International Calling

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October 30, 2008

International Calling: The Next Generation of Calling Cards

International Calling

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor


Given the current economic climate, many people are scrutinizing their monthly budgets, looking for ways to reduce expenses. This includes thinking about international calling services. Consumers may consider making use of calling cards, which have fallen somewhat into disuse but can still offer benefits.
International calling cards are a type of prepaid phone service, allowing users to pay only for what they will use, and often to get significantly lower per-minute rates than with offerings that require contracts. This flexibility and affordability is a potent combination, so the appeal is easy to understand.
Reports indicate that international calling cards might account for as much as 40 percent of the international telecom market, and make up as much as 10 percent of sales at U.S. convenience stores.
What people may not know is that there are other prepaid options available that offer more convenience and flexibility than calling cards, but are equally appealing in terms of price. An example is the international calling/long distance service from Packetel (News - Alert). This service works in a similar way to traditional, prepaid calling cards, but adds next-generation telephony features for managing and customizing a user’s account.
Users who sign up for Packetel’s service can choose from one of four prepaid plans: $10, $20, $50 and $100. Whatever amount is selected is billed to the user’s credit card, and the balance can then be used to make international calls to a variety of countries, with per-minute rates in most cases being in the 1.5 to 3 cent range.
Like with a calling card, the low international calling rates offered by Packetel are accessed by dialing a special number. This local number, selected the user depending on where the service will be used most, is referred to as a Personal Access Number. Toll-free numbers for using the service outside the local area when traveling are available as well.
Packetel’s service enhances the convenience of prepaid calling with features like Trust Phone Numbers (eliminates the need to dial a PIN), XPress and Quick-Dial phone numbers (for faster dialing of numbers being called), follow me/local presence (makes it easier for users to be reached at different locations), and an online account for managing features and purchasing additional minutes.
To learn more about the next generation of calling cards, please visit the International Calling channel on, 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


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