Same translation. Since it would be confusing, we'd actually say something like "gli dissi di venire al telefono" (I told him to come) or "lo chiamai perché venisse al telefono" (I called him to come). Sounds a bit unnatural in english, but that's how it goes.
How about just "I phoned him"? Chamare al telefono is "to call on a phone"... or simply "to phone". Isn't it?
I phoned him = Gli telefonai. The meaning is quite the same, but there are two sentences with two different verbs (chiamare = to call; telefonare = to phone). Since we're here to learn, imho it's correct to distinguish.