is no reason not to call home this Holiday Season.

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