The market creating cost spread on phone calls
I just added to my webpage on phone issues that some of the cheapest phone calls can be had is by using pre-dial numbers from a company called Connect Telecom UK Ltd (Finarea SA) under brandnames Phonecheap, 0844calls, Discountdial, Dialaround, Telediscount, Telesavers and Telestunt (note they offer a different mix of rates via each but rather than lok at each site you can use a comparison site). For UK landline numbers at 1p per minute try 0844 861 2121 or 0844 861 3838. For UK mobiles at 4p per minute try 0844 428 2525 or 0844 428 0004. The disadvantage of this is that one gets charged for time the call ring even if not answered which is often the minimum charge. But in some cases, mostly overseas mobiles, it is same price to use ukfsn/justdial’s similar access numbers, which I previously recommended as UKFSN got a cut.
Also the same Connect Telecom / Finarea SA is behind a slightly different method that is maybe more suitable for mobiles: 18185, TopUpDiscount and TeleTop, so more rates to compare but do take into account the costs call to London number to access, as well as there system. Also this method makes more even sense if one has an unlimited call package. Others offering this style of service include cheapestchat. But they also can be found via comparison site.
I still recommend one switchs line rental from BT to The Phone Coop (and apply for a share in The Phone Coop) but on either look at using these prefix numbers for each call where saves money which in most cases will.
I am intrigued by fact the different brand names offer similar rates but in many significant cases not, meaning one has to work to take advantage of the market by continually checking prices and not relying on market competition for you. On one site, they even invite people to send in with lower prices spotted elsewhere. This is great way for them to get feedback on those that cross check sites.
Also a word of advice if you have someone from overseas staying it is worth for piece of mind to get direct dial international calls blocked so have to use cheaper service preferably their own accounts. Though be warned a friends experience with BT was they removed her premium rate call block when she got international calls blocked (she has bypass pincode) and will take 7 days to get this back on. In her case wished to keep premium rate calls blocked as pre-dial number, but BT staff did not mention premium rate calls when she order service so she did not consider them. In fact when rang back up to try rectify they at first mistakenly insisted one could only have one or the other blocked.
[UPDATE (12/July/2006): It seems the cock up in dealing with this issue but BT customer service operators was even more then I realised. It now turns out that the Call Barring product could have also blocked premium rate calls as well national, mobile and international. How the service is all explained in a leaflet BT produce. If they had mentioned that just need to punch in *347# to bar premium rate numbers this when rang up to query how come premium rate call blocking removed, let along when product first ordered, or just sent out copy of leaflet when ordered. Nor did they even give us this info in response email to online complaint.
Also when we only found leaflet online yesterday because when we tried to view pages on call feature we could not as system is too clever for it own good and it would not let us view call bar feature page (as comes up in first link on search for it one their website) as we had services on order once enter account number which promoted for ie removing call baring to restore premium rate bar, which is not what we wanted we wanted both. It seems there service although more flexible than rivals, suffers for this if they don’t set systems up to make customer understanding it possible.
And be warned about suggesting to guest to use pre-paid cards as these often will come with 0845 access number listed first which is 3p/min during the day with is itself more expensive than Telesavers etc. for many UK/European calls, as well as them often having hidden costs for the user. The Post Office (TM) card seems to be free of hidden costs with rate quoted what you end up paying overall.
Maybe best idea is to encourage them to get a UK sim card for their mobiles and use TopUp service with best rates for most likely calls.
Also it is worth claiming five mins of free hassle-free calls for a range of international places using JaJah. But one needs to have plain old telephone near your web browsing computer. And similarly another in same vain: Webcalldirect