Telephone calling cards
Following on from the recent article by our resident expat expert, concerning communication, we have decided to take a look at telephone calling cards.
If you are living as an expatriate, you will no doubt need to make international calls, probably to loved ones back home. Although the cost of telephone calls are coming down in price generally, it can still be a financial burden staying in touch with home.
There are many new ways in which you can start reducing the cost of your communication, just like using Skype. This has been discussed previously in an article by Kim, our expat expert. Another option you may not know about, is calling cards.
Traditionally, the telephone and the telephone system had been monopolised by the major telecommunication companies. Since governments, certainly that of the UK, decided to make the major players of the telecomms world open up their services to competitors, we have seen a significant decline in the cost for communications, especially telephone and Internet services. Just like other utility services which have been de-regulated, like gas and electricity, the supply is still governed and maintained by a service provider. In the case of UK telecommunications, this is British Telecom (BT).
Smaller companies now have the opportunity to buy bulk amounts of telephone calls from the governing provider, and in a lot of cases, can actually offer a cheaper price than the company whom they are buying from. Considering the size of a company like BT, the actual running costs are enormous. Compare this to the smaller company with smaller operating costs and increased efficiency.
By taking advantage of the competition in the telecommunications world, you can now benefit from making international calls from as little as 1p (1 cent) per minute, and in some cases, for FREE. There are some cards available that will bundle FREE minutes, depending on how many minutes you buy. Typically, cards come in various denominations, ranging from £10, up to £50.
It is relatively easy to make the calls and you can do so from your own home phone. Normally, you would dial the free phone number on the card (some cards may charge a connection fee) and then follow the instructions. Call quality is exactly the same as that of the normal phone service.
If you have been making international calls through your phone service provider, you may want to start shopping around to find a better deal. There are hundreds of choices and many can be ordered online with a debit or credit card. You may want to try Planet Phone Cards as they offer a handy comparison feature on their site.