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Consumers use Calling Cards to Bypass Cellular Carrier Long Distance Charges


Increased reliance on mobile telecommunications via CDMA or GSM networks has caused many consumers to revert back to their long distance roots.

Calling cards by-pass mobile carrier long distance charges via local access numbers or toll-free 1-800 numbers. In substance, the call is a local call--even if the user is connecting with a handset 50,000 miles away. The cost savings to consumers is enormous, and coincides with a profit loss to mobile carriers. A national call that costs thirty to forty cents per minute now only costs consumers 3 to 4 cents per minute.

Online retailers have capitalized on this opportunity and now deliver these prepaid long distance cards through an innovative new medium: e-mail. The Phone Card Depot (, located in Toronto, ON pioneered this technology. This retailer instantly sends mobile users their calling cards as a digital picture embedded in an e-mail. Once received, the customer can use the card immediately from their mobile phone.

John Thomas, Director of Business Development at Phone Card Depot was asked to describe their average user: It’s not your stereotypical phone card user any more. We sell most cards to professionals that need high quality long distance from their mobile devices and smartphones. Most of our users program the access numbers and PINs directly into their handsets for quick access.

Today’s calling cards are different from their predecessors. The ANI [caller ID] is now passed through to the destination telephone, causing the recipient to believe that the caller is connecting without a calling card. Business professionals prefer this transparency.

The introduction of ’My Faves’ and ’Friends and Family’ calling plans provided a unique opportunity to mobile users that had the foresight to add their calling card’s local access number to the list of Faves. Doing so provided unlimited free mobile calling to the calling card, which then routed their call to any destination phone number.


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