Nowadays, almost everyone has Internet on our mobile phone, almost everyone around you uses WhatsApp and can contact you with a data rate to tell you that they need to talk to you. There are WiFi calls, for example, with which we can call from any wireless network … And all are facilities so that collect calls have become obsolete or many operators have eliminated them from the services they offer. But we remember what they are, how we can do it or what the main operators offer to call when we have no balance or we want another to pay.
It is unusual to use these collect calls at current rates in which unlimited minutes are usually offered at a low price or data packages that allow us to “notify” or ask for WhatsApp. But the possibility of doing so still exists.
What is it?
Maybe if you are young you have never heard it or you do not know what this expression means or how it works. Calling collect, as its name suggests, allows us to make a call and the other person assumes the cost of it. Generally when we make a call to someone from landline or mobile, we are the ones who pay the call establishment and the price per minute, but if you call collect, the person who receives the call will be responsible for the price.
What happen? That if everyone called collect without authorization we would end up filling our bill with conversations with people we do not know, who play a joke or who want to annoy us. That is why in order to receive one and “accept” the payment it implies, we must confirm that we want to receive it. Before picking up the call, the person who receives it (and who will take care of the payment) will know the conditions of the call.
To make a collect call from Spain there are several options. There are two different prefixes that we must dial before entering the nine digits of the telephone that we are going to dial, be it landline or mobile. Once you call, it will be as usual and it will sound as usual although you will hear a voice-over that will indicate the details of the call. When the receiver goes off-hook, he also hears this announcement explaining that he is going to receive a collect call and whether or not he wants to accept it. If he accepts, it will be like always: you can talk as much as you need and that’s it.
The prefixes in Spain to call collect are two different depending on whether you want to contact a landline or a mobile phone. Generally they are the ones that we explain below but we must look and ask our company since there is usually one specific for each operator. We dial the prefix, dial the number and press the call key to start the process.
- To call a landline, dial 1409 before the number
- To call a mobile, dial 210 before the number
Limitations and operators
So far everything is simple but we must bear in mind that there are limitations and that each operator offers different conditions. Calling collect collect only makes sense from a mobile phone today if you are a prepaid user and you do not have a balance. Normally we have contracted minutes or even unlimited minutes in the vast majority of rates, so this is not necessary or important. For credit customers or prepaid cards, each operator has a different service and conditions and the concept of “collect call” varies from one to another.
There are two options: that your operator does not offer collect calls or that it allows them in prepaid rates with another name such as “Call me I have no balance”, for example.
In Orange there is no reverse charge service, but prepaid customers can use the “Call me I have no balance” service as long as you have to call and do not have money on the card. What allows us is not to make a call that we need but for the other person to pay but to send a free SMS to ask them to call us. It is not an SMS that you can put whatever you want but a predefined SMS to tell you that if, please, it can contact you. There are limits per month and the other person will decide whether or not they want to call you or you can even “risk” not seeing the message until much later, so it is not the same as receiving a call and choosing to pick it up or not.
We can send up to ten predefined SMS with the message “Call me at the number XXXX I have no balance.” To send them, what we must do is type * 111 # in the mobile phone app and press the call key. Once we are on the call, we write the number four and accept. But there are limits.
The service is free within Spain and the other person will decide whether to call you or not. But you must have a maximum of one euro of balance to be able to enjoy it. If the balance is less than one euro, you can send up to ten predefined SMS like these so that they can contact you. If not, an alternative option for prepaid customers is to request a balance advance.
At Vodafone, collect calls are limited to prepaid card users to contact other prepaid or unpaid contract customers. It is available for prepaid customers without applied restrictions and rates calls regardless of the rate you have contracted: the cost is 0.182 VAT included in the case of calls from national territory or 0.569 from abroad with VAT included and with an additional charge per minute according to the roaming zone.
It is activated automatically when we dial a specific code. As explained from the operator’s help website, we have several options:
- We dial the prefix 110 and the number + call key
- We dial the short code * 110 # and the number + send key
In the two options we will make the call and from Vodafone they explain that the service has automatic detection when you have little balance so it is activated automatically when the call is established. Of course, it is canceled if you activate restrictions on outgoing and incoming calls in the settings of your line.
Movistar does not offer reverse charging for calls, as they explain from their help page . But it does have the “They want to talk to you” service for prepaid card users. If you run out of balance and try to call or send an SMS to a Movistar user, a message is automatically generated so that person knows that you want to contact them, that you are trying but cannot. This way they will call you back as soon as possible and you can talk to that person.
There are limits: the maximum number of notifications sent per day is five and the main problem is that it will only work with other Movistar clients. The advantage is that it is a service that is activated automatically when your balance runs out, so we do not have to learn any specific code or enable anything.
The SM S that will reach that person will include the following information: number from which you tried to call, date and time of the attempted call or SMS, if the attempt was made through a phone call or text message .