Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On-line Phone Cards offer Features as well as Value

Phone cards have come a long way since there introduction in Italy in 1975. Many consumers know that prepaid phone cards can be used to make cheap domestic and international long distance phone calls but many do not know that they also offer a full range of features which make them an attractive option for long term savings. Consumers who purchase phone cards at supermarkets or convenience stores may be paying a higher cost than necessary for making calls and may also be missing many features that are commonly provided free-of-charge with on-line calling cards.

Some of the common features found with high quality virtual prepaid phone cards are listed below.

· PIN Free dialing is becoming a common feature with many on-line prepaid phone cards. It allows a caller to register phone numbers so they do not need to enter a PIN code when making calls from a registered phone. These cards can still be used to make calls from an unregistered phone by entering the PIN code associated with the card when making a call.
· Many virtual phone cards feature a permanent PIN so the code does not change each time the phone card is refilled or re-charged with money. These permanent PIN phone cards are typically stored in an on-line account that can be accessed by a user via their on-line account.
· Most permanent PIN phone cards also allow an optional automatic recharge function. Many users find this is an attractive feature since it assures that they will not run out of funds during a call and the card is always available for use.
· There are several on-line phone cards or other prepaid calling products that feature an on-line call history. Many long term users rely on this feature to track the details, including cost, of each phone call made with the phone card. This is a very handy feature that is typically included with high quality phone cards.
· Many on-line phone cards include a Speed Dial feature. This allows the user to add phone numbers to their personal account so they can call these numbers by pressing 2 or 3 numbers on their phone. This saves a lot of time when making international phone calls and also minimizes dialing errors.
· Some on-line merchants allow customers to transfer funds between phone cards. This is also a handy feature for users who call to or from multiple locations.
· Most on-line merchants have a handy search tool built into their website that allows shoppers to search for the best phone card for their needs. These search tools will list phone cards with the lowest rates for making calls to and from specific locations. In many cases they also provide phone card quality ratings and a summary of features, taxes and fees.

There are virtual phone cards or prepaid calling plans like Tel3Advantage that offer the features listed above as well as some other not so common features. Tel3 offers a mobile plan where users can make direct-dial international phone calls from their Smart Cell Phones. When using Tel3 Mobile, users do not need to dial an access number or PIN code. They simply dial the international call and their call is automatically routed over the low cost Tel3 network. Tel3 also offers a business calling plan with many on-line tools tailored made for business users. These can be used by business managers to budget and monitor expenses in real time.

Phone cards have come a long way since their introduction in the 1970’s but companies like Tel3 continue to introduce new features and services so the phone card of tomorrow will be even better than today.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New International Call Plan for Business: Manage Budgets and Reduce Costs

Tel3 has launched their new international calling plan for businesses. It combines high quality phone service, online administration and account management tools and extreme cost savings. The service is tailor made for small to medium size businesses. Tel3 researched the market and tested the plan extensively before launching the new service. It is loaded with management tools and features that are very useful for controlling costs and budgeting expenses.

The following is a summary of the features included with Tel3 for Business.

  • Users get a web-based administrative dashboard to create new accounts and assign users. A manager can set monthly limits for each department or user and monitor the weekly and/or monthly budgets. Once the accounts and limits are set-up the system will work automatically so there is no need to have an Internet connection or any other equipment to start using the service.
  • The service can be used to make low cost international calls from any kind of phone (land-line, voip, cell, etc.).
  • Tel3 provides users with a free software application to download on existing cell phones. With it users can make direct dial international calls via their TEL3Business account. There is no need to hassle with dialing Pin numbers, and no need to worry about paying for expensive international long distance bills.
  • Managers will have access to all usage and call history details for each user or department, and will be able to export the call history records to spreadsheets.
  • Tel3 for Business uses high quality service providers so users will have business grade service.
  • Users will save up to 80% on international calls compared to AT&T, T-Mobile or other primary service providers.
  • Tel3 Business can be used with any existing service provider without changing anything.
  • Tel3 does not require a contract or other long-term obligation. There are no maintenance fees or other hidden charges.
  • Tel3 offers a 30-day money back guarantee for new customers. There is no fee for opening an account and new users will get a 20% discount for the first month. Visit Tel3 Business for details or call 800 441 0321.
  • Tel3 provides customer service 24/7

Tel3 has been providing prepaid phone services since 1994 so they are not new to the business. They are an established industry leader with more than 100,000 active customers using their Tel3Advantage flex plan in North America.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Phone Card Holiday Sale

Smart Global Call International Phone Cards are featuring a phone card sale that will last through January 5th. During this time customers will save 10% on the purchase of a phone card with a face value of $20 or more. In order to get the 10% discount it is necessary to use the following link: Phone Card Sale

Why purchase phone cards from Smart Global Call? They offer a full line of high quality phone cards with low fees. Most of their phone cards come with features like PIN free dialing, call history and speed dial at no extra charge. Their cards can also be used from more than 200 countries. They offer brands like AT&T, Simply, Continental, Jupiter, Saturn, Golden Lotus, Bizon, Cardinal and more. Each customers receives a free virtual account where they can manage and monitor their phone cards. Smart Global Call also allows customers to transfer balances between phone cards. This is a great feature which allows customers to experiment with different cards and get the best rates to all of the locations they call.

