Wednesday, July 27, 2011

International Calling to Mobile Phones with Vonage World

Vonage advertises free international calling to 60 countries in their TV advertisements for their Vonage World Plan but, in most cases, this does not include calls to mobile phones. Their website indicates that this plan only includes free calls to mobile phones in 10 countries. The plan has an introductory rate of $14.99 (plus tax) for 6 months than goes to $25.99 (plus taxes & fees). The ultimate cost with taxes and fees is around $31 per month. They also have a World Premium Unlimited plan for a mere $54.99 per month (plus taxes & fees). Of course, Vonage users also need a high speed INTERNET connection.

The cost for Vonage is reasonable for those who make frequent calls to locations and phones covered by the Vonage World plan. For example, free calls can be made to land-lines or mobiles in a few popular locations like India and China. For people who make frequent calls to extended families and friends in these locations Vonage could offer a great deal. But it is not such a great deal for people who call infrequently or those who call to locations not covered by the Vonage World Plan. To illustrate this we compared the rate Vonage charges using their Vonage World plan with a prepaid calling plan (Tel3Advantage) on international calls to mobile phones in several popular destinations. We have listed some of these below where Vonage World rates are compared to Tel3Advantage Triple Promo rates on calls to mobile phones in selected destinations. Rates are in US cents per minute.

Destination Vonage Rate/Tel3Advantage Rate (cents/min)

Afghanistan 125/23.9
Belize 29/19.9
Costa Rica 8/2.8
Egypt 15/9.4
France 19/11.5
Ghana 20/18
Iran 36/8.1
Jamaica 22/14.7
Lebanon 20/14.7
Liberia 35/19
Nigeria 28/9.8
Romania 29/8.7
Russia 8/4.2
South Africa 23/11.6
Turkey 19/10.3
UAE 28/19

Vonage may have some advantages on calls to certain locations but, as shown above, it should not be assumed that it offers the best deal to all locations. People who want to save money on international calls should investigate a prepaid plan like Tel3Advantage where calls can be made from any kind of telephone without an INTERNET connection. There are also no monthly fees or hidden charges like monthly fees, taxes or surcharges. Tel3Advantage is very popular with people who make international calls to mobile phones in many countries because of their low rates, high quality connections, ease of use and the ability to make calls from mobile phones or any kind of telephone without making any changes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to Call Toll Free Numbers in the USA

As many people know, it can be difficult or expensive to call toll free numbers in the United States when traveling or living abroad. Many low cost prepaid calling products (phone cards) will not allow calls to toll free numbers so many people use traditional long distance phone service which can be high cost. There is an alternative. The Continental Phone Card does allow people to call toll free phone numbers in the USA. It can be used as a Phone Card to make calls through access numbers in about 60 countries. Alternatively, it has a callback feature that can be used to call USA toll free numbers or make cheap international phone calls to any location from any country in the world. Visit international phone cards for more information or to purchase a continental phone card.

4 Annoying Phone Card Fees

Most people are aware that some phone cards have great rates on international calls but many make-up for unbelievably low advertised rates by adding on hidden fees and/or taxes. Fee structures vary between phone card providers. Some have low or no added fees while others have especially onerous fees so consumers should be aware that phone cards do not have a standard fee structure. Therefore, when shopping for phone cards it is best if consumers study the fine print before making a purchase. Four common and especially annoying added fees are listed below.

1. Connection Fee – This is a fee that is charged whenever a call is connected. It is essentially an added charge for each call made using the phone card. It does not matter how long the call or whether the number was misdialed or if the person was even at the place called. One popular phone card company advertises rates as low as 1 cent per minute but charges a 49 cent connection fee. A fee like this can substantially increase the rate on short calls and phone cards with connection fees should be avoided.

