Communications: Beating The Spread

Beating The Spread

A 10-minute call from Rome to New York City costs $32.30; New York to Rome is only $8.91. Using a patented call-back-conferencing mechanism he describes as "telephone arbitrage," Howard Jonas can make the price spread between foreign utility monopolies and deregulated American phone companies work to your advantage. His company, International Discount Telecommunications, bills intercontinental calls originating abroad at cost: American rates, which are 38% to 82% below foreign charges. I.D.T. profits from a $250-a-month customer fee. In the year since Jonas, 35, started, he has signed up more than 150 international companies. Angry foreign phone monopolies are fighting back with...

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