International Phone Tips
Review the following tips to improve your international phone correspondence.
∑ Keep the differences in time zones in mind when you call Russia. Usually it is best to coordinate your calls so your lady will be home and ready to talk with you. If it is difficult for you to keep straight what time it is in her city then set an extra clock in your home to her time.
∑ Donít rely on only one way to call. Always have at least two ways to make your call so if one is busy or poor in quality you can call back on another.
∑ Try different prepaid phone cards. Quality can vary depending on time of day you call, where you call from and where you are calling to. Select the card brand that consistently offers you the best connection as well as rate.
∑ Take care to evaluate a prepaid calling card rate based on its connection charge, cost per minute, number of minutes used for rounding and any weekly or monthly maintenance charges. Calls of longer duration (30 minutes or more) can be much more cost effective than calls of short duration if the card has a connection charge.
∑ Consider using one method for short calls and another method for long calls to minimize the cost. For example you can use a dial around service with 6 second billing increments or a calling card like Global Papa without a connection charge to call your lady to make sure she is home and available for a longer call then call back on a prepaid calling card that has a connection charge and low per minute rate for the best overall value. Better yet use a prepaid calling card with a low per minute rate and no connection charge. Your goal is to avoid using a prepaid calling card with a connection charge if you are not certain the duration of the call will be long enough to justify the connection charge.
∑ If you have an established relationship your lady may want to initiate a call to you. Be aware that the cost of her call will be much higher and a significantly larger percentage of her income than yours. She may only be able to place a quick call to you letting you know she would like you to call her back. If you would like to eliminate that expense for her altogether you might be able to provide her with a prepaid calling card for calling you. She may still have to call a major city like Moscow or St. Petersburg to get connected to the international network.
∑ If your lady has access to email and if you have a pager service she may be able to send you short email text messages asking you to call her.
∑ A prepaid calling card is useful if you need to call Russia from a payphone, hotel phone or work phone since you usually access the network by calling a toll free number.
∑ Several prepaid calling cards offer better rates (usually 1 cent/minute savings) if you connect through an access phone number that is not toll free (800, 888). If the access phone number is not in your local calling area then it is not cost effective to pay for a domestic long distance call (5 cents/minute) to save 1 cent/minute. If you have a cell phone plan that offers you free long distance then it may be advantageous for you to use your cell phone to call the long distance access number on your prepaid calling card.
∑ A word of caution if you are calling a lady with a cell phone. Unlike North America, Asia and Western Europe, cell phone use in Russia is not affordable to the majority of the population therefore it is not very common for average citizens. You should be cautious if you are corresponding to a young, attractive lady that is carrying a cell phone as she may not be legitimate. Review the section on Red Flags to protect yourself.
∑ You may experience a long pause after you finish pressing the numbers before the system begins to connect your call. When dialing an international number try pressing the # key after the last digit of the phone number you are dialing. This will send a signal to the phone system that you are finished entering numbers and to proceed to make the connection.
∑ When dialing Russia you may hear two different ringing tones. The first tone will sound familiar like you are dialing a domestic call. After a while you may hear a second tone which sounds different than you are used to. This second tone is an indication that your ladyís phone is actually ringing. Someone will answer the phone if they are at home to do so. If you donít get the second tone and there is no reply this is probably an indication that your domestic phone carrier could not connect to the Russian phone system. You may think that no one is at home to answer your call but in fact their phone never rang. Place your call again immediately or after a short wait. If you are still unsuccessful you will either have to wait for a time when the phone system is not as busy or try calling on one of your other methods such as a different calling card or using a 10-10-XXX service.
∑ The international phone system can only handle so many calls at one time to Russia. You may find that you get a busy signal when you attempt to make your call. This may be an indication that your long distance carrier cannot connect to the international system and not an indication that your lady is at home on the phone. You might hear a recorded message telling you the system is busy and to try again latter. If this is a consistent problem for you then try changing the time of day your place your calls or the long distance service your use to call Russia.
∑ Russia does not have call waiting so if you call and she is on the phone you will hear a different sounding busy signal than you are used to in America.
∑ It is recommended that you schedule your calls with your lady. This way you can be certain she will be at home ready to receive your calls.
∑ Answering machines are not a common device in the average Russian household. Therefore if no one is home the phone will continue to ring.
∑ The typical Russian family lives in a small apartment so it is unlikely that someone will be at home and not hear the phone ring.
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