Luis wrote a great article about Raketu earlier, which in the spirit of the web made me want to share info about superior alternative provider of cheap international calling. I tried Raketu several months ago, and didn’t find the billing accuracy nor call quality up to par. My wife calls her family in Brazil often, so I’m always on the look out for cheap calling to Brazil, or Germany, Canada, or Hungary for me. I found Rebtel, a Swedish venture also funded from groups in Britain and Poland. Rebtel does something I found pretty unique: a local number in your area for each of your contacts. Just dial the local number, and you get directly routed to your contact in… wherever! When created this local number is e-mailed/SMSed to you so you can immediately add it to your Contacts.
As they call it “here’s the really cleaver bit!” For some countries referred to as the 50 “Rebtel Countries” you can talk for FREE by calling your contact, staying on the line while they hang up and call you back on the caller ID number displayed on their phone. Rebel knows you’re still on the line, and connects the two of you back up, and now you’re both dialed into “local” numbers, and the call is FREE. I’ve tried this and it works. To be fair, some countries don’t have a lot of local numbers, so it depends on domestic long distance charges to that number. If you live in a major city anywhere you should be good.
I have found the customer service, and billing accuracy top notch! What really got me about other providers was the little cheating here and there on the pennies, but that can add up. Also don’t worry about running out of minutes, because you can setup your account for automatic $10 top-ups, for which you receive a an instant receipt e-mailed to you. Top-ups can occur during the phone call, do you are never disconnected.
BlackBerry: Where would we be without mentioning our beloved? On the BlackBerry (or lesser phone) just take your browser to m.rebtel.com/myrebtel.aspx and see all your Rebtel Contacts. Click the links to call directly. Need to add a new contact on the go? Do it here as well! No word yet on a BlackBerry app from Rebtel.
Importantly, when you just want to call a foreign number once, such as to confirm a hotel reservation, just “double dial” which is “Rebtel speak” for calling your local Rebtel number, enter your registered phone number and PIN, then select “Double Dial.” You dial the foreign number directly, which frees you and Rebtel from having to create a local number for every foreign number you want to call.
Once registered, you can invite friends/family for Rebtel credit. If you’d like to be kind enough to list me as referring you, let me know, but no obligation to do so!!
Conclusion: I used to pay $0.055 for terrible service to Brazil with Dial55.com, and now I pay $0.015 to Brazil (73% savings) for amazing, friendly, convenient service.