International Rates Telecard: INTL Rates

ANGOLA__________2.7377_COMORROS_______6.1923_GUINEA BISSAU___3.9986
ANTARTICA_______2.3923_COOK ISLAND____5.9505_GUYANA__________2.6347
ANTIGUA_________1.3214_COSTA RICA_____1.2177_HAITI___________1.0105
ARMENIA_________1.8741_CUBA___________1.0623_HONG KONG_______0.7514
ASCENCION ISL___2.7895_CYPRUS_________1.7359_ICELAND_________1.5286
AUSTRALIA_______0.4577_CZECH REP______1.6323_IMMARSAT ATL E__11.171
AUSTRIA_________1.2350_DENMARK________1.2177_IMMARSAT ATL W__11.171
AZERBAIJAN______1.8741_DIEGO GARCIA___3.5841_IMMARSAT IND O__11.171
BAHAMAS_________0.5095_DJIBBOUTI______2.8586_IMMARSAT PAC O__11.171
BELARUS_________1.8741_EL SALVADOR____1.2005_IRELAND_________1.0277
BELGIUM_________1.1486_EQUATORIAL GUIN5.0350_ISRAEL__________1.1314
BENIN___________1.7359_ESTONIA________1.8741_IVORY COAST_____2.7032
BHUTAN__________4.1541_FAEROE ISLAND__1.2695_JAPAN___________0.6650
BOLIVIA_________1.7014_FALKLAND ISLAND4.4477_JORDAN__________1.6495
BOSNIA__________2.1332_FIJI ISLANDS___2.3232_KAZAKHSTAN______1.8741
BRIT.VIRG.ISL___0.9068_FRENCH ANTILLES1.0623_KUWAIT__________1.7186
BRUNEI__________2.3750_FRENCH GUIANA__2.3923_KYRGYZSTAN______1.8741
BULGARIA________1.4941_FRENCH POLYNESI2.3405_LAOS____________4.4995
BURKINA FASO____1.3041_GABON__________1.6668_LATVIA__________1.8741
CANARY ISLDS____1.2523_GHANA__________1.8914_LIBYA___________2.8932
CAYMAN ISL______0.8895_GREECE_________1.3732_LITHUANIA_______2.0123
CENTRAL AFRICA__5.8123_GREENLAND______1.3905_LUXEMBURG_______1.3041
MACAO___________2.4614_NETHERLANDS____0.7859_SRI LANKA_______2.3405
MACEDONIA_______2.1332_NEVIS__________0.9586_ST. HELENA______4.0505
MADAGASCAR______4.8105_NEW CALEDONIA__2.4959_ST.KITTS________0.9069
MADERA__________1.3386_NEW ZEALAND____2.0123_ST.LUCIA________0.9068
MALI REPUBLIC___3.4459_NIVE ISLAND____5.0523_SURINAME________2.2023
MALTA___________2.0123_NORFOLK IS_____2.3923_SWAZILAND_______2.7895
MARIANA ISL_____1.2868_NORWAY_________0.8723_SWEDEN__________0.8032
MARSHALL IS_____3.0141_OMAN___________1.8741_SWITZERLAND_____0.8895
MAYOTTE ISL_____6.1923_PAUPAU NEW GUI_2.1332_TANZANIA________1.9777
MEXICO BAND 1___0.5484_PERU___________1.3559_TOGO____________2.3750
MEXICO BAND 2___0.6007_PHILLIPINES____1.0105_TONGO___________2.3405
MEXICO BAND 3___0.8441_POLAND_________1.4423_TRINIDAD________1.0795
MEXICO BAND 4___0.9137_PORTUGAL_______1.3386_TUNISIA_________1.9950
MEXICO BAND 5___0.9137_PUERTO RICO____0.1900_TURKEY__________1.7532
MEXICO BAND 6___0.9137_QATAR__________2.0986_TURKMENISTAN____1.8741
MEXICO BAND 7___0.9137_REUNION IS_____3.4805_TURKS & CAICOS__0.8895
MEXICO BAND 8___0.9137_ROMANIA________1.3041_TUVALA__________5.7950
MOLDOVA_________2.0123_SOUTH KOREA____1.4595_UNITED KINGDOM__0.3541
MONTSERRAT______0.8895_SAN MARINO_____1.1314_VANUATU_________6.0023
MOROCCO_________2.4959_SAO TOME_______3.6014_VATICAN CITY____1.1314
MOZAMBIQUE______3.1005_SAUDI ARABIA___1.2005_VENEZUELA_______0.9414
MYANMAR_________4.5686_SENEGAL REPB___2.0986_VIETNAM_________1.3214
NORTH KOREA_____1.8741_SEYCHELLES_____3.1523_WALLIS & FUTUNA_5.0177
NAKHODKA________1.8741_SINGAPORE______1.0795_WESTERN SAMOA___1.6323
NAMIBIA_________2.3059_SLOVAKIA_______1.6323_YEMAN PEOPLES___2.6168
NAURU___________2.4786_SOLOMON ISL____2.9795_YEMEN ARAB REP__1.7186
NETH. ANTILLE___0.8032_SOUTH AFRICA___1.3041_ZAIRE___________2.5477

