Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Lower Rates from Tel3Advantage

Tel3 announced today that it would reduce rates to some popular destination. The rate decreases will take effect on January 29, 2008 for users of their Tel3Advantage Flex Plan. The following changes will be made.

For calls to Landlines:

The rate charged on international calls to Peru will be reduced from 6.3 to 3.0 cent-per-minute.

The rate charged on international calls to Ireland will be reduced from 3.0 to 1.5 cents-per-minute.

The rate charged on international calls to Jordan will be reduced from 11.0 to 2.9 cents-per minute.

For calls to cell phones:

The rate charged for international calls to mobile phones in Romania will be reduced from 26.0 to 12.3 cents-per-minute.

The rate charged for international calls to cell phones in Australia will be reduced from 17.0 to 11.2 cents-per-minute.

Tel3Advantage makes periodic rate adjustments in order to keep their rates competitive with other companies offering similar services. Tel3Advantage advertised rates also include all fees and taxes so rates from other companies should be adjusted for all fees and taxes in order to make a direct comparison. It seems that Tel3 Advantage now has some of the lowest rates to these locations.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Special Valentine's Day Gift Card

If you are seeking a Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one in distant lands than a gift phone card may be the answer. A gift phone card can be delivered instantly to any e-mail address in the world at no cost. The recipient can use the gift card to choose from a wide selection of premium quality, international prepaid phone cards so they can find the best phone card for their individual needs. A gift phone card may also pay you back with a phone call from someone special.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Calling Germany? Save Money with Tel3Advantage

Germany is one of the most popular calling destinations from North America so we thought we would review the cost of making international calls to Germany from the USA using various prepaid calling products. We compared the cost of using popular products like Pingo, Penny Talk and Tel3Advantage with Phone Cards. The following is a summary of the results.

There are cheap phone cards that advertise rates of around 1 cent per-minute on calls to Germany from the USA but most of these are loaded with hidden fees and have relatively poor call quality. The best rates we could find on calls to Germany using premium phone cards were in the range of 2 to 3 cents per-minute on calls to land-lines when all fees and taxes were considered. The rates on calls to cell phones in Germany varied significantly, from about 13 cents to more than 30 cents per-minute. The following is a summary of the rates for calls to Germany from the USA for two premium phone cards.

Card Name, Rates to Land-Lines, Rate to Cell Phones

Bizon Phone Card, 2.1 cents/min, 26.2 cents/min

Continental Phone Card, 2.5 cents/min, 12.4 cents/min

Both of these cards charge a 15% tax on top of the per-minute rates listed above. Bizon also charges 1 cent per-minute for using toll free access while Continental charges a relatively low 0.2 cents/min.

As mentioned earlier, we also reviewed the cost of making calls to Germany using Pingo, Penny Talk and Tel3Advantage. The following is what we found using recent information posted on their web-sites.

Pingo charges 2.2 cents-minute on calls to land-lines and 21.8 cents per-minute on calls to mobile phones. They also charge 1 cent per-minute extra for using toll free access and a maintenance fee of $0.98 per-month for maintaining an account. Pingo rates are okay but they use VoIP technology and we have found their call quality varies from poor to acceptable.

Penny Talk charges 2 cents per-minute on calls to German land-lines and a hefty 31 cents per-minute on calls to mobile phones. They include toll free access in this cost but they also charge a $0.49 connection fee for each call. Add the connection fee and Penny Talk is a relatively high cost option, especially on calls to mobile phones.

Tel3Advantage charges 2 cents per-minute on calls to major German cities and 17 cents per-minute on calls to mobile phones. Tel3 Advantage charges an extra 1 cent/min for toll free access but they do not have any other charges. There is no extra charge for using a local access number and they have a wide network of local access numbers in the USA.

For those planning to make calls to German mobile phones the Continental Phone Card is a good choice. It has the lowest rates and features high call quality, convenience and low fees. However, for general use Tel3Advantage is likely the best option. It has no hidden fees and features the highest call quality.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

5 Phone Card Purchasing Tips

Purchasing a phone card without being tricked can be difficult since phone card sellers often advertise low rates to attract shoppers than charge cleverly disguised "hidden fees" which can more than double the cost of making a call. In many cases, the phone card with the lowest advertised rate also has low quality and is not the cheapest to use since it can be loaded with a variety of hidden charges. It is generally best to make a purchase from a reputable phone card website that discloses all of the details for each card listed. These details should include all charges for making a call (including taxes, fees and surcharges), a customer service phone number, customer ratings on quality and service and a money back guarantee.

In addition, we offer the following 5 important tips to phone card shoppers.

