Location: Gulf Coast/Ventura County/Somewhere in between
Programs: DL GM, Marriott PP, Avis Something or other
Cheapest way to call US from South Korea?
Haven't been to ROK since early 80's, but will be spending about 6 weeks there in April/May for work. I checked with ATT and they want $2.29 a minute for calls from my cell phone there. Are there phone cards or any other means available there to call the US that would be cheaper? I'll use Skype when I can, but my laptop will not always be with me.
"...if heartaches were commercials we'd all be on tv..."
Calling cards are widely available. Here's just one example http://www.talkinkorea.com/mobile-card.php (not a recommendation - just found using Google). Beware of hidden charges with some calling cards, but overall you shouldn't need to pay more than US$0.1/min to call the US (plus whatever you need to pay for your local mobile airtime or fixed line local call to the access number).
Noted that you won't have your notebook with you all the time but on those occasions that you do, you might consider buying a Majicjack before leaving the US. It's a little widget that gives you a VOIP connection via broadband. One end plugs into the USB port, the other is a standard RJ11 connection where you plug in your phone (I presume the softphone will work with the microphone and speakers in your notebook). Why Majicjack? Because the widget is $40 (includes first year of service, second year on $20/year), calls to the US and Canada are free and the sound quality is like calling across the street on a landline. And you have a US number - you can choose an Alabama area code. Your friends can call you when you're on line, and it would be a local call for them.
I use mine from Singapore. But before you buy, be aware there are as many people that hate it as love it. I guess when it works it's great but when it goes bad then customer service is nonexistent. Others have written about this on FT, try searching the threads.
For other times, you can do as christep suggests, use a calling card and call from payphones or other people's phones.
Rate to US from S. Korea using Onesuite calling card service is 13.9 cents/minute (You dial an access number in Korea 00308131593 then punch in your PIN then preifx of 001 and finally the 10 digit US number.
Rate to US using its VoIP service calling from anywhere is just 2.5c/min. Just dialled the 10 digit US number directly.
By your reference to your "cell phone" I'm assuming you don't have an iPhone, because there is a Skype app for the iPhone which works well over a wifi network.
I use an app called Truphone that works better than Skype on an iphone IMHO. I'm in the final stages of a worldwide trip that's taken me to Switzerland, Turkey, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Germany and the cost to call home is $0.02 regardless of point of origin. Low costs available to just about all countries as well, again regardless of your location. This app requires a Wifi signal but that has been available free everywhere I've been. As long as signal strength is solid, call quality has been better than cell and Skype.