Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rates on International Calls to Mobile Phones

In many cases, the rates charged on international calls to mobile phones are substantially higher than the rate charged for the same call to a land-line. Therefore, when making international calls, callers should take care and read the fine print so they fully understand the rate charged for making a call to the type of phone they plan to call or they may receive an unpleasant surprise. In most cases, rates on international calls to mobile phones are higher than they are for calls to landlines but this is not always the case. The rate difference varies between countries and service providers so it is best to shop around in order to find the lowest cost product for making calls to the country and type of phone you wish to call.

We did some research on this topic by comparing the rates charged by Tel3Advantage, a popular prepaid calling plan, on international calls to mobile phones and landlines in various countries. We found there were some regional patterns to the data but no consistent rules. The following is a summary of our key observations.

  • The rate charged on calls to mobile phones is substantially higher than they would be for the same call to a land-line. This seemed to be a typical pattern. Especially for international calls made to countries located in Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East. However, there were exceptions so callers should check the countries they wish to call before making any conclusions. Some popular locations where the rates charged on international calls to mobile phones are significantly higher than they are to landlines: Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico and the UK. For example, a call to a mobile phone in Italy from the USA costs 14.7 cents per-minute while a call to a land-line costs 1.8 cents per-minute.
  • In some cases, the rate charged on calls to mobile phones were the same as those charged to landlines. Many of these locations were in Asia but there were many exceptions. We discovered the following popular destinations: Bermuda, China, India and Thailand.
  • We also found cases where international calls to mobile phones where cheaper than calls to landlines. This is true on calls to the following popular destinations: Cuba, Egypt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Syria and Uzbekistan. In most cases, the difference in cost is small. For example, the rate charged for an international call to a mobile phone in Egypt is 9.4 cents per-minute while the charge for the same call to a land-line is 9.8 cents.

International callers should shop around for the best deal when deciding on a product to use for making cheap international calls. They should recognize that rates can vary significantly between countries and the type of phone they wish to call. It may be prudent to use one product for making calls to cell phones and another product to make calls to landlines. There are a wide selection of phone cards and other prepaid calling products to choose from so most callers can find substantial savings by shopping for the product that best fits their needs.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stay Connected with PC-to-Phone Service

If you make international business trips and carry a laptop computer than PC-to-Phone service is a great way to stay connected while on the road. As long as you have an INTERNET connection, you can make cheap international calls from any location to other computers or to any phone in the world. Calls to other computers using the same PC-to-Phone software are often Free while there is a charge for placing calls to phones (landlines or cell phones). The rates vary depending on the country and the type of phone called but rates are much lower than those charged by international hotels or long distance carriers. PC-to-Phone service is also popular with students, expats and people who operate small businesses with an international focus.

PC-to-Phone service providers continue to add new features that make their product more flexible and convenient to use. For example, Skype, one of the most popular PC-to-Phone service providers, offers free calls to other Skype users and the following added features.

  • Low rates on calls to landlines and cell phones.
  • An online phone number so people can reach you on Skype from any phone.
  • The ability to send text messages from Skype.
  • A built in Voice Mail feature so calls are never missed.
  • Call forwarding that forwards incoming calls to a regular phone when the user is off-line.
  • Mobile applications so Skype can be used from Mobile Phones.

Skype has continued to innovate and add features in order to broaden the appeal of their service.

We think Skype is a great option for people who want to make free calls to other Skype users. However, Skype’s international rates on calls to landlines and cell phones are not as low as other cheap international calling options. In addition to a per-minute charge for each call, Skype also charges a connection fee for each call made to a land-line or cell phone. In order to evaluate the relative cost of making international calls to landlines or cell phones with Skype, we compared the international rates charged by Skype to those charged by Tel3Advantage for the same call from the USA. Tel3Advantage was selected for this comparison since it is a high quality prepaid calling plan that can be used to make low cost domestic or international long distance calls from any phone without changing companies and it is very popular with those who make frequent international calls from the USA or Canada.

We compared Skype published rates (excluding their connection fee) to those charged by Tel3Advantage to the following popular destinations.

A Comparison of International Rates* (US cents per-minute)

Destinations

Skype

Tel3Advantage




Afghanistan

40.8

22

Brazil

6.4

3.6

Mexico

11.4

6

Morocco

29.6

17.5

Nigeria

18.5

13.5

Philippines

22.8

10.5

Saudi Arabia

28.2

10.5

Thailand

13

1.5

*For calls originating in the USA – Rates posted on the respective company websites on January 23, 2010.

In general, it seems that rates charged by Skype on calls to landlines and cell phones are higher than those charged by prepaid long distance providers. This makes sense since they do not make money of the free Skype-to-Skype calls they provide or the free software people can download from their website. They do provide a high quality niche service that is ideal for a segment of the market but it is not the best option for everyone.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Prepaid Phone Cards offer Value, Convenience and Useful Features

Most people know that prepaid phone cards are used to make cheap international calls but many do not know that many on-line (virtual) phone cards also offer a full range of features. These features make them more convenient to use than those bought in convenience stores and super markets.

