Phone cards? Or is there a better idea?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Sis's boyfriend has been posted to TX, following his graduation from basic training. Until he gets access to a computer and e-mail, what is the best way for him to stay in touch? We write, of course - but want to hear his voice also.
Should we send him phone cards? If so, does anyone have any info on the best ones - easiest to use, most time for the money. He will be calling to central IL, mostly in the evening hours. Are they cheaper than collect calls with those 10-10 numbers? Don't know if he could have a cell phone, and if so - wouldn't the long distance eat us alive?
Any suggestions gratefully appreciated - we miss our boy!
-- Polly (email@example.com), September 06, 2000
I dont make many long distance calls and got tired of paying more in fees and taxes than what the actual calls cost. MCI even wanted to charge me $5 a month plus government fees whether I made any long distance calls or not. My ex introduced me to BigZoo.com. You prepay whatever amount you want from $10 up. Then you get a "800" number and a pin number which works just like a phone card. Rate is 3.9cents per minute anytime per day instate, out of state, just so its in lower 48 states. You can recharge your account with a credit or debit card. No extra fees except if you call from a pay phone, then its 50cent surcharge per call.
Voice quality is good. Only problem I have is its hard sometimes to get connected in evening during peak calling period. I've had to sit and speed dial the 800 number for 15 minutes to finally get connected at that time of day.
-- Hermit John (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2000.
We have an 800 number that doesn't cost anything unless it's used, then it's 7 cents a minute in state & 10 cents out of state. Not the lowest rates but has always been dependable. It's cheaper than a lot of calling cards are, & there is no pin number to remember. Our service is through Lightyear, used to be uni dial, they will even write off charges if someone accidently calls your 800. We have the same number as a tool company in Canada, got to talk to some nice people from there, the company wrote it off, & then we blocked it from Canada. Cell phones also come with really good packages, my mom lives in another state & calls me often to use up free minutes.
-- Lenore (email@example.com), September 06, 2000.
I've seen phone cards at the gas station for 1.5 cents a minute . I've been thinking of getting one to try since that is cheaper than any plan on the market .
-- Patty Gamble (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2000.
I use pre-paid phone cards for all of my long distance calls. I even dropped the long distance from my regular telephone service.
I use an AT&T pre-paid card from Sam's Club, and it costs $20.00 for 350 minutes. Time can be added via credit card.
Though the AT&T card is not the cheapest available, there are no hidden charges such as connection fees, and no other "fine print" like so many of the cards have. I have checked out quite a few others and have always stayed with the AT&T one. Also there is never any trouble connecting.
It's the one for me anyway.
-- Notforprint (Not@thekeyboard.com), September 06, 2000.
On the 800 numbers - that's a number he would place a call to, right? I'm wanting something where he can call different places - for instance: Sis, here at home; at her Dads' house; Sis' cell phone; his folks. Sis has school from 7:30 to 3:15, then pon-pom squad practice one day, cheerleading practice 2 days, tumbling 1 day, football games twice a week (JV and varsity), and she works in her Dads' business in her free time - almost impossible for me to keep up with her schedule and know where to find her when - I think it would be impossible from TX!
Is the AT&T one from Sams the same as the ones Wal-Mart has? I'm not a Sams member.
-- Polly (email@example.com), September 06, 2000.
I don't think that the card from Sam's Club is the same as the one from Wal-mart. I seldom shop Wal-mart, but when I needed a new card some time ago, I called my local Wal-mart and their's cost much more.
My daughter makes my purchase for me as I'm not close to a Sam's and don't belong either. I have emailed and ask Sam's to build locally. I'm sure my great influence will bring it about. LOL.
-- Notforprint (Not@thekeyboard.com), September 06, 2000.
Way phone cards and BigZoo.com work is that you dial an 800 number, then enter your pin number, then dial the number you want to connect to.
Be careful of those 1cent per minute cards, they usually have all kinds of access fees. The price is just a come on. BigZoo is cheapest I've found that gives an honest rate. Unless you go for something internet based like dialpad.com. You then need a computer and internet connection however.
-- Hermit John (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2000.
For home to home type of chatting, he could try one of those internet voice chat programs. The only one that comes to mind immediately is the Star Trek Communitcator, but I know that there are others. It's sort of like Phone Free, etc. Word of caution, be careful with your personal info on these and keep an eye on your phone bills for unauthorized expense-call such as 900 lines. Just like a real phone, the truly ambitious can find ways of accessing your phone priviledges and use them for their own benfits. The advantage is that there is no long distance; it's free, just like any on-line communication.
-- Soni (email@example.com), September 06, 2000.
i too use the card from sam's for very important calls. otherwise i use dialpad.com. true sometimes it is hard to get on and sometimes the connection leaves a little to be desired. but then it is nice to not have to worry about how long you have been talking. but i wonder will he have a pc or will he only have access to a payphone. if the payphone is all he will have access to remember that he will have a 50 cent surcharge for the use of the phone. i can't advise on the 10 10 numbers as i have never used them. gail
-- gail missouri ozarks (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 07, 2000.
