International Telephone Calling Tips
If your business requires overseas communications with suppliers or customers; or if you have a loved one living or traveling abroad; you know that the cost for overseas calls can come as a shock to your budget and cause you heartburn if you think what the future may have in store. Calling rates vary from country to country, so the impact on your telephone bill could be dramatic, but there are a few things that you can do to help lessen the costs in the future.
• Calling Overseas Mobiles: Be very careful when placing telephone calls to mobiles overseas. There are many overseas carriers that use a "calling party pays" system when calling mobiles (incl: pagers, etc.) originating from within Australia. It is entirely possible that the tariff rate for an overseas mobile phone might be considerably higher compared to a call placed to a land-line in the same country. This surcharge is referred to as an "International / Special Services Termination Rate". It should be listed on your carrier's International calling plan rate schedule.
• Direct Dialing: Depending upon the country you are calling, you may get an overall attractive calling rate by dialing direct; accessing the network by dialing 0011 + country code + city code plus the local number. However, you may want to consider using a override prefix (like 1477) if your phone company charges a high tariff for a country you intend to call regularly. You do not need to switch long distance carriers to use a override prefix number. These services usually have very competitive International rates and can save you considerable sums. Basically you are just using another phone supplier for long distance calls.
• Operator Assistance To Place Calls: Never, ever, use an operator to place an International call unless it is an absolute emergency. Obviously for every rule there are exceptions, collect calls, person-to-person and third party billing are examples, but whenever possible dial direct or use an override service.
• Prepaid Phone Cards: Using a prepaid phone card is another way to save heaps of money on International calls. Prepaid phone cards are portable and provide some protection against unseemly practices by the telecoms. You need to consider if there are any extra charges for the time and place of your call such as connection fees, maintenance or monthly fee, the billing increment of your call, and expiration date of the card. If you intend to use phone cards on a regular basis then consider a rechargeable card that will not expire. www.ephonecards.com.au is a good place to compare phone cards.
• Calling FROM an Australian Mobile Phone: There are countless horror stories on the Internet about how much some consumers have been "charged" (ripped off) by mobile phone providers for International calls. Fortunately, you can save substantial sums of money on these types of calls by planning ahead. You need to look for a mobile plan that has a small fixed fee for calls to local numbers. Then use a phone card to make your calls.
• Placing Your Call: If you are dialing direct you would dial: 0011 + country code + city code + local number. On the other hand, if you are using an override provider, you would dial: 1444 + 0011 + country code + city code + local number.
The "1444" represents the specific dialing code for the provider that you have selected. Contact your selected override provider for the exact dialing requirements to access their system.
• Voice over IP (VoIP): Voice over IP (VoIP) can be a very inexpensive way to handle International calls. You need to have a broadband Internet connection available, such as an ADSL or cable connection. Using VoIP can also provide unlimited long distance service as well.