The international calling code of Latvia+371. The currency of Latvia is: Lat (LVL). Latviais in the GMT+02 time zone.
Costs of Calling Latvia from UK or US
Most UK landlines, for example, BT, have access to 0844 numbers. That will connect you to Latvian landlines at about $0.04/min, which is really expensive in the year 2010. Large carriers sell this destination at about $0.01/min – but this is wholesale only.
In the US, various 10-10 dial around programs exist. However, their popularity is declining and they are not as cost-effective as they used to be in the 90s.
Searching for various options online still shows $0.05 per minute to Latvia. That is way too much, let’s look at other options available.
$0.074 per minute fixed numbers, $0.22 mobile numbers. Ouch! This is not economical at all – if you call someone’s mobile in Latvia and talk for an couple of hours, that’s $26.4 already. Do that three times a week and you’re out $316 after one month. That’s good for a London-Riga round-trip on a discount airline.
Calling cards are a very convenient – and controlled – way to make international calls to Latvia; however, there are many possible problems, frequently making calling cards inefficient:
– access numbers may be not local to you in UK/US
– you are often paying for your local call regardless
– confusing terms and small print: calls are charged in 3 and even 5 minute increments
– service fees are deducted from your prepaid balance weekly or daily
– call quality is sometimes below acceptable
One the oldest and most trusted calling cards providers is IDT, a US-based company. They offer a large selection of various calling card products on their website. You can filter out the unwanted options like maintenance fee and 3-minute rounding to find the best rate. Still, search reveals a rather expensive rate of $0.20 per minute to Latvian mobiles. After one month of calling Latvia frequently, you’re still spending what it would cost you to fly down there.
Breakout-based provider to Latvia– cheapest of all – with granular pricing to Riga, LMT, Tele2 and other mobile networks
The problem with all 3 calling options is the lack of granular pricing. Granular pricing, or breakouts, refer to specific destination you are calling. Just like the Moon is not made of green cheese, not all Latvian mobile numbers are properly called simply “Latvia mobile”.
There are LMT, Tele2, Bite and other mobile networks in Latvia, and the correct destination is, for example, “Latvia mobile, Bite” if you are calling a number like +37129XXXXXX. All these different numbers cost differently for your provider to terminate, and long-distance providers simply charge you one averaged out rate – not always the best – for everything. You lose by helping the carrier offset their route costs.
Typically, only large international carriers exchange voice traffic based on breakouts, but several providers now exist that give away this previously unheard of rate principle to the regular home user. For example, Finarea, PTL and DID Logic.com simply take their entire wholesale rate sheet and allow you to use it, making the long distance charges extremely economical. You are still making the call through the same national carriers like BT or Deutsche Telecom, but your rate is significantly lower because you are charged based on the network you are really calling. For example, Latvia Bite mobiles are $0.07/minute at didlogic.com – because they break Latvia down to real, actual mobile networks and charge you accordingly.
Here’s a quick comparison to illustrate the benefits of the breakout pricing for + 3712775XXX in Latvia:
Skype, Vonage and such – charge as just “Latvia mobile”, approx. $0.22
Calling cards – all charge as just “Latvia mobile”, lowest $0.20
DIDlogic.com – breaks down to different networks, $0.07
The cost-saving option is to get a virtual number in Latvia, forward it to UK target number and make international calls at the cost of local call. You can also get a virtual UK or US number and forward it to Latvia.
Are you one of the estimated 20 ,690 Latvian living in the UK and need to make low-cost phone calls to your family? Enjoy calling your friends, family or colleagues in Latvia for longer without worrying about the expense, knowing you are getting the cheapest price per minute and carrier direct quality.
You can also use the webcall feature at didlogic.com for calls while traveling. Webcall to UK is $0.0097 and per-minute rate to Latvia is from $0.02 (fixed, Riga) to $0.07 (mobile).