Telepassport International Calling

Telepassport International Calling


Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1993 16:14:11 -0500 From: TELECOM Moderator

Telepassport is now available and open for business! Hereinafter in this message I shall refer to it as TP. TP is an international long distance carrier. The idea behind TP is to route international calls all over the world via the United States, allowing callers to access state of the art telecommunications technology, the best line clarity, and the lowest rates in the world.

TP capitalizes on the rate differential between the USA and other countries using a technique known as 're-origination'. The switch takes calls from customers anywhere in the world, reverses the call so it is billed as USA originated, and provides USA dialtone so the customer can complete the connection to any other country in the world.

The cost savings to the customer could be up to fifty percent, depending on a few factors.

For example, a five minute call from Italy to the USA handled and billed by the PTT would cost $11.40. Using TP, the cost for the same call would be $6.84. A five minute call from Brazil to the United Kingdom costs $18.95 through the Brazilian PTT, but only $10.84 using TP.

Legal Status:

============= TP is available in virtually every country in the world as a Value Added Service. Although in some countries the PTT may not welcome the competition, they are bound by international telecommunication treaties to allow us to operate. In addition, TP is required to compensate the PTTs as part of an international settlements process for carrying our calls in and out of their country.

Where telecommunications monopolies are in effect, they specifically prohibit competition by disallowing the installation or use of facilities in the territory controlled by the monopoly. TP requires no installation or equipment of any kind in various countries except the telephone instrument itself. It is an American service and its customers are billed in the United States, with the US Dollar the method of payment.

In the United States, AT&T has raised objections when certain companies it suspected were marketing a callback system filed for FCC authorization to carry international traffic. In their objections they complained that callback systems were illegally using carriers' facilities to signal for the callback and thereby avoiding payment of the tariffed rates for useage.

In fact, the tariffs are specifically set not to charge for uncompleted calls so there is no avoidance of payment. AT&T's own answering machine product, 'The Toll Saver' is designed not to answer a call if there are no messages on the machine, thus signalling such to the caller without him incurring a charge. There are several other examples of security systems, energy devices, etc which use the telephone for signalling without payment. AT&T was requested to respond as to their intentions regards their own products and the technology used by non-telecom related services (security devices, etc) and 'toll avoidance'. AT&T was asked if their stance on this related only to organizations in direct competition with that company.

How to Use Telepassport:

======================== An account is required of all users. TP cannot accept 'casual users' who do not have a specific business relationship with us. This is because of the nature of how the TP switch operates. Accounts are *very easy* to set up, but accounts *are* required, since your telephone number must be authorized to use the service. You need not call from an authorized phone however; if you do so, your call will proceed without further identification or security checks unless you ask us to incorporate this feature. If you (as a subscriber) call from an unauthorized telephone, then an account number and PIN must be entered as part of the session.

Subscribers who are outside the USA: Three methods can be used to access Telepassport -

(A) Automatic Callback when calling from an authorized telephone:

1. Dial your TP access number in the USA (1-212-xxx-xxxx).

2. Let the phone ring once or twice (preferably twice to insure we caught the signal), then hangup.

- You will receive a call within 10-20 seconds -

3. When our call arrives, pick up your receiver, then you will hear, depending on your instructions one of these messages:



"This call is for , please transfer this call to ; if you are press 1 on the keypad."


"Please transfer this call to extension xxx, if this is extension xxx please press 1 on the keypad."

One of these messages (depending on how you have it set up) will play in any of several languages, depending again on the language you have chosen for the computer to use.

4. Press '1' at any time during the message.

- if you are not at your authorized telephone, or if you instructed us to make the PIN mandatory on all calls you will then hear, (in language of choice) "please enter your PIN now."

5. If PIN required, enter it at this time.

- USA dial tone will be extended to you -

6. Dial the number you wish to reach followed by # (country code + city code + number + #) ... for example, to Japan 81 44 954 3951# or to the USA 1 818 956 6936#.

- you will hear a TP tone indicating your call is being processed. -

If you get a busy signal, or the called party does not answer or you get an error message, just press * to get dial tone and make another call if you wish, or hang up. Also when the called party hangs up you may stay on the line and make another call if desired.

