How to Dial Internationally

Did you know that the number of international long distance calls from the United States has skyrocketed from only about 200 million a year to more than 6.2 billion per year over the past 20 years? With so many international calls being made on a regular basis, consumers need to have the best information on how to make and how to save on those calls. Whether you call your friend in China once a year just to say “hello,” or call your family in Mexico on a weekly basis, you want to make your calls with ease and at the best rates available. Read on to find out how!


Direct Dialing

Once you find the country code you wish to dial, simply dial using this formula: 011 + country code + city code + phone number

So, if we were to call Tokyo, Japan, it would look like this: 011 + 81 + 3 + XXXX-XXXX

Operator Assisted

Operator assisted calls generally are much more expensive than a direct dial phone call.

Dial using this formula: 01 + country code + city code + phone number


Dialing out of the country can be expensive, so we want to do what we can to save as much as possible. Long distance is charged by the minute. Telephone companies tend to offer other ways to pay for international calls. Some other ways around this are calling plans or pre-paid cards. Just research the difference in rates and find a plan best for you.

Calling Plans

This is a monthly agreement between your phone company and you that fixes a lower rate to dial out of the country for a monthly fee. This can benefit you only depending on your calling habits. If you dial out of the country quite often, this may be the best feature.

Pre-Paid Cards

You can find pre-paid cards almost anywhere, they are at grocery stores, convince stores, anywhere you are checking out items. Pre-paid cards are a service where you pay a set amount for call time. They come in denominations from five to fifty dollars.

When you make a phone call, you will dial the card 1-800 number and insert a PIN that was on the back of the card. You then proceed to dial the number like you would direct dialing.

Be sure when picking a card, that it allows international calls. Some cards have different rates than others. Sometimes they have hidden rates and charge a set fee per call that will eat away the amount on the call. They also can expire after a set amount of time.

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