Long distance — or international calling — remains an area where consumers continue to look at cost as the main factor when choosing a service provider. International calling service is one logical place to start when your are figuring out how to budget more efficiently.
Choosing a service that cuts international calling costs as much as possible is the key here, but the decision also depends on whether the service performs as promised and actually meets your needs.
Since many providers offer a variety of plans for international calling, the decision can get complicated. To pick the best provider and the best plan means really knowing your own calling patterns. This does take some legwork, but will pay off in the long run.
To determine which plan will work best, first look at your phone bills during a typical months of usage. Since usage can vary from month to month, look at several bills to get an average — how many minutes are used, what is being paid for them, and what extra fees are being tacked onto the bill. Usually looking at bills from the previous three months will do the trick.
In examining calling patterns, your should look for patterns — such as a particular international number or area that gets dialed often, or high volume of talk time during a particular time of day. Once these patterns emerge, it may become clear that your international calling habits and the plan you’re using don’t match up for maximum savings.
Home calling plans tend to feature unlimited calling to particular international and domestic areas for a flat monthly fee. Cell phone plans, on the other hand, usually provide a limited “bucket of minutes” for a monthly fee, and calls made in excess of that allotment are billed at a high rate. The type of plan you use most should be considered when optimizing your international calling savings.
If you makes a lot of international calls from a cell phone, or uses several different phones in the course of a day (home, work, cell, etc.), a plan like that offered by Packetel (News
) probably makes most sense for saving money. Packetel’s international calling plan works in a similar way to a calling card, but with features that make it easier and more convenient to access low per-minute rates.
Packetel’s online international calling plan interface allows you to make on-the-fly adjustments to the way your plan functions, and to track call usage. Features include a local access number and follow me/local presence functionality.
To learn more about ways to save on long distance calls, please visit the International Calling
channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Packetel.
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Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Mae Kowalke