Wednesday, September 29, 2010
People who make frequent international phone calls know how easy it is to make mistakes while dialing a long series of numbers. To make matters worse, many phone cards require users to dial an access number and enter a PIN code or account number before dialing all of the numbers required to make an international phone call. This is not only a hassle but one mistaken number can cause the call to not be completed or a call that is completed to the wrong number. Several phone card companies have come up with ingenious features that can make international calling far more convenient. These include options like PIN free dialing, so callers do not need to enter an account number or PIN code when completing a call, and a less known feature called Speed Dial.
Speed Dial is a favorite with international callers who make frequent phone calls to the same international phone numbers. Using the Speed Dial feature, all a caller needs to do is list the international phone numbers they frequently call in their on-line account and assign it a one or, in some cases, a two digit number. When they want to make a call to one of their assigned numbers they simply dial a one or two digit number and the call is completed. This makes dialing international phone numbers much easier and there is much less possibility of dialing an incorrect phone number.
There are a few premium phone cards on the market that have a Speed Dial feature. Smart Global Call International Phone Cards market 4 phone cards with Speed Dial. These are the Cardinal, Continental, Golden Lotus and Simply phone cards. You can find them on their website at Phone Cards International. These all allow users to input up to 8 phone numbers and assign them numbers from 1 to 9. An international number can than be dialed by inputting a single digit. These are all high quality phone cards with low rates, low fees and other useful features.
Another prepaid calling product that features Speed Dial is the Tel3Advantage flex plan. Their Speed Dial feature allows callers to add up to 99 phone numbers and international phone numbers can be called by dialing 2 digits. Tel3Advantage is a very high quality product that can be used to make cheap international calls from North America. It is one of the most popular international calling plans since it has no hidden fees and a variety of features that make international calling more convenient.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Many callers find making international calls with phone cards a hassle because they need to dial long international phone numbers along with access numbers and PIN codes. Dialing all of these numbers is burdensome and it is easy to make a mistakes while dialing and complete calls to the wrong phone number. Several companies have been working on new features in order to make life easier for frequent international callers and there are a few new ideas available on the market today.
Tel3 has been a great innovator in the prepaid calling market. Their Tel3Advantage product has featured PIN free dialing and speed dial for several years and they recently introduced TEL3Apps for SMART phone users. Using the Tel3Advantage speed dial feature any customer can add up to 100 phone numbers to their on-line account and dial the numbers by pressing only two digits. This feature can be used with any telephone and makes it much easier to accurately dial complex international phone numbers. TEL3Apps is a free application that Tel3Advantage customers can use with a SMART phone. It allows the customer to directly dial international numbers through the low cost Tel3 network from their SMART phone without dialing access numbers or PIN codes. SMART phone users can also dial numbers directly from the address book on their mobile phones. Their mobile phone will automatically route international calls over the low cost Tel3 network for significant savings. Best of all, Tel3 Mobile can be used with any mobile phone service provider without changing anything.
Other prepaid calling products have taken a different approach. For example, the Solaris Phone Card uses a feature they call Direct Dial to reduce the hassle of dialing international phone numbers. Using the Direct Dial feature, each international contact is assigned a unique USA phone number. If a customer wishes to call the contact they simply dial the unique USA phone number and the call is completed without dialing PIN codes, access numbers or complicated international phone numbers. This feature makes it significantly easier to complete international calls to numbers that are frequently called and makes it very easy to add these contacts to the address book on a mobile phone but it does not offer the universal flexibility and ease-of-use featured by Tel3 Mobile.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Rebtel offers a nice international calling product that can be used to make cheap international calls from over 50 countries. Also, few people realize that they can make free calls between these countries using Rebtel. Visit the following page to learn more about making free international calls with Rebtel.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Several of the most popular international calling destinations from the USA are located in Asia. Rates on calls to most countries in Asia are not high when compared to international calls to other locations but, in today's economy, most consumers are trying to save as much money as possible. One way to save substantial money on international calls is to use phone cards or other prepaid calling products. We recently reviewed several options for making cheap international calls to Asia and found that one prepaid phone card stood out from the rest on calls to most countries in Asia from the USA. We found that the Penny Boss Phone Card has the lowest rates to most countries in Asia. It is also very convenient to use from the USA since it has a toll free access number along with a wide network of local access numbers and it offers PIN Free dialing. The PIN Free Dialing feature allows a user to add up to 6 phone numbers to their account and if the phone card is used to place a call from one of these phone numbers there is no need to dial an account number or PIN code. It also has low fees and is highly rated when it comes to call quality. Penny Boss is a versatile phone card with cheap rates on long distance calls to most locations, inlcuding a low 1.3 cent-per-minute rate on long distance calls within the USA.
