Cingular charges $2.
69 - minute from the US to Morocco (that is over $160 for a one hour call!) on their regular plans to a land line and $2.
80 to a Moroccan cell phone.
Using a World Plan can ease your pain (56c & 67c respectively to landlines and cell phone calls) but then you will lose other features such as additional minutes to your rate plan.
Sprint's international rate is 77¢/minute with a monthly charge of $3 for an international plan.
If cell phones are not bad enough, Bell South's landline "Basic Rate" is $4.
67/minute and can go as low as 52¢/minute with select plans.
Other landline carriers are comparable.
So what is one to do? There are a few options to consider when calling overseas to Morocco and each person will find they will have different needs than others therefore there is no one perfect solution.
There are, thankfully, some solutions that make the pain easier.
"World Plans" - as discussed earlier, choosing a world plan is a great way to cut the rates of your calls - in some cases as much as 75% or more.
With the savings of a world plan comes higher domestic rates and at times premiums added to your bill (that should be factored in to find what you are really paying per minute).
VOIP (Voice Over IP) - the best-known VOIP is Vonage, but there are more and more companies everyday that are coming out with VOIP.
VOIP uses your high-speed internet (cable or DSL) and a special router and telephones to make calls instead of using traditional phone lines or cellular service.
Using Vonage and an example, you can call to Morocco for only 25¢/minute.
The downside to VOIP is quality of service and the need for a broadband connection.
Additionally, you will need to purchase special equipment and your choice of telephones is severely limited.
If you are calling FROM Morocco to the United States, you can get a U.
telephone number and pay the base monthly rate ($24.
99/month for unlimited and $14.
99/month for 500 minutes).
Again reception is only as good as the internet connection you have, and in Morocco, internet reception is generally very poor and therefore VOIP is not an option if doing anything more than calling home to family and friends.
Calling Cards - the best known way to call to Morocco (and Morocco to the world) is by use of a calling card.
One purchases a calling card with a specific amount of dollars attached to it (ie.
a $20 calling card) and then like a regular phone in reverse, your money on the calling card goes down for each minute you use the card*.
This is by far the most convenient way to call and the least expensive.
It is also the most convenient.
Unlike VOIP, you can call from anywhere (another person's house, a cell phone, etc...
The calling card comes with a toll-free number to call and a PIN-number** to activate the call.
You dial the 800-number, enter your pin, and then call the number you want to connect.
Although this can seem like a hassle, the 800-number can be programmed into a telephone or cell phone so there is quick access to the number.
Just like traditional calling plans, there is a wide variety of calling cards and all of them have their plusses and minuses.
Most calling cards will carry some type of fee.
These can include: monthly fee, per-use fee, and inactivity fees.
In addition, calling cards round off their minutes differently.
One calling card can have a low per-minute fee but have a connect fee and round their calls to 3 minutes (if you talk for two minutes you are charged for three).
Other cards (often called flat-rate cards or no-fee cards) don't charge any additional fees but have a higher per-minute charge.
Cards typically round to the nearest minute (typical with cell phones and most landline phone companies) but can be as high as three minutes and as low as one second.
A card that has fees but low rates/minute are great for long conversations whereas those who make shorter and more frequent calls may want to opt for a flat-rate phone card.
There is also the issue of what phone card to use.
Again, depending on the country you are calling from and the country you are calling to this is going to vary.