Monday, November 17, 2008

Cheap Phone Calls to The Philippines

Calling the Philippines can be really expensive. You have to be smart and find ways to call where you can save money especially if you are planning to make calls on a regular basis.

1. Video conferencing or Video Chat - The cheapest and the best way to talk to your Filipina is video conferencing. You and the person you are calling will only have to pay for internet connection which is about 25 dollars a month. You can talk all day and all night, send cute pictures while talking, and at the same time, you can see each other through your webcams (This can really be helpful if you have not seen your Filipina friend in person). You can use different video conferencing tools that are free to download on the internet. Yahoo Messenger is my favourite since they are very easy to use. Also, most Filipinas use Yahoo for their mail and they probably already have yahoo messenger installed on their computer, and are very skilled in using it. Other video conferencing tools are Google Talk, Skype, MSN Messenger, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). MSN Messenger is the next most popular video chat tool in the Philippines. You may also use that. The video interface in their messenger is a somewhat better than Yahoo Mesenger. This communication tool is only going to work if both of you have at least a computer, an internet connection, headset and webcam. It would be pricey investment if your Filipina does not have a computer. Another downside to this communication tool is that both of you have to be on a computer at the same time. If they do not have a computer, do not worry, there are still other ways to call them. I have listed some more ways to call the Philippines below...

When calling a land phone in the Philippines, you have to dial the country code 63, the area code, and the phone number . For example, when calling a land phone in Baguio City, Philippines, you dial 63744454624. 63 is the Philippine country code, 074 or 74 is Baguio City’s area code, and 4451234 is the phone number of the person. The beginning 0 in the area code will only matter if you are calling within the Philippines. For example, if you were in Manila and you would like to call Baguio City, you would dial 0744451234
When calling a cellular / mobile phone in the Philippines, you have to dial the country code 63, and just the cellular phone number without the 0. For example, 639174561234 09174561234 being the cellular phone number.

2. Computer to Phone Calls or PC to Phone Calls – There is another use for video chat software like YM (Yahoo Messenger), MSN Messenger and Skype. If you need to call your Filipina friend on her phone, you can still use these chat tools. PC to phone calls is possible. The downside of it though, is you have to pay for it. PC to phone calls are not free like PC to PC calls, but they are still cheaper than calling long distance through your regular phone or even using phone cards. ( I will discuss using phone cards later ).

Computer to Phone Call RATES :

· land phone in the Philippines from your Yahoo Messenger is $ 0.159/ min
· Cellular phone in the Philippines from your YM is $ 0.199/min


USD excluding VAT USD including VAT
Land Phone $ 0.198/ min $ 0.228/ min
Mobile/ Cellular Phone $ 0.249/ min $ 0.286/ min

I searched for a few more VOIP services that are not as popular as YM or Skype, and the cheapest one that I saw was Iconnect here and they say they only charge $.15/min their website is .

3. Using Phone Cards : Phone cards are more expensive than Pc to Phone calls. They charge anywhere between $0.013 /min to $0.179 /min PLUS additional charges. It is also cheaper to call a land/ home phone than a mobile phone. There is a lot of things to consider when you call using a phone card. Phone cards charge all different kinds of fees that are so frustrating. They have connection fees that range from $0.15 to $0.99 cents, so every time you place a call, you get charged that amount. They also have maintenance fees that could be daily, weekly and monthly. Not only that, they also have what they call post call fees. Phone cards have either all of these fees or a few of these fees. At one time I purchased a $5 phone card that advertised “$5 for 47 minutes, I oniy used it for about 17 minutes and then tried using it a few days later and it told me I only have 2 minutes left. It was ridiculous!. I should also mention, some of them have expiration dates.
You would have to analyze which phone card would be best for you based on the number of times you call, the length of time of your call, and etc. For example, if you use up all the minutes in just one call, you wouldn’t have to worry about maintenance fees and connection fees as much.

So when you decide you need to use a phone card to call the Philippines, you may want to look at the terms and conditions that are usually written at the back of the card.

Based on my search, Here are some of the better - priced phone cards that you can purchase online.

Rate :
Mobile $ 0.082 / min Land Phone $ 0.0543 /min

Grand Asia Phone Card has a per call fee of up to 99 cents, weekly maintenance fee of up to 99 cents, a fee of up to 99 cents fro any calls from payphone and a post call of 5 cents per minute.
Rate :
$ 5 Card
60 mins. to Philippines landline
50 mins. To Philippines Cellular

Kamusta Pilipinas Phone card charges a weekly maintenance fee up to $0.99 commencing after first call; a daily maintenance fee up to $0.15 commencing after first call; a fee up to $0.99 for any calls from payphones; and a post-call fee up to $1.99. These prices change so it is better to call their customer service number 1-888-569-9653 for current pricing.

FAST DIAL Rate: $ 0.109 / min
Fast Dial Phone Card has no connection fee and no maintenance fee. A 30% service fee is applied after each call. A 69¢ maintenance fee applies earlier of second day after first completed call or after initial 75¢ of usage and every 7 days thereafter.

You could do your own research on the best deal in phone cards online. Just Google search cheap phone cards from your location to Philippines.

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