Channel Partners

February 1, 2000

6 Min Read
Prepaid Long Distance

Posted: 03/2000

Prepaid Long Distance

Blackstone, Qwest Team Up To Roll Out Card Program

Prepaid services provider Blackstone Calling Card Inc. ( has teamed
with long-distance provider and international telecom carrier Qwest Communications
International Inc. ( in a
multimillion-dollar partnership for the rollout of Blackstone’s "The Right One"
prepaid calling card program.

Blackstone, which distributes prepaid cards through more than 3,200 distributors
nationwide, uses the Qwest network as the backbone for its program, which provides
state-specific prepaid calling cards. Each set of cards is targeted at a specific state
with competitive international rates for its own set of target countries.

"Consumers in each state have their own set of international long-distance calling
requirements," says Luis Arias, CEO of Blackstone. "We have found, through
experience, that the right card for Florida may, in fact, not be the right card for New
York. ‘The Right One’ caters to the needs of the distributors and retailers in
state-specific regions by offering highly competitive rates."

In addition to calling cards, Blackstone offers an array of prepaid services, including
prepaid wireless, prepaid paging and prepaid Internet services.

Online Greeting Company Now Offers Gift of Gab

GreetingGifts Inc. (, a provider of
interactive personal CD-ROM greetings, announced in mid-January it will add Greets-branded
prepaid calling cards to its Greets products.

The products use advanced patent-pending Internet and CD-ROM technology to offer
consumers a way to share personalized greetings in multimedia form.

Consumers can buy the prepaid calling cards along with Birthday Greets and Valentine’s
Day Greets.

Greets plans to extend its seasonal line to include Mother’s Day, Father’s Day,
Graduation, Everyday and Christmas products. The cards are available in denominations of
$10, $20 and $30 for one, two and three hours of long-distance calling time, respectively.

The cards are affixed to a CD-sized paper carrier and inserted into the Greets gift
packaging. Recipients may recharge the cards at 16 cents per minute by calling +1 800

"The Greets-branded prepaid calling card is just another way Greets enables users
to customize their gift options," says Bill Simpson, GreetingGifts’ CEO.

Prepaid calling card services are provided by Carrier Services Inc. (CSI), a provider
of custom business technology services, including telecommunications, payment processing,
customer service, call center and e-commerce solutions.

"We are delighted to be working with an Internet innovator like
GreetingGifts," says Douglas Fieldhouse, CSI president and CEO. "This is exactly
the type of value-added service that CSI specializes in, and we are excited about the
synergy of our partnership.

Cellular Company Launches Prepaid Subsidiary
By Liz Montalbano

ellular Technical Services Co. Inc. (CTS,
has formed a new subsidiary for designing, marketing and distributing domestic and
international prepaid long-distance cards.

CTS, which provides real-time information processing and management solutions for the
telecom industry, has launched Isis Tele-Communications Inc. ( to tap
into a lucrative prepaid phone card market and to expand its product base, according to
Stephen Katz, CTS chairman and CEO.

"As part of CTS’s overall strategy to provide a wide range of products and
services for the telecommunications industry we … have created Isis to focus on the
expanding prepaid phone market," Katz says.

While Isis’s core business will focus on offering prepaid phone cards, the company
eventually may offer prepaid wireless as part of a developing strategy, according to a
press statement.

Ads Tout Sprint FonPromotions Expanded Portfolio

Sprint Corp. ( unveiled mid-January its newest Sprint FonPromotions
advertising campaign touting the carrier’s expanded portfolio of promotional products,
which combines prepaid phone cards with interactive toll-free solutions, including its two
new products, Sprint WebFoncard and Sprint FonRewards.

"Our new products expand the market for promotional prepaid long distance to new
media and promotional applications," says Brian Daniels, senior market manager for
Sprint FonPromotions. "They allow companies the opportunity to reward their customers

Daniels says the advertising campaign will emphasize Sprint FonPromotion’s
brand-building capabilities and introduce the integrated product portfolio, which includes
five products. In addition to WebFoncard and FonRewards, Sprint offers the
FonBusinessCard, FonInteractive and Prepaid Foncard.

The series of three print ads, created by Valentine-McCormick-Ligibel Inc., Kansas
City, Mo., emphasizes the success of these five Sprint FonPromotions offers. The ads
appeared in promotional and incentive trade publications beginning in January.

HitCom Reports Record Minutes

Canada’s HitCom Corporation (
recorded that its prepaid card services division had a record number of terminated minutes
for December 1999 and for the 12-month period, ending Dec. 31, 1999.

In December, the company terminated 3.3 million minutes, a 175 percent increase over
the 1.2 million minutes terminated in the same month in 1998.

Total terminated minutes for the 12-month period in 1999 was 25.2 million minutes, an
increase of 280 percent over the 6.6 million minutes terminated during the 12-month period
in 1998.

Prepaid Card E-Commerce Site Launches

A new web-based company makes purchasing and using long-distance prepaid phone cards as
easy as the click of a mouse. ( is an Internet-based
prepaid calling card, sales and distribution company that allows consumers to buy and use
cards immediately in real time to make domestic and international long-distance calls.

Customers can choose from a variety of prepaid calling cards as well as residential and
business plans, which, according to the company, allows them to select the card or calling
program that provides them the best value for their money and calling needs.

On the Zaptel site, customers can search for the best rates from destination to
destination, comparing rates and other card features before they decide which cards to
buy. According to the company, the site is secure, which enables transactions and calls to
happen in real time.

After inputting credit card or checking account data, Zaptel issues users an active
personal identification number (PIN) within seconds. Users then may print a virtual phone
card from their computer without waiting for a PIN to be e-mailed at a later time.

According to President Sandy R. Falter this eliminates the use of plastic
cards and makes buying and using prepaid cards more efficient.

"By utilizing real time as a means for distribution, customers are, in essence,
buying a virtual calling card, with no plastic card ever exchanging hands," Falter

RSL PrimeCall Begins Prepaid Cellular

SL PrimeCall Inc., the prepaid card division of RSL Com U.S.A. Inc. (,
has begun to offer prepaid cellular and prepaid cellular calling cards, after reaching an
agreement with TeleData World Service Inc., a national reseller of prepaid cellular

According to RSL COM, RSL PrimeCall’s major prepaid calling card distributors provide
the new service to end users.

Through the deal, RSL COM will be a distributor of prepaid cellular for retail
customers. Customers have a choice of cellular telephones which range in price from $99 to
$149, which includes 10 minutes of local airtime, according to the company. RSL COM also
is selling prepaid cellular airtime cards in units of $30, $50 and $100.

The program offers per-minute airtime prices as low as 29 cents per minute. According
to RSL COM, there is no contract, monthly fee or activation fee for the new prepaid
cellular service. Further, according to the company, RSL COM is providing bi-lingual
customer service in English and Spanish for the new program to meet the needs of its
diverse customer base.

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