How to Call Long Distance Without a Long-Distance Carrierby Shelley Moore
If you don't make many long-distance calls or have another reason for not wanting a regular long-distance carrier, some options are available for making long-distance calls without a specific carrier. You also can have a designated carrier but choose in certain cases to use other long-distance services, referred to as dial-around services. Most of these options are less expensive for international calls than going through a regular phone company for long distance.
Buy a prepaid calling card. These have a specific number of minutes you buy and are especially convenient for making calls when you're far from home. They provide less expensive long-distance service when you make international calls, whether you're using a landline or cell phone. To use the card, dial the toll-free number and the access code provided with the card.
Use a dial-around carrier. You begin by pressing 10-10 and then a code identifying the specific dial-around carrier you choose. These carriers often offer lower rates than the standard phone companies and can be cheaper to use with cell phones when you're calling out of your local area or internationally. Charges for the calls you make using this service must appear on a phone bill, so you cannot use dial-around from a pay phone or motel room.
Use an Internet service. This type includes Skype, MediaRing and DialPad, which allow you to make long-distance calls with your computer. Download software from the company's website that allows you to place Internet calls to any personal computer, including those in other countries. The service typically is free if you're calling somebody who uses the same service. You'll need a microphone and speakers or a headset.
Call long distance without a long-distance carrier by making a call from your home phone. Some residential phone services allow you to do this, but the rate they charge is very high. You might pay nearly $1 a minute for this service, so it is probably useful only as an emergency measure.
- Do your research when choosing a dial-around service. Some of these carriers charge a monthly fee, such as $5, if you use the service even one time during the month. Others charge for a minimum amount of time, such as five minutes, which works against you if an answering machine picks up your call.