best service for landline long distance USA to Europe

I’m a dinosaur that still uses a landline to call people.
I have AT&T for local calls. I have MCI for my calls to Europe. This was set up years ago and I’ve always been too lazy to change it.
This morning I decided to finally look into it and see if I should switch to AT&T for my Europe calls also, so I only have one landline phone bill to pay every month. But I don’t want to pay more for my phone calls than I do now.

I went to check the AT&T website, and they have many different plans, but they don’t say what the cost per minute is for each of these plans! :mad:

Here is my usage: talk to my dad and my brother once a week. Sometimes they call me, sometimes I call them. My typical usage is 3 or 4 20-minute phone calls to Switzerland per month.

My brother uses Google phone sometimes and I don’t like the quality, I have problems understanding him. I haven’t had great experiences with any of these voice-calls-over-the-internet services.

What is the best copnay to use when calling Europe from the USA using a landline?

I don’t know, but if you have any kind of broad-band internet service, I suggest you try out Skype. It’s free and fairly easy to use. I used it a lot calling my family in the UK from the Netherlands and it worked reasonably well ~ some occasional hiccups that were cured by reconnecting, but overall decent audio quality (and video if you want it).

Try checking out plans via PhoneDog, for example this. Start with the Research hyperlink in the green bar at top, and then choose International, or Home Long Distance.

I have Skype, but my dad doesn’t like to use it (he is old and set in his ways), and sometimes I call him when he’s not near a computer. For my brother, we use Skype mostly, but even then, I usually have to call him ahead of time and ask him to get on Skype, and depending on what we have to say to each other, it’s faster to just say over the phone rather than hanging up, turning on the computer, and starting up Skype.

ratatoskK, thanks for the tip, I’ll go to that site tonight and compare.

You indicated that you didn’t have good experiences with VOIP, so maybe this isn’t for you, but I have had good experiences with Vonage. Their World plan (unlimited local and international to 60 countries is included) costs about $25 a month and includes Switzerland. I use it to call South Africa and the UK for no additional cost.

Did you check out the calling plans for your current internet provider’s Digital Home Phone packages?

My parents switched to digital phone with Time Warner and they do end up saving a few bucks per month over their previous land line, with a lot more features than their landline.

Time Warner is in SoCal.

They didn’t get any special calling rates, but when the family made a call to Germany last fall for about an hour, the total charge was incredibly cheap.

We use Vonage for work and there are few complaints.

Right now I have DSL. I went to Time Warner’s page this morning to check out Cable internet instead of DSL. They mentioned several plans (fast, faster, fastest, faster than fastest) but, surprise! surprise! - no prices mentioned for any of those plans. :mad: :mad: I guess I have to buy it as part of some cable package. Did they ever think that I might want internet access without cable TV?

Driver8, how does the Vonage thing work? Do I have to be sitting at the computer to make a call? Or can I just grab my usual phone, dial my father’s number the way I do now, and talk to him?

You can use your normal phone. You do have to have some sort of home network, and you’ll get a Vonage device that plugs into it. You plug a regular phone, the same one you’d use for a regular land line, into the back of the Vonage box.

Setup is really easy - I signed up online, the box arrived, and it was as simple as plugging it in and it worked. You can adjust all the various features (forwarding, voice mail, etc) on their website.

Obviously the downside is that it is only as reliable as your internet connection. That isn’t an issue for me, since mostly my connection is good and this isn’t my primary phone, but it may be an issue for you if you have a different experience with your ISP (lord knows I have in the past).

I use an international phone card that I bought at Dollar General Store. I can call England for 5 cents a minute. I’ve never had any problems with it.

I have Vonage and I love it. Of course, I don’t call to Europe, but I would definitely check it out. Setting it up really was very very simple. Their instructions are very user friendly, the Vonage box is very user friendly. I had one problem one morning because my internet was down, so no phone service. The only other thing I notice is that it takes a few seconds for my calls to “connect”. I use a cordless regular phone, same as when I had phone service via Cox Cable. Biggest selling point for me is that Vonage dropped my monthly phone bill from $35-ish to $14.

Also, I’ve never noticed any problem with sound quality, but again my long distance is all intra-USA.

We’ve been making calls to Europe for 2+ years on the same initial $25 payment to a account. It’s the cheapest thing for us; we don’t make a lot of international calls, and it’s something like $0.025/minute to much of Western Europe, including Switzerland. You can also set up your cell phone (or any other phone - I had my work phone set up that way at one point when I needed to make personal overseas calls from work) on the same account if you want, which I’ve done; it’s handy for those occasions when I’ve wanted to call someone overseas, but am not at home. You call a local access number and then follow the prompts to dial your overseas number.

If you’re willing to dial extra digits (or have your phone dial them), use a dial-around service such as 1010-432. Find USA-CH rates here. Different comparison here.

Calling cards worked well for me:

I liked this service.