Phone Bill Self-Defence
September 20, 2005
The first thing we do before making any phone call in an overseas country is to buy a phone card. This is part of our self-defence against international hotels’ use of telephones as highly effective cash-withdrawal devices.
This allows the budget black-belt to talk for hours without generating a huge phone bill that even Bruce Lee would struggle with.
When we pass through Passport Control on entering Australia our budget seeking sixth-sense goes to sleep.
Back home in Australia we ring overseas and interstate numbers with no regard for the assault this is making on our wallet.
It wasn't until a friend of mine, who studies and holidays in the UK and Australia, said that he used calling cards for all his STD and IDD calls that my phone bill self-defence was suddenly on full alert again. I had to do something, fast.
I wandered up to the local newsagent, where I noticed a Telstra PhoneAway card. According to the phone-card ninja behind the cash register, “Everybody who wants cheap national calls uses these.” Everybody…?
I tried to check out the prices and terms of the other cards but the camouflage, smokescreen and disguises had me bewildered. The ninja produced hundreds of different posters, brochures, call rates, off-peak and connection fees.
If you make an intercity call on one of those Telstra PhoneAway cards, you're going to be bleeding – paying 21 cents a minute. On top of that you'll get clobbered with a 49-cent connection fee. That didn't seem like a deal to me.
I approached my Master Miyagi who quoted the ancient wisdom, “Do some comparisons.” I went shopping for some alternatives at ephonecards.com.au.
The first card I looked at, the PriceBuster card, had no connection fee and a call rate of just 3.8 cents a minute for national calls. I followed my Master’s advice and did some more comparisons at ephonecards.com.au.
I dug a little deeper for my calls overseas to Singapore. I found that the Day & Night card gave me a rate of 1.5 cents a minute and no connection fee. It cost only 1.9 cents a minute to a Singapore mobile. I knew I had to call mother - isn't it always time to call mother? I had to tell her how I had finally become a black belt in Australia.
It was three in the morning after I got back from the Internet Café where I won the Counter Strike tournament. I had to contact my mates in Malaysia but had used up my phone card – mum wouldn’t get off the phone earlier.
Being a black-belt I just ordered another card online at ephonecards.com.au and it was delivered instantly by email. I called my mates and went to bed knowing I had another day of training with Mr Miyagi to look forward to – “wax on; wax off”, “paint the fence”, and “sand the floor.”