If you make an error in dialing, just press *, wait for dial tone and dial your call again. If you get an answering machine or some other device answering the call, maintain silence for five to ten seconds after speaking your message and you will hear dial tone.

(B) Immediate Callback (For use when not at your authorized telephone):

1. Dial the TP toll-free number from your country, or if toll-free is not available in your country dial the direct number in New York (1-212- xxx-xxxx).

Please note if toll-free access to us is not available in your country then you will have to pay PTT charges for this call, however once you connect with us, *immediatly* instruct the computer to make a callback to you. This will limit your exposure to PTT charges to a minute or less.

2. After dialing our toll-free number from your country (or our direct New York number) you will hear the computer respond,

"Telepassport, please enter your account number and PIN".

Enter these numbers and you will hear a spurt of tone followed by dial tone.

3. Either dial your call to completion as per 'automatic callback' -or- preferably to keep your costs down access the Administrative Functions Menu to arrange an immediate callback.

(C) If you choose to continue the call, we refer to this method as 'Direct Access'; if you choose to have us call you back, we refer to it as 'Immediate Callback'.

You use 'Immediate Callback' or 'Direct Access' when you are NOT at an authorized telephone number. When you are at an authorized telephone number you merely call the number we give you, let it ring a couple times and hang up to await our callback.

If you are calling from within the USA:

======================================= 1. Dial the number we assign you to call or the direct access number.

If you are calling from an authorized TP telephone, you will hear 'Telepassport' followed a second or two later by dialtone.

If not, you will hear 'Telepassport, please enter your account number and your PIN'.

After entering this you will hear dialtone.

Regardless of where you are calling from, or how you access TP (that is, by Direct Access or Automatic Callback) when you reach the dialtone you can either place your call or access administrative functions.

To reach administrative functions, press 1# when you get dialtone.

You will hear:

"Press 1 to change your callback number, 2 to access your account balance, 3 to change your callback message, 4 to change your callback message language, 5 for an immediate callback."

Changing your callback number:

Press 1. "Please enter your new callback number." You enter the country code, city code (area code), number, and #.

You will be asked to re-enter it for confirmation. If you do it the same way, fine, if not the computer will keep asking until you get it the same way twice in a row.

We will then use this as the number to reach you for Automatic Callbacks until you change it.

To change it back to your authorized telephone number as per our records, when you are asked to 'enter new callback number' just press #.

The computer will respond, 'your new callback number is '.

Press 2 to hear what credit balance remains in your account.

Press 3 to change the way we speak when we call you back. If the short form 'Telepassport' is sufficient, you can indicate that. If you are in a hotel or at a place where many people answer the phone or we need to be transferred to an extension or room number, you can tell us with choices 1, 2 or 3 how to ask for you:

"This call is for , call to the phone". "Please transfer this call to extension xxx"

If you tell the computer to ask for you at an extension number, the computer will ask you to enter the extension number we are to ask for, followed by #.

Press 4 to change the language we use when making callbacks to you. Press 1 for English; 2 for Spanish; 3 for Mandarin; 4 for Japanese; 5 for German; 6 for French; 7 for Italian; 8 for Portugese; 0 to make additional choices.

Your callback message ('connect this call to ' or 'connect this call to ') will remain in the language chosen until you change it. This is helpful when dealing with telephone operators or hotel clerks, etc in other countries.

Press 5 to get an immediate callback from us. The computer will ask you to enter the number you want us to call you at. This will be the country code, city code and number, followed by #.

After entering this, hangup. We will call you back in 10-20 seconds, at which time you would proceed as with Automatic Callback.

To exit administrative functions menu at any time, press *.

Other features of Telepassport:

============================== Voicemail: callers leave you messages. You retrieve later with your PIN.

Message forwarding: If called party is not available, you can record a message. We will try to deliver it every two hours for four days.

Phone Home: You pay for the calls of relatives and customers, but only on calls they make to you. The best way to describe this is that it is very similiar to the AT&T Easy Reach 700 service.