For long distance calls, I use a 10-10 number. 5"/per minute, 24/7, in-state and out of state; no monthly fee; and state, local, federal taxes together are less than $1.00
I've noticed that a lot of these 10-10 numbers are owned by the same company. The name of the company I use could be called something else in another state, altho I could give you the 800 number I call to get them and you could discuss it. Nevertheless, I've used this company for 3 years and been happy! I am not signed up for a long distance company with my local phone company.
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), September 07, 2000.
I am in Japan and use dialpad.com to call family back in the states, it is free and works pretty good. You call and talk over your computer, there is no signup fee or charge for the service. I have the cheapest HP I could get a Sam's club before I left and just talk into the speaker that's right the speaker.
-- Herb. Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 09, 2000.
Free is my favorite colour! How could one use dialpad.com with a phone -- is that possible? We just noticed that our 7 cents a minute anytime with the Mother of All Phone Companies was quietly jumped to 42 cents a minute for out-of-state daytime. A fine thing to discover after the fact.
-- snoozy (email@example.com), September 09, 2000.
We got rid of our long distance service when our youngest son was a teenager. he thought he was romeo I guess:0 Anyways, we used phone cards to make calls but discovered some will charge you 10 minutes of the time to just connect so that eats up your minutes fast. I now use these 2 programs to make long distance ph call for FREE! I'm a tight wad, have to be. I use dialpad and MSN messenger. You can download and use the dialpad from http://www.dialpad.com you don't have to worry about the other person having a computer for either as you can call computer to phone. you will need a good mic for calling though. The MSN messenger is available from MSN, http://www.msn.com then download the messenger. its powered by net2phone and all calls are free. there is also something called eBoom, but it never allows me to open the page, its http://www.eboom.com Hope this helps.
-- Bernice (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 09, 2000.
Just want to say on the 10 10 numbers: I have no long distance but 10-10's. One I shall never use again is called WorldXChange from California. They come on with a no monthly fee ad, then stick a 4.99 fee on your bill. Then you get the run around trying to clear it up. Don
-- Don (email@example.com), September 09, 2000.
We use BigZoo.com.3.9 cents with no other charges.Use just like a phone card.You recharge(prepay) with a credit or debit card. We do get busy signals sometimes but no too often. There is a 55 cent charge if you call from a pay phone.That goes to the pay phone folks...not to BigZoo. JT
-- JT Sessions (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 09, 2000.
dialpad.com as far as I know can only be accessed from a computer, but it is easy you just go to their web site and register you will then get verification that your ID and password are registered and can call any number in the country free. It is not quit as good as talking on the phone except for the cost, but I am told is better if you buy a headset with mic. I plan on doing this as soon as they restock them here, they go pretty fast.
-- Herb. Smith (email@example.com), September 12, 2000.
If you use a phone card make sure you read and understand the cost associated with the card. Many cards are just rip offs. Most cards have so many fees, service charges and minimum cost that they are worthless. $10 card, 10/cent minute, but $5 min cost and $1 call setup, so you call ends up cost 50cents/minute. Some cards expire if not used in 30-90 days after registering them. Card companys come and go.
A couple of solutions. If you both have computers then try dialpad, its a phone dialing service for your computer, no LD cost. You can also do computer to computer voice calls with a number of voice tools. Netmeeting, voicechat. A cell phone might be an option. There are a number of cell services that give free LD. Again make sure you read what if any limits apply to the LD. Some are in state, some are regional some are nationwide.
Another posibility is check with your long distance provider. A number of them are office "phone home plans" where you can call at a lower rate between specific phone numbers, his apt and your home for example.
-- Gary (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 13, 2000.
A few weeks ago they did a radio program on the health hazards of cell phones. They had a scientist on who seemed to know a LOT about all the various research being done about the effects of microwaves and different types of radiation on the human brain. Apparently there are a lot of bizarre tumours cropping up behind cellphone users' ears, as well as other effects like short-term memory problems and vertigo... This would account for some of the high accident rates when driving and cell-yammering are combined, although I think most of it is simply having one's attention not behind the wheel of the car.
When asked at the end of the program if he had a cellphone and would he use one, he said he would have a cellphone if he needed one, but that he didn't need one, however he wouldn't talk on it for very long. How much is "not very long"? "Not more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time," he replied. Yikes! Even at a cheap rate, the long-distance savings cannot possibly outweigh the longterm health hazards & costs.
-- snoozy (email@example.com), September 15, 2000.
When I didn't have a phone, yet needed to keep in touch long-distance, I just used my sister's calling card (the one that charges back to their number), she let me know each month how much I owed her, and I would mail out a check. Yes, there is a charge for using the card, but to me it is better than tying up lots of money in a prepaid card.
-- GT (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 09, 2001.
My dh is tightwad when it comes to long distance calls. We blocked them from our home phone just in case someone broke in and used the phone.
We buy the cards from Sam's Club. He's shopped around and this was the best and easiest to deal with that he has found. Also, since we buy them with the Discover card, you eventually even get a little, tiny bit, of money back.
-- Lavender Blue Dilly (email@example.com), August 10, 2001.
When our son was at Basic Training we sent him a 1 cent per minute card. Big ripoff!! I have recently heard that the Sam's calling cards are good and there's no need to purchase new ones each time - just use a credit card to put your time back on and that way you maintain the same pin number.
-- Terry - NW Ohio (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 10, 2001.