Here’s some insight to the bottom line of what Free Travel Calling Card is trying to do, our mission if you will.
Below is an excerpt taken from a recent email I had with a tour operator in Dominican Republic. I had asked him to link to our site:
…would love to link, but the fees are very high in comparison to simply buying a SIM Card down here…the average $12.00 card gives you around 40 minutes of talk time back to Canada or the US …they work very well.
Hi – This is exactly why you should put a link up to your site…
Yes, the rates are better if you buy a SIM when you get there AND you have a compatible GSM phone that works with Claro. But for most Canadians and Americans on a plan with locked CDMA phones, that SIM won’t work in their phones. And a phone at the airport in Punta Cana will cost over $100.00 US. If you arrive after hours, which many do, you won’t have a chance to buy that phone because the store is closed. Not only that but the Claro store is in the departure area, not arrival.
As for reps selling at the resorts. This isn’t allowed. You can probably pay someone to go outside and buy but hotels don’t allow phones or SIM’s to be sold in their stores and shops on property. It competes with what they sell.
I know this because we also provide telecom services to the hotels in DR, such as prepaid calling cards and operator service. Many of the all-inclusives charge $3.50 a minute, plus a surcharge to make a call back to the Canada direct dial from the room, and trust me many do it for the convenience alone. A collect (reverse charge call) from your room on our service costs $2.90 per minute plus an 8.50 operator surcharge (USD). These are the charges that our new FTCC website will compete with, not the 1% of savvy travelers who already own an unlocked phone and knows how to buy from Claro, Orange, Viva, etc…
The mission of our site is to educate the 99% of non-savvy travelers about making calls from overseas locations before they travel, and yes buy a phone or a SIM if they need to be reassured that their kid on spring break has a way to call home. Your mission is to educate travelers about the culture and reality of average Dominican life, and yes sell a reality tour along the way. I’m sure there are less expensive tours but I found you on line and booked in advance to be sure I would be able to experience your tour.
So, I think our paths are similar. As we grow our site, we hope to have people like you help us with information, such as the local market info you provided. We’re not saying we’re the cheapest, but compared to some of the other options we’re a steal. And our Free Travel Calling Card is a great “communication insurance policy” as well. Read my latest blog about what happens if you lose your credit card…
Okay, that’s the sales pitch. Let me know your thoughts.