Toll Free service from USA to other countries: If your country does not offer toll free service (or offers it, but not from international points) then TP will offer this to your customers in the USA. They will dial an 800 number here, and get cut through to your international number (as shown on our records, or to whatever is your 'callback number' at the time).

We also offer speed dialing and restricted calling using four digit codes. You can set it up so that persons calling you dial an 800 number in the USA, then are permitted only to enter a four digit code to reach you. Or you can allow employees to make calls to certain places while not making calls to other places, etc.

Conference calls: dial multiple numbers linking participants from all over the world.

Fax broadcast: send your fax to TP, and we forward to your distribution list.

Above special services and rates discussed on request. Various special applications can be designed.

Billing arrangements: All payments are made either by credit card or electronic funds transfer from your bank to ours. You will receive a very detailed monthly accounting. If you prefer, you may establish a trust fund with the TP business office from which charges will be paid. If you wish, a 'credit limit' will be set for monthly usage to assist you in detecting abuse when usage for the month reaches the agrreed-upon limit. TP does *not* offer open account billing at this time.

---------- RATES FOR CALLS ------------

This is probably the most important part to many of you. A full

schedule of rates would be impractical to list here; there are simply too many countries which can call other countries, etc ... so this sample listing will provide rates *to and from the USA* from other countries, with some comments about calls from other countries to third countries via the USA.

I'll be glad to quote rates between countries on request; just ask for your specific application.

Our rates are composed of three parts. Calls to the USA, and certain other countries where we have agreements in place will only see ONE OR TWO of these components. Calls to third countries via the USA will see either TWO OR THREE of these components.

The components are:

ACCESS CHARGE (a per session charge regardless of how long you are connected through us)

INITIAL CHARGE (a per call charge which applies on many inter- country calls via our switch)

PER MINUTE CHARGE (the cost of the call for each minute you are connected, speaking with someone).

On calls to the USA from other countries, usually the only charge will be the PER MINUTE charge. From some points, the ACCESS charge will also apply. The INITIAL CHARGE will only apply when calling between other countries using the USA as the transit routing. If we had *our way*, only the PER MINUTE rates would apply ... but we must make payments to the PTTs and AT&T for services they render to us, thus the ACCESS CHARGE and INITIAL CHARGE in some instances.

Here are some sample rates to the USA from elsewhere. Where the rates are shown as amount/amount/amount this means standard/discount/economy rates, as per the custom in the country where the call originates. Time of day for the call is always by local time in the country where the call originates. Remember, the ACCESS CHARGE is made one time per session; you can make several calls in succession by pressing the * key between calls. Each callback by us (or direct access to us) counts as one session, or one ACCESS CHARGE.

From (to USA) Access Charge Per Minute

============== ============= ========== Venezuela 51 cents .91/.81/.81

Italy 36 cents $1.09/1.09/.80 Lebanon 86 cents $2.73/2.73/2.73 Mexico None .95/.95/.95 plus .16 INITAL CHARGE per call.

Canada None .39/.39/.39 China $2.12 $1.29/1.29/1.29 Greece 52 cents .91/.91/.91 plus .59 INITIAL CHARGE per call.

Korea Dem. Rep. $1.15 $1.20/1.20/1.20 Japan None .98/.85/.79 Colombia 68 cents $1.05/.94/.94 Taiwan 95 cents $1.04/.99/.99 Argentina 57 cents $1.39/1.19/1.19 CIS (USSR) 91 cents $1.81/1.81/1.81 Brazil 60 cents $1.50/1.30/1.30 Dominican Republic 23 cents .85/.85/.85 France None .89/.67/.60 Germany 28 cents .99/.99/.99 Haiti 31 cents $1.11/1.11/1.11 Israel 31 cents $1.03/.83/.80 United Kingdom None !! Fifty cents per minute always !!

These are just a few examples ...

Now country to country via the USA gets tricky -- you can check out what your local PTT charges for calls, knock off 30-40 percent in almost every case, but add on an INITIAL CHARGE typically in the range of 50 cents to a dollar. The charge for the first minute therefore will be INITIAL CHARGE plus MINUTE.