Tel3Advantage also offers low rates on calls to Asia from the USA. We found that it had the best rates on calls to the Philippines and South Korea. Tel3Advantage also has some other advantages over typical prepaid phone cards. For example, it uses a 1 minute rounding interval and has no added fees or taxes so the listed rates for each destination is the actual amount charged which makes it less expensive on calls to many destinations when all fees and taxes are considered. It is one of the few prepaid calling products with no hidden fees which makes it one of our favorites. Those who are interested should visit the Tel3 Triple Promo website for the best deal on Tel3Advantage.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Tel3 provides a bonus for new Tel3Advantage customers to encourage people to sign-up and try the service. Most people are not aware that they actually offer two different bonus options for new customers. These are accessed via different links (provided below) and offer slightly different deals. The best option for an individual depends on factors like their calling pattern, what countries they plan to call and how long they plan to use the product. The following is a discussion of the two new customer promotions offered by Tel3Advantage.
For discussion purposes, we will call one option the Standard Bonus and the other option the Triple Bonus. The following is a discussion of each.
1. Tel3Advantage Standard Bonus - A new customer pays standard rates for each call and gets the following bonus depending on how much they initially deposit into the account. Note that the bonus amount can only be used to make calls and is based on the initial deposit. There is no bonus for subsequent deposits.
- Deposit $10 and get $0 Bonus.
- Deposit $25 and get a $5 Bonus.
- Deposit $50 and get a $7 Bonus.
- Deposit $100 and get a $9 Bonus.
2. Tel3Advantage Triple Bonus - The so called Triple Bonus is similar to the standard bonus except the customer gets less cash deposited into the account but pays 30% lower rates on all calls for the first 30 days. The following is the bonus schedule.
- Deposit $10 and get $0 Bonus.
- Deposit $25 and get a $3 Bonus.
- Deposit $50 and get a $6 Bonus.
- Deposit $100 and get a $9 Bonus.
How does a new customer decide on the best bonus? If they want to deposit $10 or $100 the choice is simple, the Triple Bonus is best because it provides the same cash bonus and 30% lower rates for the first 30 days. For a person who wants to deposit $25 the choice is not as clear. We think the Triple Bonus is the best option for most people but there are exceptions. For example, a caller who plans to make short, infrequent calls to a relatively low cost country will likely do better with the standard bonus. However, this is not a typical calling pattern so we think most people should sign-up using the Triple Promo. Use one of the links above for more information or call 800 441 0321 to talk with a Tel3Advantage customer service agent. Happy Calling....
Monday, September 13, 2010
We feel the most onerous hidden fee is a connection fee. This is a fee that is charged each time a call is connected and it can significantly increase the cost of making calls. Connection fees can be as high as 50 cents or more per call. In many cases these charges are made even if the wrong number is dialed and completed or if the phone is answered and the call is disconnected or the person of of interest is not at home. A connection fee can signficantly increase the cost of making international calls with phone cards. Consider the following example:
Assume a person makes a 20 minute call to Germany from the USA. A typical rate for a premium prepaid phone card rate is 2 or 3 cents per minute. Assume the card offering the 2 cent rate has a 50 cent connection fee while the card with the 3 cent rate has no fee. What is the cost of the same call using each card.
1. The card with no connection fee: 20 minutes x 3 cents/minute = 60 cents
2. The card with a connection fee: 20 min x 2 cents/min + 50 cents = 90 cents
The actual cost using the second card is actually 50% higher even though the advertised rate per minute was 30% lower. 20 minutes is a typical call length. It should be noted that connection fees have more impact on calls with a shorter duration.
This example illustrates the fact that all fees and taxes should be considered when comparing prepaid calling products. Do not assume that the actual rate charged for a call using a phone card will be the listed or advertised rate. This is typically the base rate before adding on hidden fees and taxes. There are only a few prepaid calling products on the market that do not charge hidden fees or taxes. One is the AT&T calling card which is a premium card but has high rates and another is Tel3Advantage. The Tel3Advantage flex plan is a prepaid calling plan that can be used to make cheap international calls from any location in the USA or Canada. It is one of the most popular prepaid calling plans with more than 500,000 active customers.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
- Security - People may feel secure having a plastic card in their hand but it can always be lost or stolen. An online phone card is safely stored in a users online account where it can be accessed via the INTERNET from any location.
