If you use a separate cell phone for Asia, as I do, and purchase SIM cards, which is easy to do, you have to be careful that you get a SIM card from a company that allows international access. Most do. China Mobile, though expensive, has good service.

I've stopped using my ATT Wireless cell phone from the US. I keep it on, so people can find me in Asia, in case of emergencies, but, for local calling, I use a different phone. It ends up being much cheaper in the long run. Also, it is easy to purchase a SIM card in whatever Asian country you travel to.

And, for international access with that local cell phone number, you get better rates, if you first dial 17951, before you dial the international number. It puts the access through a different, cheaper system, in China.

Calling cards are another option. They are easily found, and are used as they are in other parts of the world.