Sunday, April 25, 2010
The Arbat phone card can only be used in Russia, to make cheap domestic or international long distance calls. It has no hidden fees like taxes, service fees, maintenance fees or connection fees. But it does charge extra for using toll free access numbers or for making calls from some cities in Russia. It has a network of local access numbers in major Russian cities and these should be used to avoid added fees. The call quality is very good and we found the card worked well with no problems connecting with the access numbers or placing calls. It also uses a 30 second rounding interval which is better than most phone cards. The Arbat card is a permanent PIN phone card that can be refilled and reused. It is relatively easy to find products for making cheap calls to Russia but now there is an easy to use product for making cheap calls from Russia.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
It is relatively easy to find products for making cheap calls to South Korea from the USA but there are not a lot of products for making cheap international calls from Korea. We researched this before our trip to Korea and found that the cost for making calls from Korea varied widely between phone cards. Some cards, like the AT&T phone card, were relatively expensive at 50 US cents per minute but likely had high quality. The Solaris card was cheap in comparison at 10.5 US cents per-minute with similar call quality. We found some local phone cards in Korea with advertised rates of around 10.5 US cents per-minute so the Solaris card has competitive rates with the competition. It can also be purchased on-line and used from over 100 countries so it is a better option for international travelers than a local phone card that can only be used from Korea.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Several companies advertise free international calling to specific countries and offer free trial calls but these are mostly advertising gimmicks that are short term trials or require the caller to make monthly payments in order to continue using the service. Only a few companies actually offer the ability to make free international calls over a long period of time but even these companies have special requirements.
For example, Skype is well known for offering free international PC-to-PC phone calls but both the caller and receiver will need a PC or at least access to a WiFi INTERNET connection in order to make free calls. Skype, of course, hopes that callers will use the service to also make PC-to-Phone calls, which are not free, so they can make some money.
Rebtel Try Rebtel Now! offers a prepaid calling plan that can be used to make cheap international calls from regular phones. They also offer a little known feature where customers can make free calls to people in the roughly 50 countries where they have access numbers. The service has a twist but it is relatively easy to use. The following is a summary of the instructions posted on their website.
- Fill out an on-line form which tells them what phone you plan to use to make the call so they can recognize you as a customer.
- Tell them who you plan to call and enter their international phone number. Rebtel will give you a unique phone number for each person you plan to call.
- Call your friend on the local number provided by Rebtel. When your friend picks up the phone, ask them to hang-up and call you back on the local phone number displayed on their phone. Wait on the line and when your friend calls you back you will be connected. The international portion of the call will be free but you will need to pay for the local call.
This may be a good option for cell phone users who call to and from certain countries. It is a bit of a hassle but it is an option where international callers can make free calls.