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Long Distance | International Cell Calls

Welcome How to Save Money When Making International
Calls With a Cell Phone

By Dave Hughart, 36-year telecom industry expert

Wondering what the best option is for making cell phone calls to places outside the U.S.? You're not alone. With cell phone international rates typically around $1.00 to $3.00 per minute, many callers are looking for cheaper alternatives.

Suppose you make two hours of international calls on your cell phone each week. At $2.00 a minute, you'd spend $960 per month. The cost of making the same calls using a 10 cents a minute land line would be $48 per month. Have you ever wished you could find cell phone international rates as low as your land line international rates? We have.

After comparing the pros and cons of each option, our researchers found that Tel3 Dial Around Service can save you up to 90% on international cell calls.

We knew there had to be a cheaper way to make international calls from a cell phone, so we asked our researchers to find it. They identified and compared many options to determine the best way to save on international cell phone calls. Here's what they found.

Ways to Make International Calls With a Cell Phone:

Iridium Satellite System® Phone

These wireless phones make calls using a satellite network. They offer the convenience of being able to call from anywhere at anytime. However, the purchase of a special Iridium wireless phone - typically hundreds of dollars - is required, and you must obtain a new phone number. Quality of reception can vary during times of the day.

Prepaid International Calling Cards For Cell Phones

These cards can be used from any phone on any carrier. They offer low per-minute rates, but most have maintenance fees or minimum charges on a per-call basis. Many cards expire and become unusable within months.

International Plans From Wireless Carriers

The cost of calling internationally with wireless providers varies. You don't have to change phones or carriers, but you are confined to that provider's service areas. Often, there are special roaming fees for international calls. Using your wireless provider can be one of the most expensive ways to make an international call.

International Dial-Around Plans

Similar to 10-10 numbers, you do not have to switch carriers, purchase a new phone or carry a card. Users dial a toll-free access number followed by the number they wish to call. No PIN or access code is required. Rates for these plans tend to be the lowest overall. Tel3.com is a recommended provider of these services.

SmartPrice's Recommendation

After comparing the pros and cons of each option, our researchers found that an International Dial-Around Plan is usually the best way to save money when calling internationally from your cell phone. We like these plans because they usually have the best overall savings and the rates typically don't vary on the time of day you call. These are also our first choice because you don't have to switch calling plans or buy a new phone and you can use them with your existing phone number.

The main drawback to these plans is that users have to push a few extra buttons to make an international call (e.g. dialing a 1-800 number before dialing the desired number). But when compared to the alternative of dialing the international number directly with a wireless provider - typically costing 10 times as much - we think it's worth the savings.

Here are some example rates of a recommended International Dial-Around provider:

Image of a chart showing some example rates of a recommended International Dial-Around provider.
The provider of this plan is Tel3.com.

Plan Benefits:

Call from any cell phone on any carrier with any plan without switching. Rates remain the same, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One flat monthly fee ($3.95 or less) and no hidden charges.

Plan Features:

Speed-dial numbers. Quick redial. Conference Calling. Online Billing and Account Management. Multiple Account Functionality. Automatic Account Recharge.

For more details on plans like these, click here.


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