The following are some common features found with high quality virtual phone cards:

  • PIN Free dialing is a convenient and common feature found with many virtual phone cards. It allows a caller to register phone numbers so they do not need to enter a special code when making calls from one of their registered phones. The registered phone numbers can be conveniently edited in the customer’s on-line account.
  • Many virtual phone cards have a permanent PIN code so it does not change each time the phone card is re-charged or purchased. These permanent PIN phone cards are typically stored in an on-line account that can be accessed by a user from any INTERNET connection.
  • Most permanent PIN phone cards also include an optional automatic recharge option. Many users find this to be 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.
  • Many virtual phone cards come with an on-line call history that tracks and stores the details of each call (including location, length of call and cost). The call history can be accessed through the customer’s on-line account. This is a very handy feature that is typically included with high quality virtual phone cards.
  • Many on-line phone cards have a Speed Dial feature that 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 is a convenient feature for those who plan to make international calls to the same phone numbers.
  • Some on-line merchants allow customers to transfer funds between phone cards. This is a money saving feature since it allows the transfer of funds to the phone card offering the best rates.
  • 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.
  • Some on-line phone cards, like the continental card, can also be used to make conference calls or international callback calls from virtually any location in the world. They can also be used for a variety of other purposes like setting-up a personal toll free number in the USA.

There are other prepaid calling plans, like Tel3Advantage, that offer many of the features listed above as well as some other not so common features. For example, Tel3 offers a mobile plan where users can make direct-dial international phone calls from their Mobile SMART Phones. With Tel3 Mobile, users do not need to dial an access number or PIN code when placing an international call. They simply dial the international code and their call is automatically routed over the low cost Tel3 network. Tel3 also offers a business calling plan with many on-line tools and features that are ideal for small to medium size business users. Tel3Advantage can be used to make cheap domestic and international long distance phone calls from Canada and the USA. Tel3Advantage has no monthly fees or connection charges and does not require a contract. Therefore, it is an ideal product for people who only make periodic international calls or those who want a short term option.

Phone cards have come a long way since their introduction in the 1970’s but companies like Tel3 and others continue to introduce new features and services

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Cheapest Rates on Calls to Costa Rica

Tel3Advantage offers some of the cheapest rates on international calls to Costa Rica. The rate is only 2.8 cents per-minute for the first 30 days if a new customer signs up under the Tel3Advantage Triple Promo. This rate includes all fees and taxes. The same low rate applies to calls to cell phones or land-lines and there are no restrictions. In addition, new customers get up to 321 Free Minutes as a bonus when they open a new account.

Tel3Advantage prepaid long distance is also a safe option since it offers one of the most popular international calling plans in North America. They have been in business for over 15 years and have more than 100,000 active customers. The also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. It can be used to make cheap long distance (domestic or international) from any phone in Canada or the USA without changing phone companies. It is simple to use since there is no need to dial account numbers or PIN codes when making a call. There are no long term contracts or maintenance fees. Simply use the service as much or as little as you like and only pay for the minutes used. Tel3Advatage also provides customers with a free on-line account where they can make changes to their account and monitor account activity. Up to 10 phones can be linked to one account so the same account can be used with your home, cell or business phones.

Tel3Advantage offers the lowest rates to Costa Rica and other popular destinations.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Phone Card Discount - Save 10% Instantly


The Continental Phone Card, one of the most versatile phone cards, is currently being featured at a 10% discount by Smart Global Call Phone Cards International. The Continental Card can be purchased in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100. The 10% phone card discount applies to denominations of $20 or high and is automatically applied to your purchase during this offer. Visit phone cards international for more information on this offer or to make a purchase.

The Continental Card is one of the top selling online phone cards for several reasons. Some of these are outlined below.

  • It features high quality connections at reasonable rates. The rates are not the lowest to all locations but, overall, they are not any higher than other prepaid phone cards with similar quality and features.
  • It can be used to make cheap international phone calls from over 60 countries. It has a wide network of global local access numbers. It also offers toll free access from Canada, Guam, Puerto-Rico, Saipan, USA and the US Virgin Islands.
  • It is one of the most versatile prepaid telecom products. It can be used as a phone card or for prepaid conference calling, prepaid VoIP, prepaid PC-to-Phone, international callback or to set up a personal toll free number in the USA.
  • It has low fees and no hidden costs. There are no maintenance or connection fees. It does charge a flat 15% tax/service charge for each call.
  • It has a full range of features including PIN Free Dialing, Speed Dial, Online Call History, Permanent PIN (refillable), toll free access and local access. The speed dial allows users to make calls by pressing one button.
  • It can also be used to call USA toll free numbers from overseas.
The Continental Phone Card is one of the most popular online phone cards on the market and it is currently being offered at a 10% discount. Visit one of the handy links above in order to take advantage of this offer.