Smart Global Call also fully discloses all fees and taxes associated with every phone card they sell in an easy to read format. The website has an easy to use phone card search tool so shoppers can easily find the best phone card for each location. Also, all phone cards sold by Smart Global Call are rated by users so it is easy to shop for the highest quality phone cards.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Review of International Calling Products

There are a variety of low cost international long distance calling products on the market today but each has been designed to fit the needs of a specific group of consumers. Marketers and product developers have tried to broaden the appeal of their products but all have certain limitations. The purpose of this article is to review the types of international calling products on the market today and provide a brief overview of their strengths and limitations so consumers can make better choices.

One product does not fit the needs of all. People who are PC savvy and have high speed INTERNET connections may choose to use PC to PC or PC to Phone service or VoIP technology while others may want the convenience and flexibility of a phone card. Most people only make occasional international calls while others make multiple international phone calls each day. Therefore, some people are willing to sacrifice quality and convenience in order to save money while others are willing to pay a bit more for higher quality, convenience and flexibility. Consumers need to understand the limitations of each product type so they can make informed choices.

  • Traditional Long Distance – Forget using traditional long distance from your home phone, cell phone or office phone unless you only make one or two short international calls each year and you don’t care about wasting money. There are products on the market today which offer the same quality at a fraction of the cost.
  • VoIP Phone Service – This may be a good option for saving money on home phone service but it is not the best option for saving money on international calls. There is a monthly charge for VoIP service and in most cases international long distance calls cost extra. The cost for making international long distance calls with VoIP is typically cheaper than the rates charged by traditional long distance providers but there cheaper options that are more convenient. A high speed internet connection is required for VoIP and most service providers require a long term contract. VoIP service providers typically charge extra fees for set-up, activation, early termination and some even charge for equipment.
  • PC-to-PC or PC-to-Phone Service - This service is used to make calls over the internet from a personal computer. A PC-to-PC service like Skype is required along with equipment like a head-set and micro phone. PC-to-PC calls are typically free so this is a very cheap option but it is not very convenient since both parties need access to a PC and an internet connection. Calls can be made from PC-to-Phone but they are not free. This is more convenient but the caller still needs access to a PC and an internet connection. There are other methods for making international calls that cost about the same as PC-to-Phone but are more convenient and typically offer better quality.
  • Phone Cards – Prepaid phone cards have ultimate convenience since they can be used to make cheap international calls from almost any phone (cell, home, business, pay phone or even VoIP). The cost for making international calls vary from being dirt cheap to expensive depending on the card used and the location or type of phone called. Calls to cell phones are generally more expensive than calls to land lines. Shopping and comparing phone cards can be complex because fee structures vary along with quality and usability. Most phone cards provide good rates to a few locations but poor rates to others. Shop for phone cards that offer good rates to the locations you call the most. Also, check for access number availability in the locations where you plan to use the phone card. Purchase phone cards from a reputable phone card supplier that fully discloses all fees and charges in an easy to understand format.
  • Prepaid Long Distance – These are sometimes call dial-around plans. Prepaid long distance plans like Tel3Advantage are popular with frequent international callers since they offer a variety of useful features, low rates, high call quality and the convenience of a phone card. Tel3 Advantage also does not charge hidden fees or taxes so users actually pay the advertised rate for each call. Features include on-line account management, on-line call history with a complete record of each call, speed dial and PIN free dialing. Tel3 allows users to register up to 10 telephone numbers in each account. Calls made from these phone numbers can be made without dialing an account number or PIN code. Tel3Advantage has a wide network of local access numbers but can only be used to make calls from the USA and Canada.
  • International Call Back Phone Service – This is a good method for making low cost international calls from almost any country. Many countries outside of North America, Europe and the developed countries in Asia have very high tariffs on international long distance calls. International callback long distance uses a clever method to avoid these tariffs by placing calls through long distance providers located in low cost third countries. There are at least three common methods used to trigger or place calls so potential users should conduct further research to determine the best method for their location and situation.

