Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cheap International Calling from South Korea

I have been working in South Korea for the past several months so it has given me a chance to investigate methods for making cheap international calls to or from South Korea.  We have mostly made calls between South Korea and the USA but we have also made calls to locations like Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Russia and the UAE. We have found that it is fairly easy to make cheap calls to South Korea but it is not always easy to make cheap calls out.

South Korea has a very modern telecommunication system but rates are fairly high on international calls compared to other countries.  Many people use Skype from South Korea to make free calls to friends and family at home but this is not always a convenient option.  We an international mobile phone to make calls to the USA but the cost is very high, around $1 to $1.50 per minute.  We also found the Korean phone company often blocks or does not allow calls to phone card access numbers so be sure to test these before purchasing phone cards.  We also found that calls using traditional phone cards (via access numbers) from South Korea were not that cheap.  A typical phone card rate is about $0.10 per minute.  This may seem cheap but the rate on international calls from the USA to South Korea using phone cards is typically between 1 and 3 cents per minute.  Our family called us from the USA using Tel3Advantage which is one of the best low cost options because it is cheap and the call quality is very good.

One of my friends in the USA called me several times with Vonage because their plan includes free calls  to land-lines in South Korea.  Vonage seemed to work okay but the sound did typically fade in and out a few times during most calls.

The product I used the most to make cheap calls to the USA and other countries from South Korea was a callback phone card.  Calls to the USA were just over 3 cents per minute and the call quality was very good.  The card I used had a web interface so you just enter the phone number where you are located (mobile or land-line) and the number you wish to call and, in a few seconds, your phone will ring and you will be connected to the other party.  This is a super product that can be used from any country as long as you have an INTERNET connection (in order to send a message) and a phone were you can receive a direct call.  Callback is a very good product to use when making calls from countries with high tariffs on outbound international calls since the calls originate in another country so these tariffs are by-passed.  I have used these callback cards from several countries and have not had any problems completing calls.


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