Once upon a time, placing a telephone call to an international location was a very expensive endeavor. Fortunately, there are several options for international telephone calls today that are much more cost efficient, and require much less effort to connect. However, there are still several factors that can impact the final rate per minute that a caller will pay when making international telephone calls.
Today, making international telephone calls do not involve a great deal of manual switching, nor do they necessarily have to routed through underwater cables. Advances in technology allow for long distance telephone signals to be transferred through means of microwaves, satellite transmissions, and through the World Wide Web. All these new methods work in conjunction with the older wire technology, making it possible to place international telephone calls to and from just about every country in the world. It is the combination of these methods that often helps to determine the final rate per minute that the caller will pay.
For locations that can utilize Voice over Internet Protocol to make international telephone calls, the cost per minute is very low. This is especially true if both the originator and the recipient of the international telephone call are utilizing the Internet for making and receiving calls. In this scenario, the involvement of traditional telephone switches is either eliminated or kept at a minimum, depending on the two countries involved. The call is still direct dialed using dialing codes usually referred to as country codes, along with the local exchange telephone number. More and more companies are using Voice over IP as the means of offering low cost international calling to their customers.
However, Voice over IP is not necessarily available everywhere. This creates situations where a call may begin using Internet technology, but at some point hop onto a local phone switch and go through the usual process. In countries where telecommunications is nationalized, there may be access fees involved that will run up the cost per minute.
Most telephone service providers publish a listing of countries that may be dialed using their platform, along with the rate per minute that will be billed. Depending on the country of origin, the country of destination, and the type of technology involved with switching the call, the rate can be extremely low or somewhat expensive. However, it should be noted that rates for international telephone calls are still only a fraction of what they cost even ten years ago.