Calling card for rare use to call UK and maybe Kazakhstan from US
January 30, 2013 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking my best option for staying in phone contact with my one or two overseas friends (mainly UK) might be a calling card. Can anyone recommend a specific card?

Please don't suggest Skype. Won't work for this case.

I'd be calling from the US (specifically, North Carolina, if that makes a difference). I might use a land line or a cell phone -- both of which have very expensive long distance charges.

Can anyone suggest a calling card I can purchase, maybe from Amazon, that will make this inexpensive? I only make 2-3 calls per year, but I might make more if it's sufficiently less expensive. I have one friend in Oxford, UK, and I might make a call to a cell phone in Kazakhstan also. There's an outside chance I might call businesses in France or Thailand These would probably be to cell phones.

I found a web site that seems to index a lot of different cards, but I'd like to know if anyone can recommend one card in particular. Thank you!
posted by amtho to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
If you want something cheap then you probably would want VOIP like, yet this might be tricky with a cell phone and does not work with a landline. Kazakhstan starts at 7.86 cent per minute. is your safest and most convenient bet. Works with cell and landline.
Kazakhstan starts at 25 cent per minute.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:30 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't have a data plan for my phone, so I could only use that kind of thing when in WiFi range. Thanks for the suggestion, though -- if the calling card thing doesn't work out I might consider it, though I'd strongly prefer just buying a calling card.
posted by amtho at 7:35 PM on January 30, 2013

I haven't used this in a few years, but my parents always used 10 10 220 to keep in touch with me when I lived in Italy and the UK. It does not work with cell phones. It was super simple to use and (obviously) really easy to remember. I don't know how their rates compare to phone plans, but depending on the length of your calls, it might come in handy.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:51 PM on January 30, 2013

Future Nine is another VoIP provider that offers dial-in numbers so you can use your account like a calling card. Only the toll-free numbers cost extra, so if you have included US long distance on your cell, for example, you can use the calling card service for no extra charge beyond the normal rate to your destination. If not, they add an extra 3c a minute for using the 800 number.

I use them and for SIP trunking and such and I have no real complaints with either of them.
posted by wierdo at 8:19 PM on January 30, 2013

Response by poster: Hi - to be clear, when you say "It does not work with cell phones," do you mean it can't be used *from* cell phones, or it can't be used *to call* cell phones?
posted by amtho at 9:59 PM on January 30, 2013

I call my parents in Germany over Gmail. You type in a number and it calls them, and the call quality is generally excellent. This acts like any old phone call to the person on the other end: they don't need an Internet connection to be able to receive it. It helps if you have a USB headset; I use a Plantronics C420. But a laptop microphone and headphones work out fine as well.

Their rates are pretty reasonable: calling my parents' landline in Germany is $0.02/minute, which looks exactly the same as to a UK landline. Thai cellphones are $0.03/minute. French cellphones are way more expensive than the other European countries: $0.10/minute, except for Globalstar which is a whopping $0.35/minute. Kazakhstan cellphones are a bit more expensive at $0.13/minute.
posted by kdar at 10:03 PM on January 30, 2013

Hi - to be clear, when you say "It does not work with cell phones," do you mean it can't be used *from* cell phones, or it can't be used *to call* cell phones?

Oops sorry-- it can't be used from cell phones, as far as I know. It 100% worked to call cell phones. Incoming calls do not use minutes in the UK/Italy, so when they called me, it cost nothing at all on my end. This could differ by plan or service though.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:04 PM on January 30, 2013

Following on kdar's answer, you don't even have to talk on the computer to use Google Voice. You can tell Google Voice to call the person, and it'll ring your own phone (landline, cell, whatever). When you pick up, the other end will start to ring and you carry on just as if you dialed directly.
posted by zsazsa at 10:13 PM on January 30, 2013

Yea, Google voice is the way to go. $0.05/min to a landline in Kazakhstan, $0.13 to a mobile. I use to it call Ireland all the time, great call quality. I can use it directly from my Android mobile, the app integrates into the phone and uses Google voice for all international calls. Pretty good as my dirt cheap mobile plan doesn't allow international calling. As long as you're calling from the USA it's a great solution.
posted by Long Way To Go at 10:51 PM on January 30, 2013

Nthing Google Voice.

I use it to call back home from the UK to the USA and it is VERY cheap. I've tried skype, but the quality is spotty because my parents don't have a great connection. Also it is a bit bothersome to have to have them wait at the computer logged in because I always call them after dinner, and that can vary as to exactly when that is finished. Instead I use the built in voice in gmail and it works great. I think I spend about $20 a year possibly only $15 because the rate is only $0.01 per minute calling their landline. I don't know if it is higher calling their mobile, but it seems to still be cheap.
posted by koolkat at 1:55 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite] is a kind of calling card. Just better and more convenient. You don't need a data plan. Just a computer to buy it and set it up.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:18 AM on January 31, 2013

Long-time OneSuite customer here. The account is setup online, works great from a landline of whatever sort.

They have an 800 number to call through, a bit cheaper when you dial a local number. I've used it occasionally now that I have free long-distance within the US, even from a payphone within the US.

You can set it up to recognize your phone via caller ID, that makes it even easier.
posted by scooterdog at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2013

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