    As summarized above, there are a variety of technologies available on the market today for making low cost international phone calls. Multiple companies’ market products using these technologies and some of these products are high quality and others are not. Consumers should shop and be smart about purchases. It is usually best to try a product by making a small purchase before making a large purchase or enter a long term contract. Most reputable VoIP providers will offer a 30 day (or longer) money back guarantee and most phone card providers will offer cards in small denominations so consumers can try the product before making a large purchase or commitment. It is best to stay away from those who don’t.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tel3Advantage Christmas Promotion

Tel3Advantage will start their Holiday Promotion on December 15, 2008. The promotion is for new customers and will last through December 31, 2008. Tel3 typically offers these promotions 3 or 4 times per year but this one is lasting for a longer time than normal. This is a great time to sign up for the Tel3Advantage Flex Plan. It is a premium prepaid long distance service that can be used to make cheap domestic or international calls from the USA or Canada. It is a unique service that comes with a variety of features free of charge, high quality and very competitive rates to most destinations in the world. It is also convenient since it can be used from any phone including home, cell, business, hotel or even pay phones.

New customers will get up to 946 Free Minutes if they sign up for the Tel3Advantage Flex Plan during the promotion period. It is free to sign up, all a new customer needs to do is open an account and deposit as little as $10. The deposit is used to pay for calls as the customer uses the account. Tel3Advantage works something like a phone card but it does not have all of the hidden fees and taxes associated with most prepaid phone cards. In fact there are no hidden fees or taxes and Tel3 uses a one minute rounding interval. Tel3Advantage is actually cheaper to most locations than phone cards with equivalent quality when all fees and taxes are considered.

Tel3Advantage will add the following bonus amounts to new accounts opened during the promotion period.

Deposit $10 and get a $2 bonus credit.
Deposit $25 and get a $10 bonus credit.
Deposit $50 and get a $14 bonus credit.
Deposit $100 and get a $18 bonus credit.

Use the additional bonus credit to make calls to any location you choose. For details, visit Tel3Advantage website or call 800 441 0321.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

5 Tips for Using a Calling Card Overseas

For anyone who's traveled abroad for a significant period of time, the challenge of maintaining cost-effective communications back home is well-known. Despite the growth of global communications over the last decade, cellular networks are still nationally-based, resulting in high roaming surcharges when using cell phones abroad. While Voice-over-IP options are available, it can be difficult to get a wireless connection on demand. As a result, a growing number of global travelers are turning to international calling cards in order to lower their costs of inter-continental communications.

  • Understand the Cost Implications of International Calls from Your Hotel Room
    While it may seem like placing a calling card call from one's hotel room is a good option, there may be surcharges and connection fees which make it an excessive expensive way to make an international call. Check with the concierge at your hotel in regards to outbound international call rates before dialing up with your calling card.
  • Look for a Card with a Toll-Free Access Number
    In order to connect with a pre-paid card service, you, generally, have to call an intermediary number. Seek out a card that allows a toll-free access number to limit your initial, access costs on the call.
  • Check the Reach of the Card Before Buying Once Domestically
    All too often, global travelers will buy an international calling card at home, only to later realize that out-bound calls can only be made from their country of origin. Check into the restrictions and limits on any card before you make a final purchase decision.
  • Find a Solution for In-Bound Calls
    Calling cards generally only provide a means to make out-bound calls, while not allowing for incoming calls at a discounted rate. As a result, make sure that anyone who needs to contact you from abroad has an e-mail address or hotel phone number through which they can contact you directly.
  • Compare Fees on International Calling Cards
    Resist the temptation to make your purchasing decisions on the basis of the stated “per minute” fee alone, as most cards have different gradients of fees and expenses outside of the standard call rate. In particular, compare the bottom line price of calling after factoring in base cost, access fees and “maintenance” fees that may issuers levy on callers.

    Maya Richard is a content writer, primarily blogging about Comcast deals.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cheap International Calls - Germany

Many people living in the USA make frequent phone calls to friends and family living in Germany and, the converse is also true, many people living in Germany make frequent calls to friends and family in the USA. We find that Germany is one of the most popular international calling destinations in the world. There is a significant amount of communication traffic between the two countries.

As a result of this activity, there are several good quality prepaid international calling products on the market for making low cost calls between Germany and North America. These range from phone cards to virtual prepaid calling plans like Tel3Advantage. There are a full range of phone cards available, ranging from those with very cheap advertised rates (less than 1 cent per minute) to those that are rather expensive (more than 5 or 10 cents per minute). We prefer those with more moderate rates (around 2 or 3 cents per minute) because these tend to have lower hidden fees and feature much better call quality. It is also a good idea to check for access number availability before purchasing a phone card. Many of the very cheap phone cards have a limited number of local access numbers and charge a high rate for toll free access.

One of the best options for making international calls to Germany from the USA or Canada is Tel3Advantage. They only charge 2 cents per minute to most German cities and they have a large number of local access numbers. Tel3 Advantage is also a good option because it features high call quality and no hidden fees or taxes. It also has a full range of features not found with most phone cards. It is a good option for those who make frequent international phone calls to any location but it has especially good rates for Germany.