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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

October 11, 2001

News Media Contacts:
CIB: Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0511
e-mail: rkimball@fcc.gov
IB: Linda Haller at (202) 418-1408
e-mail: lhaller@fcc.gov

Consumer Brochure, Now in 13 Languages, Explains Consumer Options for Saving Money on International Long Distance Phone Calls

Washington, DC - At today's meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Consumer Information Bureau and the International Bureau presented a report to the Commission highlighting the wide range of prices American consumers can pay for the same international long distance call. The report presented options for consumers to save money on these calls. The bureaus announced release of their International Long Distance Calling brochure in twelve languages in addition to English. The English language version has been available since August 31.

In addition to English, the brochure is now available in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. These languages were identified as being among those used by the largest non-English speaking populations making international long distance calls from this country.

Generally, long distance calls are billed by the minute. If consumers have made no advance arrangements with their phone company to participate in a calling plan, and they just pick up their phone and place an international call, they will be paying basic (non-discounted) rates. In addition to offering basic rates, telephone companies offer a variety of other ways to charge international calls. Calling plans, dial-around, pre-paid cards, and callback services often offer rates that are much lower than a company's basic rates. The brochure explains in detail all these options.

Although rates vary from company to company, here are sample costs for calls to France from the U.S. at basic and discounted rates:

Basic Rate Calling Plan Dial-Around
$1.99 per minute $0.17 per minute
($3.00 monthly fee)
$0.22 per minute
(Plus $0.10 connection fee)

The FCC advises consumers that, when they are choosing a method for making these calls, they think about their individual calling patterns and take into consideration different day/night rates; weekend/weekday rates; number of calls each month; minimum call lengths; monthly fees and connection fees.

Unless people participate in a discount calling plan, just picking up their phones and placing international long distance calls can be expensive. The spread between basic rates and a discount calling plan is so great that even one, relatively short, call per month can be cheaper on a calling plan.

It is more important than ever that consumers shop around and compare prices for plans, dial-arounds, pre-paid calling cards and callbacks. Consumers should know and understand their calling patterns and make an informed choice when placing international calls.

To obtain a copy of the brochure in any of the 13 available languages and to get any other information on international long distance calling contact the FCC's Consumer Center at 1-888- CALL-FCC [1-888-225-5322 (Voice)] or 1-888-TELL-FCC [1-888-835-5322 (TTY)]; or e-mail us at fccinfo@fcc.gov. The International Long Distance Calling Brochure can be downloaded from CIB's website at the addresses noted below.

Arabic: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/arabic/hello_arabic.pdf
English: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/consumerfacts/hello.html
French: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/french/hello_french.html
German: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/german/hello_german.html
Hebrew: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/hebrew/hello_hebrew.pdf
Hindi: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/hindi/hello_hindi.pdf
Japanese: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/japan/hello_japan.pdf
Korean: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/korea/hello_korea.pdf
Russian: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/russia/hello_russian.pdf
Simplified Chinese: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/china/hello_china.pdf
Spanish: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/spanish/hello_spanish.html
Tagalog: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/tagalog/hello_tagalog.html
Vietnamese: http://www.fcc.gov/cib/language/vietnam/hello_vietnam.pdf

- FCC -

Consumer Information Bureau contacts: Dan Rumelt at (202) 418-7512.
International Bureau contact: Mark Uretsky at (202) 418-1409.