Now on calls from USA subscribers outbound:

TO: (from a USA origin) First 30 secs. Addl. 6 secs.

======================== ================ =============== Argentina 1.18/1.02/.94 .07/.06/.05

Australia 1.00/1.00/1.00 .06/.06/.06 Germany .69/.67/.63 .06/.06/.05 Israel 1.25/1.25/1.25 .07/.07/.07 Netherlands .59/.43/.43 .06/.06/.06 Hong Kong 1.54/1.27/1.30 .07/.06/.06 Japan .34/.32/.30 .07/.06/.06 United Kingdom 48 cents per minute, all hours! France 58 cents per minute, all hours!

Calls to Australia as an example would cost $1.30 for the first minute and 60 cents per minute thereafter.

Calls to Japan as an example would cost between 60-70 per minute depending on the time of day.

Calls to Hong Kong would cost 60-70 cents per minute after the first minute which is much more expensive. The same is the case in calls to Israel.

I am not privy to all the details as to why calls to some places have higher first minutes; I do know that TP had to negotiate not only with AT&T on outbound calls from the USA but also with various PTTs around the world to meet their requirements and pay them certain fees, etc.

Also, I should point out that USA subscribers calling outbound will pay an additional 9 cents per minute if they access TP via our 800 number for that purpose. If they dial direct to our New York number, they pay the rates shown above. It almost makes better sense (and we recommend) for all callers to whenever possible use our automatic callback from their authorized phone(s) or immediate callback to avoid the extra toll charges while they are calling our switch.

To sign up for Telepassport service, send me email. In the course of our discussion and sign up process, be prepared to supply the VISA/MC or AMEX number you wish to have charges applied to periodically or the bank account you wish to have debited for charges. (But we will be sending you a detailed monthly analysis and billing in any event.)

Other fine print and 'gotcha!' things you should know about:

Anyone is free to sign up. Businesses will be the primary users of Telepassport but individuals making at least $25 per month in international calls are also invited to join the service. In fact, we have a $25 per month minimum fee; you will be charged that minimum fee unless your usage exceeds that amount.

Another 'gotcha!' --

We have both 'system time' and 'connect time'. System time is the time between when you answer our callback and the party you are calling answers the phone. Connect time is the time you are actually speaking with your party.

When your caller disconnects (but you stay on the line to make another call) then the 'system time' clock begins running again. As long as your 'system time' each month is not more than ten percent of the total session time (system plus connect) we waive the charges for system time. If your system time is excessive (i.e. in excess of ten percent of the total amount of time you spend connected to us), then system time is charged at the rate of a call to the United States. There is no system time if the call is on your nickle, i.e. you dial our direct access number and continue straight through. System time is only the time when *we call you back*. And as stated above, provided this is not excessive, we waive that charge.

How can you keep system time from being excessive? For one thing, a call of ten minutes would in effect give you a free minute of system time. When we call you back, be prepared to begin dialing immediatly. Answer our phone calls promptly if we need to have someone call you to the phone, as in a hotel. We offer speed dialing of your common numbers at no extra charge. Most international connections from the USA can be done in seconds if you dial rapidly and remember to put the # terminator on the end of the dialing string.

If you were to spend let's say, two hours per month in actual talking time on international calls, that 120 minutes would give you 12 minutes of system time at no charge -- more than enough to dial your calls, wait for the ringing, change your administrative options, etc. For most users, this will never be a problem ... but I am required to tell you that if you call us and hang on the line doing nothing but wasting our time and money on the callback connection, we charge you for it.

Almost anytime you make a call that lasts two or three minutes or longer your system time will be easily absorbed. And since it accumulates all month, several short calls and one or two longer ones will reach the same result: no system time charges. Remember the ratio is not more than ten percent of the time on call set ups, administrative options, etc.

Welcome to Telepassport! I hope it will provide a low-cost solution to your international calling requirements both to and from the USA. For precise rates, please ask, and certainly on calls between countries where the USA is the switching point ask for rates. I could not begin to list the thousands of actual rates in this message.

-- Patrick Townson

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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