Canada is a globalized country. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Canadians have relatives or friends living overseas. That could mean a sister in New York City or a former classmate in Tokyo, and keeping in touch is a necessity, even if it’s not always easy.
If you don’t have a long distance calling plan but are thinking about signing up for one, ask these questions:
Do you have a relative living outside Canada?
Keeping up with mom in Pakistan or your cousin in Taiwan is important. And face it, trying to maintain close contact via email or instant messaging services really doesn’t work. Signing up for a long distance plan or purchasing a phone card is well worth the cost, especially during busy times of year like the holidays. Best of all, you can hunt around for a plan that gives you more low-cost (or free) minutes on weekends.
Are you making business calls from Canada?
Business interests provide another clear reason to get a long-distance calling plan. Keeping contact with employees, suppliers, clients, and potential partners overseas requires near-constant availability and the ability to dial up anyone on a moment’s notice.
Long distance calling plans and phone cards usually charge higher per-minute rates for calls made during daytime hours (which may not affect you if most of your business partners are located halfway across the world). In either case, reliable access to long distance services is an absolute necessity.
Do your relatives live in a country with low internet quality?
These days, there are a range of apps like Skype, Hangouts, and Facebook that allow you to make calls nearly free of charge. The downside is that these services depend 100% on both you and the voice on the other end being online at the same time. Even when connected, a weak or unstable connection can quickly torpedo a call.
This is a problem if your relatives live in a location where reliable, high-speed internet is more of a luxury than a staple. Plus, web apps aren’t easy to use for the less tech-savvy among us. A true long distance calling plan is worth it, especially considering that nights and weekends have lower per-minute rates and are sometimes free altogether.
Are you in a long distance relationship?
Maintaining a romantic relationship with someone living in a foreign country is difficult. When you need to talk to your girlfriend in Italy or your fiancée in Sweden you need to do it, no ifs, ands, or buts. At minimum, you should purchase long distance calling cards so you can keep in touch at least a few nights per week and on weekends.
This also goes for those times when your husband, wife, fiancée or boyfriend is temporarily out of the country on business. Knowing you can pick up the phone and hear your loved one’s voice at that exact moment makes all the difference.