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If you’ve recently investigated the possibility of using a GO-SIM international SIM card while you travel, you might have come across the phrase “call back”. This is a clever bit of technology that connects your call in a slightly different way to normal, in order to save you money. Essentially, it works a bit like an old-fashioned switchboard exchange.
Telephone exchange
As you’ll know, when you dial a number for a regular call, it is a one-way process moving in one direction, from your phone to the phone of the person you are calling. As the originator of the call, you are the one paying for it. This is fine when you are at home, but if you are abroad, roaming charges come into play and things can get expensive. Wouldn’t it be significantly cheaper if, for example, both parties were receiving a call?

This is what call back does, and it works like this: you dial the number of the person you want to call. Before it is answered, your phone hangs up, and instead of connecting you directly, it hangs up before the connection is made. Then, it calls you back while at the same time calling the number you dialed in the first place.

Callback process chart

It can be a little difficult to get used to. Habit and muscle memory mean that it’s almost instinctive to dial a number and then hold it to your ear, so it’s often a bit of a shock (and a bit loud!) when your phone starts ringing. But as soon as you answer, you’ll hear the ringtone of the number you dialed and your call continues as normal. And while doing things slightly differently can be a bit strange, it’s all in a good cause – saving you money!