Consumers should be aware that placing an international long distance call from your wireline telephone in the United States to a wireless phone in another country may result in a “surcharge” on your bill in addition to your usual charges.

This can happen because many foreign countries use a “calling party pays” framework. Under a “calling party pays” framework, wireless phone subscribers pay only for the outgoing calls they place to others. The “calling party” must pay for calls placed to wireless phones. As a result, when wireline U.S. customers call foreign wireless customers, foreign carriers may pass through to the U.S. carrier the additional cost of connecting the wireless call. The U.S. carrier may then pass this cost through to the U.S. customer as a surcharge on his or her bill.

Steps You Can Take

  • Check with your long distance carrier for more specific information about international wireless surcharges and for international rates.
  • Check your carrier’s website, which may list surcharges for calls to particular countries.
  • Some countries use unique telephone numbers for wireless telephones. Your carrier may be able to provide those numbers (including on its website) so that you will know in advance whether you are about to incur a surcharge in calling a foreign number.

Consumer Help Center

For more information on consumer issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer Help Center at

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Surcharges for International Calls to Wireless Phones Guide (pdf)

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 3:00pm