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.

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