First Pre-Paid Phone cards

In 1976, the first electronic pre-paid phone card was introduced by the Italian national phone company SIP. The introduction of the phone card was brought about by an extreme shortage of coins in the country which led to a rash of payphone thefts. The italian phone card used a magnetic strip, similar to those found on credit cards, and required the use of a payphone specially equipped with a magnetic card reader. the first of these specially equipped phones appeared in the Rome are, but soon spread to outlying areas as Italians adopted the pre-paid phone card in lieu of the scrace coins. Similar phone cards appeared in neighboring nations in the ensuing years, and enjoyed modest popularity throughout the European continent.

In 1982 Japan's Nippon Telephone and telegraph introduced the first Japanese pre-paid phone card to make calling more convenient for the tens of thousands of daily subway raiders in Osaka and Tokyo. Like its European counterparts, the Japanese pre-paid cards relied on a magnetic strip and specially equipped telephones. Nonetheless, Japanese consumers quickly snapped them up, preferring the convenient cards to the clunky 500 yen coin.

Prepaid Phone Cards Come to the U.S.

In 1990 New Yorks RBOC, Nynex released the first pre-paid calling card that used PIN autghorization instead of the magnetic strip popular so long ago in Europe and Asia. Nynex;s card permitted the card holder to dial an 800 number and enter his his PIN to make long distance phone calls. This method permitted to make phone calls from any telephone anywhere in the U.S. without the need for coins or incurring hotel surcharges, encountering call-blocked numbers, or any of the other additional items routinely tacked on to public phones. By 1992 all of the major regional and long distance phone companies, as well as a number of the smaller carriers had entered the pre-paid phone card fray. Industry-wide revenues reached $12 million with projections calling for double that over the next several years. Industry projections turned out to be far lower than the market's actual growth , however. Phone card sales exceeded $25 million in 1993 and $250 million in 1994. By 1995 the market had ballooned to $650 million , and conservative estimates now place phone card revenues at $1 billion in 1996, and $2 billion in 1997.

Much of the credit for the pre-paid phone card's stellar growth has to do with the near limtless demand for telecommunications services. Pre-paid phone cards tend to offer cionsiderably lower long distance rates than phone services such as coin, cellular and collect calling. Additionally pre-paid card rates remain the same no matter what time or day the call is placed. However, the greatest reason for the pre-paid industry's metoric rise has to do with the way the cards reach the public. When pre-paid cards were introduced in the U.s> in the early 90's the large phone companies used the traditional channel to market their cards to their customer base. However, perhaps out of fear of cannibalizing their profitable and protected markets, these companies sold the cards only half-heartedly and with limited success.

It was the small telecommunications companies, such as New Media Telecommunications of La Jolla, calif. that first recognized the broader appeal of the pre-paid and moved to take the product to markets that the big phone companies had never dreamed of. Coupling the pre-paid card's relative low cost and its ability to act as a pocket-sized billboard, innovative telecom companies began marketing the cards as promotional items, as premiums or incentives, as collector's items and tourists souvenirs, and as retail products like gum, film and razors.

New Media Telecommunications, as well as some of the other more advanced pre-paid card providers have also made in-roiads in non-profit industries. A number of non- profit organizations now offer pre-paid phone cards as fund-raising incentives with a double payback. Fund-raisers first use the card as an incentive for donations. Later, every time one of their pre-paid card holders makes a call with their card, the non-profit organization receives a portion of the proceeds.

What the Future Holds

the combined reach of the new markets has expanded distribution of the cards from a few hundred thousand in 1992 to over 70 million in 1995, and the cards are now sold through virtually every conceivable channel, from convenience stores to vending machines. Still, only one in five people in the U.S. is even aware of the pre-paid phone card. However, as market awareness builds, experts predict more than half a billion pre-paid cards will be in circulation by 1997. Additionally by the end of the decade the pre-paid card will almost certainly replace collect calling and coin pay phones as the preferred method of placing calls away from home or office.

Finally, with the mew environment created by the Telecommunications ACT of 1996, expect pre-paid phone cards to offer a plethora of new services in addition to traditional telephone calls. Pre-paid internet and worl-wide web accounts, cellular service, international callback, and a variety of audio, text and digital information and entretainment services will all be within reach of pre-paid phone card holders within the next few years.

Given the low market awareness and the competitive, highly-charged environment of the pre-paid phone card, industry revenue estimates of $3 billion by the year 2000 seem extremely conservative. If history serves as an accurate guide, revenues of $10 billion or more by the turn of the century are not inconceivable.And it's the nimblest and most innovative of the small telecommunications providers who stand to reap the lion's share of those profits.

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