Overseas Phone Calls Get Cheaper

International Wireless Rates Are Finally Starting to Fall; Six Cents a Minute to the U.K.

By SARMAD ALI Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL August 30, 2005; Page D1

The last shoe is about to drop in the telephone price wars.

Rates for most land-line and cellphone calls have been falling for years. A smart consumer can, for example, make overseas calls from a home phone now for essentially local rates, or even less. International cellphone calls have been a big exception, however, with overseas wireless rates remaining stubbornly high over the years.

Finally, that is changing, too.

Some of the big cellular providers, including Cingular Wireless -- a joint venture between San Antonio-based SBC Communications Inc. and Atlanta's BellSouth Corp. -- and Nextel Communications Inc., have started heavily discounting their international rates. In some cases, it is now cheaper to call overseas on a cellphone than a land line.

This latest development is part of a rapidly changing landscape that includes a wide range of discount options for international calling, such as prepaid cards and Internet calling, known as voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, where a regular phone is adapted to use a high-speed Internet connection.

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