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How did people communicate overseas in the 1990s?

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Communication certainly has changed a lot since the 1990s. Before the widespread use of cell phones with free long-distance calling apps, it was more complicated and expensive to make overseas calls. Today, numerous satellites orbit the planet, which work well to relay calls from one side of the globe to the other. In the 1990s, most calls went through a complex series of optical fiber cables that crossed the ocean. Some satellites were in use for overseas calls, but using these required special phones and were very expensive to use.

The most common way to make an overseas call in the 1990s involved using an international calling card. These were little plastic cards with a preloaded amount of credit on them. A user would call a toll-free number which could then connect them to the number that they wished to reach overseas. Depending on the amount of credit on the card, the caller would have a certain amount of time to be on the phone. Once the credit ran out, they would need to go to a store and buy more credit.

An alternative to calling cards was to make an international collect call. This would require the recipient to accept the (usually hefty) fees of the call, which would show up on their next phone bill.

Of course, one method of overseas communication used in the 1990s still exists in much the same form today—sending a letter or postcard in the mail.

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