Thursday, July 26, 2007

The eBoyscout is always prepared

Here's one vital survival tool for the rational paranoid, even those of us who have taken our personal communication wireless - the humble and ever present pre-paid phone card.

Yes, this is an advertisement. But I stand by it.

Like most cel customers, I get a great deal on calls to the US and Canada - after seven PM. On my plan, it's free. But what if it's NOT after seven pm? SO not free! Therein lies the rub - and the same issue arises for people using landlines. In an increasingly global culture, you simply cannot expect the people you need to suddenly call to be in a convenient time-zone.

But the real issue for the rational paranoid is - what if the battery goes dead? What if there's no service, or worse yet, I'm roaming? It's time to find a pay phone - oops, no freaking change! With debit cards, who the hell carries change? A pre-paid phone card in your wallet is more than just convenience, it's instant peace of mind. And with Pingo, you will get up to four hours of international calls free, just for signing up.

That's a lot of "Help! Send Money," or "come get me" calls.

That's why everyone who leaves the house at all needs a phone card. You, your kid, your spouse and your babysitter.

You would like to know if your babysitter is suddenly deported, right? I kid, I kid.

As far as I know, must cell contracts do not include free international roaming, and on a land line, even the next county can be a long distance call. At their rates. Pingo gets around this by offering both toll-free access numbers and a huge list of local numbers, world wide.

But. And there IS a but. Pingo is a virtual calling card. I'm not sure they even send you a printed reference card.

Yes, you can use your virtual card it just as you would an ordinary convenience store card, but it's advantage is that their technology allows you to attach it to one or more pre-approved phones, so in most cases where you would want to save on long distance, you never have to fish it out of your wallet and punch in access codes.

Having to dig for that card kinda sucks the spontaneous fun out of calling your Grams, eh? But you still get all the advantages of an actual phone card, including your right to punch in ten and twelve digit numbers.

It's all administered through the web, using credit, debit or PayPal to recharge your card automatically as needed. There are a host of other powerful tools that make it a very attractive choice for small businesses who need to communicate worldwide. It gives you the sorts of deals and administration options I imagine big corporations enjoy. All in all, it's a damn attractive service.

If you are wanting a card in your wallet that leaves no paper trail - sorry, this isn't that solution. Spies, smugglers and anyone else "flying under the radar" will need to continue using the ordinary, rather limited pre-paid cards, along with the ordinary, rather limited pre-paid cell phones.

But a virtual phone card attached to your cel number will solve the whole issue of making that emergency long distance call easy and affordable at any time of day or night and you won't need to worry about a shocking bill. Because it attaches to your pone, and you can pre-program numbers, you hardly need to think about it. All your long distance calling is budgeted and bought at discount rates.

But Wait! There's More!

Let's say you went over to China to do some business or just take a tour, and there was this guide that you wanted to call you to let you know about something you missed out on during your trip. Well, even at Pingo rates, it's kind of unlikely the average Chinese person is going to have a spare thirty-two cents a minute lying about. But, well, you do! You WANT that tip! And you can easily set them up to call you from their home or business phone, on the fly, from your laptop.

It's a fully scalable personal and business long distance solution, and you really should check it out if you need to pick up the phone and make international calls more than, say, once a couple of months. You'll save money, and there won't be any ugly surprises when the bill arrives.

Finally, my fellow bloggers should check out the Pingo Affiliate Program.
I f you have the right sort and right level of traffic, this could be a significant source of revenue.

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