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How to Make an International Phone Call From The US

One of the biggest concerns when making an international phone call is cost.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to relax and actually enjoy conversations with your dear friends and family without clock-watching and worrying about racking up huge bills?!

Understanding the pros and cons of different international calling options can help you keep your costs low while ensuring you receive a high quality service.

The Traditional Method of Making an International Call

Before mobile/cell phones and VoIP options that allowed for cheap phone calls via the Internet, people in the US used a four step process to reach an international contact:

1. Dial an exit code. For calls placed from the US and most US territories, this number is 011.

2. Dial a country code. This is the code assigned to the country the call is being placed to. This is normally a two or three digit number, although some countries only use one digit and satellite phones may require a four digit number.

3. Dial the area code for the region / city. This number may be from one to four digits long.

4. Dial the phone number belonging to the party the call is being placed to. This will normally be between four and seven digits in length.

If you call internationally on a regular basis (to keep in touch with family, for example) your traditional phone carrier will have options to set you up with an international calling plan. Most companies (such as AT&T) have fairly reasonable rates for calls from the US to Canada or the UK, with higher rates to Mexico, India, or Cuba.

Making International Phone Calls with a Calling Card

Using a calling card can be a laborious task.  Firstly, there are access pins, and international lines to be reached and the whole process can be more hassle than the traditional method noted above.  And this is without even mentioning some of the perilous features that can increase your stress levels and reduce the amount of cash in your wallet!

Sure, pre-paid cards can be used to make international calls from almost any phone, but rates will vary depending on the type of card used, what country is being called, and whether you are calling a landline or a mobile/cell phone. For those who need to occasionally make a lengthy international phone call, calling cards are a fairly good option; but be aware that most have hidden fees. Some use a ‘rounding’ policy to round up minutes to the nearest 3, 5 or 8 minute intervals while others deduct a weekly fee from the card balance, and in some cases charge a connection fee.  Calling cards are therefore particularly troublesome when making frequent calls back home so be sure to do your research before making a purchase and checkout other options that are more suited to technological developments in the smartphone industry. 

Smartphones and International Calling

Many modern smartphones have applications which can be used to make international phone calls without going through the lengthy four step process each time while avoiding the hassles and hidden costs of calling cards. Technology has resulted in the boom of numerous service providers that utilize Wi-Fi/3G/4G internet connections to keep costs low. Since services are plentiful and developers within these companies are constantly seeking more efficient ways of serving the consumer market, prices are being driven down while quality is constantly improving.  Read more on some of the many companies that provide the best services at the moment.

Rebtel as a market leader for best value

Rebtel is another alternative to calling cards, offering low rates for worldwide telecommunication.  The transparency of service and high call quality means that they are now one of the market leaders.  Here are some of the reasons why:

- Regardless of where your friends and relatives are, Rebtel’s service provides you with local domestic phone numbers for calling.  You simply register contacts in your account and the local number is instantly provided, guaranteeing huge savings.

 - The Rebtel app is available on Windows, iPhone and Android phones and accesses your phone’s contacts list to keep things easy. The great thing is that you can stay in touch with anyone, anywhere, regardless of whether the call recipient has a smartphone, traditional mobile/cellphone or landline.

- Rebtel rates can save up to 98% compared to traditional calling cards and other international calling plans. Better still there are no hidden charges, connect fees our ‘rounding up’ of minutes.  It’s a simple pay per use model.

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