1. Purchase a Minimum Denomination. Unless you are familiar with a particular phone card it is usually best to purchase a minimum denomination and make some trial calls with the card to the locations you wish to call before purchasing a large denomination. We suggest purchasing a phone card with a face value of $10 or less before making a large purchase.

2. Check and Compare Rates between Phone Cards. Most phone card websites include a rate finder which shows the cost per minute for making calls from one location to another. The rates listed in these rate finders are generally just the base rate. They do not show all of the added fees and taxes that can vary significantly between phone cards. Therefore, it is important to read the fine print before purchasing a phone card and be sure to include all fees and taxes when comparing rates between phone cards. There are a few companies that charge a connection fee for each call. These can significantly increase the cost of each call so we feel that calling cards that charge a connection fee should be avoided. Some other common fees are maintenance fees, pay phone fees, toll free access number fees, taxes, service fees and surcharges. Other less obvious hidden fees include rounding interval (the increment used in rounding off the duration of a call for billing purposes) and a long call fee. A card with a larger rounding interval is generally more expensive since the length of a call is rounded up to the next rounding interval for billing purposes.

3. Customer Reviews. Websites like Smart Global Call International Phone Cards include customer reviews for the phone cards they sell. We have found that these reviews are useful since they provide a good indication of calling card quality based on the experience of other users.

4. Access Numbers. Check for the availability of access numbers in the locations where you plan to use the card before making a purchase. Toll free access numbers are convenient but some phone cards charge a relatively high fee (more than one cent per-minute) for using them. In some cases toll free access is free or the charge is relatively small (less than one cent per-minute). There is typically no additional charge for using a local access number but some phone cards do not have local access numbers or they only have a few.

5. Phone Card Coverage. Phone cards typically have limited coverage so check the rates for making calls to the locations you wish to call before making a purchase. Also check rates to the type of phone (land line or cell phone) you plan to call. Some phone cards offer great rates to land lines but very high rates to cell phones in the same country.

There are honest phone cards that offer high quality and good rates for making cheap international calls to almost any location in the world. However, there are others that advertise super cheap rates but load the product with so many hidden fees that the cost for making calls is actually much higher than normal. The purpose of this article is to help shoppers avoid some common pitfalls and make informed choices.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Making Cheap Calls to or from Europe

There are a variety of options for making low cost international phone calls between North America and Europe. Some people make cheap or even free international calls over the Internet using PC-to-Phone or VoIP services while others use phone cards or other prepaid options. Internet based options are a good low cost choice for some people but call quality is often poor and special equipment and an INTERNET connection are required to make calls so they are not as convenient as using a cell phone or land-line. Prepaid options like phone cards have remained a popular choice because they can be used with any phone so they offer convenience, flexibility and low cost. Phone Cards are also ideal for short-term use since they can be purchased in small increments and they do not require a contract or other long term obligation. However, there are many phone cards on the market and selecting a phone card featuring both good call quality and honest rates can be a challenge.

To avoid these pitfalls some people choose premium phone cards like those offered by AT&T, MCI or Sprint. These tend to have high call quality, wide coverage and they advertise honest rates with almost no hidden fees or taxes. However, the rates they charge are astronomical when compared to other, lesser known, premium phone cards. For example, a call to Western Europe from the USA using an AT&T phone card will cost from 20 to 45 cents per minute depending on the country called. The AT&T card includes toll free access and uses a one-minute rounding interval but their rates are extremely high when compared to other premium quality phone cards like Bizon. Using the Bizon phone card a caller can make the same call to Western Europe for 3 cents per minute or less. The Bizon phone card has similar call quality and also uses a one-minute rounding interval. It does charge an extra 1 cent per-minute for toll free access and applies a 15% surcharge but even with these extra charges calls are much cheaper than those charged by AT&T. The Bizon phone card can also be used to make low cost calls from Western Europe to North America. It is an excellent choice for people who want to make high
quality low cost calls between North America and Europe.

Another option for making low cost calls from North America and Europe is Tel3Advantage. It also using a one-minute rounding interval and has no hidden fees or taxes. Tel3 does charge an extra one cent per minute for using a toll free access number but it has a very wide network of local access numbers that can be used with no additional charge. Rates to call Western Europe from North America with Tel3Advantage are 2 to 3 cents per-minute depending on the country called.

When shopping for prepaid calling products consumers should use the same common sense they use when shopping for other products. They should be suspicious of those advertising super low rates since these products often have low quality or, in the case of phone cards, have significant hidden fees and charges that pump-up their rates. Also, extremely high priced options are often not worth the money. As with most products, there are moderately priced phone cards that offer high quality so consumers can get good value for thweir money.