VoIP Basics (5): International Long Distance

VoIP-series-for-webDigital communications allows businesses to cut their phone bills – in large part by reducing long distance charges to nothing or close to nothing. International long distance has not-quite reached the same no-cost, even though the minute-by-minute cost is substantially reduced. Here’s the story behind international long-distance, and why cost varies so much across VoIP providers.


The newbie’s advantage in telephony

All the countries that are just getting the Internet now aren’t “wired” the same way the United States is wired. And they are often better at wireless technology because they never buried phone lines. Their communications were built after the invention of cell towers, which are much less expensive to build. This is one of the fundamental differences in the way signals move around these countries, versus ours.


Gateway to the country’s network: paying the troll’s toll

Each country works differently in the way it regulates its telecommunications, but most have built a gateway into the country, and they charge to give you access to their country’s network. That’s why calls to some countries cost so much more. It all depends on how much the country charges you to enter its network.


How some providers bypass the troll – might get the ax

SIP providers will do the same thing in those countries as SIP providers do in the United States. They will give you access to phone numbers within the target country for a purchase price. And because that London phone number goes to an IP address, and the IP address is in New York, you can bypass those charges. Oh great, you say, so why am I still charged 10 cents a minute for my calls to London?


Here’s why. Those SIP providers are routing the call across the public Internet for roughly 6,000 miles. And call quality can and does suffer.


Come back next week for a full explanation of the dangers of sailing the seas of the public Internet.

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