One expense item that eats into every international student’s budget is the money spent on calling friends and family back home. This article will help you handpick an international calling card, which will fit your budget and keep your costs in control.
The past decade has seen the growth of the mobile phone and the rise of internet telephony. Gone are those days when there was a long waiting queue for securing a new landline phone connection. Today one can walk into any mobile store submit identity proof documents and photographs, fill a form and get a new SIM card, which is activated in 48 hours. With smartphones ruling the roost, one can now use tools like Skype and WhatsApp to communicate. The advancements in technology have definitely made communication much easier!
Why you Need Calling Cards:
Once you join University, the first week will see you filling in a lot of forms and completing paper-work. Be in touch with your International Student Officer to apply for a local SIM card this will let your family and friends contact you easily from India. You will incur a lot of expenses if you use the same card to make international calls. This is where international calling cards help you. A number of companies offer international calling cards to students at attractive rates. It is highly recommended that even before you leave India, you do your research and pick up a calling card that matches your requirements.
‘Knowledge is Power’ - Research Thoroughly!
The world of international calling cards has a lot of rules that vary from country to country based on regional government enforced telecommunications policies. Be very careful while reading the fine print. Terms like - connection charges, activation fee, late fees, credit carryover, validity, grace period, expiry, etc., are used quite often and it can be quite confusing to find the right calling card.
So how do you Find the Right Card???
Read as much as you can about various service providers.There are a number of international student communities on the internet that give you an insight into the quality of service of these cards. Speak to existing Indian students on campus and find out what calling card they are using. This would be the best way to finalise on a calling card.
Opt for a card, which lists the various charges and fees clearly.If you find the charges too confusing then skip that card. You can buy the calling card online from the service provider’s website. In case, you are dissatisfied by the service, you can check the refund clause and verify if your money can be refunded on surrendering/deactivating the card. Always verify the rates offered by multiple-service providers and check if there are special rates for calls to India. Leading service providers offer this benefit!
Apps to your Help:
We have already mentioned Skype and WhatsApp.These allow you to communicate with other users who are on Skype or WhatsApp for free. Skype also allows you to buy ‘call credit’ and speak directly to friendsand family on their telephone or mobile. Ever since Steve Jobs launched the iPhone and the term ‘app eco-system’ came into prominence; we are seeing apps for every possible function. Be it Android, or iOS or Blackberry or Windows Mobile the number of apps being launched is going up everyday. There are some special apps that allow you to make calls from your smartphone to other phones back in India.
011Now is one such app that lets you buy talk time credit and allows you to make calls at low rates across the world. In a world of smartphones, apps and internet telephony - the options to speak a loved one in India are numerous!
A word of caution - do not get lured by flashy advertisements and marketing campaigns of international calling cards that promise a lot but end up offering pathetic service.
We hope you found this article useful. Share your experiences of using international calling cards when studying abroad in the ‘Comments’ section below.