2. Maintenance Fees – A charge for keeping a balance on a phone card. We have seen maintenance fees that are charged weekly, bi-weekly or monthly but, in any case, it is a fee that is deducted from the phone card balance if it is kept active for a specified period of time. For example, if a phone card has a monthly fee of 99 cents than 99 cents will be deducted from the account at the end of each month. Phone cards with maintenance fees should not be used on a long term basis. The way to avoid a maintenance fee is to not keep the phone card until the end of the maintenance period. Therefore, purchase a small denomination card and use it quickly so a maintenance fee is not charged.

3. Long Call Fee – A fee that is charged for calls that last for a predetermined period of time. For example, a 50 cent fee could be charged on calls that last for more than 10 minutes. Avoid phone cards with Long-Call fees.

4. Service Fee – Some phone card companies charge a service fee on each call. This is sometimes called a communication fee. This is kind of like a sales tax and is charged as a per cent of the cost of the call. For example, a phone card may charge a 25% service fee. In this case a 25 cent service fee will be added to a call that costs $1. A service fee is okay if it is known and considered when the phone card is purchased. For example, if a phone card has a 25% service fee just increase the per-minute rates listed for the card by 25%. If they are still good rates than the card may still be worthy of purchase.

People who want to avoid phone card fees should consider a prepaid calling card (virtual phone card) like Tel3Advantage. Their listed rates include all fees and taxes and their rates are still some of the best on the market. They also include a full array of features, the highest call quality and award winning customer service.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What to do When Skype is Blocked

Several countries or regions of the world activity block Skype and other INTERNET based phone service like VoIP. They usually do this in order to support their local, monopoly phone company that charges extremely high rates on international calls. Another indirect tax on expats or visitors who want to call home.

Many of these countries are in the Middle East, like Kuwait, Jordan, Oman and the UAE. Some are in Asia, like China or South America like Brazil and Belize. In any case, international travelers or those who plan to stay for an extended period of time in a foreign country should be aware of this practice, do some research and find a suitable solution before traveling. One option is a VPN. A good VPN can by-pass the local block on the INTERNET and allow users to still use Skype. I have done this in Oman so I know it works. Those interested should do a search for VPN providers and intall and test it before traveling. Another option is callback phone service. One we have used from many locations is a web activated callback service offered by NW-IP the service provider who supports the popular Continental Phone Card. The nice thing about a callback service is that it can be used from any kind of phone (that can receive a direct call from overseas) and it can be used from any location in the world. We have used it from many countries because it is handy to make calls to land-lines and cell phones in other countries. There are many people who are not connected to Skype or not at their computers and Skype charges a lot for calls to phones. We have found callback to be useful and well worth the purchase of a phone card before leaving on a trip.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The New Tel3Advantage Savings Plan

Tel3Advantage recently started a new sign-up option they call the Savings Plan that provides great rates on international calls to countries like India and Pakistan. The rates last for a period of 6 months and are the lowest we could find to these and a few other countries. Tel3Advantage now offers the following three sign-up options for new customers.

Tel3Advantage Flex Plan - This is the original sign-up option where new customers get low Tel3Advantage rates on calls and new customers get a sign-up bonus ranging from $5 to $9.

Tel3 Triple Bonus - The triple bonus option provides customers with lower rates on calls for the first 30 days plus a sign-up bonus ranging from $2 to $10 depending on the initial deposit. This is the best sign-up option for most people.

Tel3Advantage Savings Plan - This new sign-up option provides new customers with super low rates to several locations for the first 6 months. There is no up front sign-up bonus but it could be the best option for people who make frequent calls to certain locations.

Check all three options to determine the best one for your situation. No matter how you sign-up you will get great Tel3Advantage service (rated A+ by BBB) and get all of the same great features. These include an on-line account where you can monitor activity on your account, add phones and speed dial numbers. You also have access to free iPhone and Andoid Apps that you can use with your Smart Phone to make cheap international calls without dialing any extra numbers. These and other inovative features help make Tel3Advantage a leader among companies in the prepaid long distance market.