While many Callcard collectors may have taken little to no interest in collecting prepaid phonecards, there have been many very interesting examples of Irish prepaid cards produced. Prepaid or Remote memory Phonecards were not inserted into a cardphone during use, instead they used a secret PIN Number which would be revealed on the rear of the card in conjunction with either a Freephone or low call number.
The user would dial the number printed on the back of the card and then key in their secret PIN identification number to verify their balance. They could then proceed to make a call on any supported phone, not being limited to cardphones like Callcards were.
In the early nineties many telecom companies in Ireland, large or small produced and sold these phonecards, many of whom made special editions to mark particular events, advertise various businesses similar to what Telecom Eireann and Eircom had done with their Callcards.
This blog post is going to cover some examples of interesting pre-paid phonecards, companies which produced them early on and also how remote memory technology is still very much in use today.Read more...
So after all those years, are my Callcards valuable?...
A question I have been asked quite a bit lately is this. Unfortunately in the majority of cases I get asked, the answer is no. Telecom Eireann (and Eircom) released different kinds of cards throughout the years, with a mix of trial, definitive, private and general release cards. In this short guide I am going to provide very broad but useful information and tables you can use to find out if the cards you have are valuable or not.
When a Limited Edition is not limited at all!
Many people have the Garth Brooks, Diana Ross,Tina Turner, Aladdin and Blink (Wonder what happened to them?) Callcards in their collection. Printed quite prominently on the front of each of these cards is “Limited Edition”. Unfortunately these particular cards are far from being a “limited edition”, but rather the term limited edition was used to signify Telecom Eireann’s partnership with EMI music to produce “band” cards, and market them as a collector’s item for the fans.
All the cards mentioned above in mint condition should be worth a few euro, but used would not be worth much if anything. Please refer to the Card List to see how many of the particular card was made.
Of course just to confuse us all Telecom Eireann did bring out a card with Limited Edition stated which was in fact limited! The 1050 Cable & Wireless card only had 10, 000 made, and is considerably rarer than the above.Read more...
Back in the nineties before the popularization of mobile phones, every village, shopping centre, public spaces typically had one or more public telephones. In fact, public telephones were so popular, there were often queues of people wanting to use them! The first public call box was installed in Dublin in 1925. Move on 63 years, which saw the introduction of Telecom Eireann Callcards in the year 1988, with the first trial commencing in Dublin. Read more about the Callcard trials here!
Throughout the years Telecom Eireann rolled out many different phonebox styles and this article is going to discuss the three most common types of phonebooth you were likely to come across if you were to use a cardphone. Do you have any photos of Irish phoneboxes you would like to share with us? If you do why not send them on? :) .Read more...
This guide to the chipsets used on Telecom eireann and Eircom Callcards will allow you to easily identify the different chipsets used on various Callcards produced. These small EPROM chips are factory programmed with a set amount of units, in quantities of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Units for the consumer market. These units are stored in a protected area of the chipset, and after programming a fuse is blown to ensure that while erasing is possible, recharging is not.
It should be noted that some test cards did contain more than 100 units, however these were never available to consumers. In theory a chipset could store hundreds of units, some of the modern chipsets could store thousands. Smart cards with chips are still used in a wide variety of applications today, including banking cards, mobile phone SIM cards and building access cards.
This guide will offer a brief introduction to the companies who produced the chips, and also visual images to help with chipset identification.
Another point to note is that not all manufacturers produced their own chips. It was quite common for manufacturers to use chips produced by companies such as Siemens. Schlumberger produced all their own chips.Read more...