Over the years, demand for the cheapest international calling rates possible led the to development of various types of services, some easier to use than others. Calling cards, which offered lower rates for international calling than most residential phone services, were very popular in the 1990s prior to the introduction of flat-rate VoIP plans.
Calling cards might have been a great way to save money on international calling and budget appropriately using the pay-as-you-go model, but they were rather fiddly to use. The user first had to dial a toll-free access number, then a PIN, and then all the digits (often 12 or more) associated with an overseas number.
As cell phones became more popular, the utility of dialing those number got even more frustrating, since keys are smaller on mobile phones, and the very nature of these devices encourages quick, convenient calls rather on the go. Yet cellular service roaming charges and rates for international calling remained high, so there was still demand for services to make overseas dialing less of a drain on the wallet. Many users began to think, “There has to be a better way!”
Now, there is. Providers like Packetel
offer a modern twist on the calling card, with a toll free or local access number that’s used to access low international calling rates, but also includes features that significantly cut down on the number of digits that need to be dialed.
) service, for example, provides quick-dial functions so frequently dialed international numbers can be called without having to enter all the digits. If the user programs his or her access number into the speed-dial of the mobile phone, dialing becomes even simpler. And, with a feature called “Trusted Phone Numbers,” there is no need to dial a PIN.
All of this boils down to time and cost savings for the user. To learn more about how this type of service works, 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