- Cost - We have not performed a detailed study of cost but many of the rates we see advertised on phone cards in stores seem very high. For example, some phone cards in retail outlets advertise rates on long distance calls in the USA of 5 cents or more per minute. Many premium quality online phone cards offer rates of 2 cents per minute or less for the same calls. This represents a savings of over 50%. We have observed the same for advertised rates on international long distance calls.
- Selection - Most retail outlets offer a limited number of phone cards while the INTERNET offers an unlimited selection. The phone card industry is not standardized. Phone cards have different fee structures and most phone cards have other limitations. For example, they may offer very good rates on calls to certain locations or regions of the world while calls to other locations are relatively expensive or they can only be used from specific countries or cities. There are general phone cards (like the AT&T card) that can be used to call to-and-from most countries but these tend to have very high rates. Callers who want to save money on calls and not get ripped-off should compare the terms and conditions offered by various phone cards and this is best done online.
- Simplicity - Many online phone card merchants offer a variety of phone cards. Multiple phone cards can be purchased from these merchants and stored in one online account. In many cases, unused funds can be transferred from one phone card to the another in the users account. This is a nice convenience for people who travel or others who want to call to-or-from multiple locations and still want the best rates. An example of a phone card vendor like this is phone cards international.
- Features - Online phone cards offer a multitude of features. Some of the more popular features are an online call history (listing the details of each phone call), auto-recharge, PIN free dialing, speed dial, fund transfer between cards, permanent PIN and access to an online user account. Some cards also offer conference calling and other features like international callback.
- Convenience - Online phone cards are simply more convenient. A user can check account balances, purchase cards or add funds from any INTERNET connection.
- Research - It is much easier to compare phone cards and study things like pricing, usage and terms & conditions online than while standing in a retail outlet. The phone card market can be confusing and, in many cases, a little research before a purchase can save a caller from making a costly mistake.
Those interested in learning more about phone cards or other options for saving money on international phone cards are encouraged to visit a website like the international call guide for calling tips and further information.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
We found that international phone cards were an expensive option for making calls from the UAE and so are international mobile phones. Expect to pay $1 per-minute or more with one of these options. There is a special kind of phone card that works well from the UAE and a cost for calls to the USA is only around 14 US cents per-minute. It is the continental phone card which has a special callback feature called web call. It can be used to make cheap international calls from a standard mobile or landline telephone in any country. All the user needs is an INTERNET connection and a telephone that cen receive a phone call from overseas. To use the service, all the caller does is log into their account on-line and input the phone number they are calling from and the number (in another country) they wish to call. They submit this screen and in a few seconds they will receive a call from a computer located in the USA. When the call is answered they will hear the phone they wish to call begin to ring and the call is completed. This service worked very well from the UAE and the call quality was very good. Those who want more information on this callback service should visit the following page; web call.
We also found a way to use Skype from the UAE. In order to do this we had to first download and subscribe to a service called StrongVPN. This service is used to create a bridge over the INTERNET from where the user's PC is located to another country. In our case the other country was the USA but they have other options. So, in our case, using StrongVPN the IP address of our computer was in the USA and we were able to make calls using Skype as if we were in the USA not the UAE. We were able to make free PC-to-PC calls to other Skype users and we were able to make PC-to-Phone calls at USA rates. This is a super option for expats living in the UAE or for people who travel with a PC and want to make cheap calls from any location. StrongVPN provides them with a secure INTERNET connection from any location and the ability to use Skype and visit other websites that may be blocked by the local country. Visit PC-to-Phone service or use the tab at the bottom of the page for more information on StrongVPN.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tel3 is offering a special promotion for new Canadian agents. They will get double the normal commission rate through the end of 2010 and their customers will also get double the normal sign-up bonus (Free Minutes). It is completely free to sign-up and become an agent. There is nothing to purchase and Tel3 provides agents with a free website and very good marketing support. It does take time and hard work to become a successful agent but it offers an opportunity to work from home and earn an unlimited income. This is one of the best programs of its kind since it is possible to become successful with no previous experience. We are living proof of that. We started as an agent about 5 years ago with no previous telecommunications or INTERNET marketing experience and are now one of the top producing agents in the Tel3Advantage program.
Those Canadians who are interested should visit Tel3Advantage Agent Program for Canada for more details. It is completely free to sign-up and you can start marketing the product through your own website in a matter of minutes.