There has never been a better time for cheap international calling. There are a vast number of VoIP providers offering free and low cost calling internationally. This section is split into two main areas, international calling via a regular phone with VoIP (Voice over IP) and international calling using a Mobile VoIP provider (i.e. calling via a mobile/cell phone).
Let's start with a background and then look at your options.
Many of you actually use VoIP at home with your regular old telephone even if you do not realize it. For example Comcast's voice package is actually based on VoIP, it's just they market it under the name Digital Voice. Your phone call is transferred digitally across your Broadband Internet connection (you must have Broadband). VoIP is a technology that has been around for many years, it is feature rich, reliable and low cost.
If you have a home VoIP service (or are looking for one) you make an international call simply by dialing the country code (e.g. +44 for the UK) and the phone number in that country. The plans in the table on the left all have international calling plans.
If you have such a plan, often ALL of your international calls are FREE as part of the monthly fee. However you can also go with lower cost plans inside the USA/CAN and call Internationally for very cheap rates. This often works well if you have occasional need for International minutes, for example less than a couple of hours of minutes. In fact many providers give you 60 minutes of free International calls as part of their domestic plan. An example of this is Phonepower.
Phonepower is a leading provider of VoIP in the U.S and Canada. Some of the advantages with Phonepower are:
There are many other providers with similar plans. For more information consult our residential VoIP section.
Mobile VoIP (often referred to as mVoIP) is based on the VoIP protocol but instead of it going over your home or business Broadband connection, it is sent over the air via WiFi or your cellular network. So all you actually need is a "mobile" device such as a cell phone or even a WiFi enabled portable media player like the iTouch and some software that you install on the device.
So wait, I hear you say, why bother with mVoIP I already have my cell plan for making calls, what does Mobile VoIP bring to the table? Well, the main benefit is cheap international calling. International calls are very low cost, similar to calling cards but without the need of remembering any PIN codes. All of this can be done over your cell phone or WiFi enabled device to enable you to make cheap international calls from mobile devices. How does this work? Basically, the mVoIP provider re-routes your call over the Internet to the country you are calling and then calls the person with a "local" number in that country. The mVoIP provider charges you minimal rates for routing the call across the Internet.
Two of the most popular companies in this space are Rebtel and Skype.
Rebtel has over 17 million subscribers at this time of writing. Some of the benefits are as follows:
Skype is now owned by Microsoft and is what most people think of when they hear the word VoIP. Some of the benefits are as follows:
Skype has some very compelling features while the price is typically higher than Rebtel, with Rebtel often stating that its service is up to 60% cheaper than Skype. On the flip side, Skype does have some pretty neat features that Rebtel does not offer such as video conferencing.
Regardless of the VoIP offering you go for, compared to traditional landline services you will save a fortune on International calls.
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Posted by Vic on October 3rd, 2013:
Only need International temporarily as spouse on a tour of 11 days. Can this be set up on a short term paying for minutes used?
-> Response: Vic it may be worth looking at a mobile VoIP provider if your spouse has a smart phone that will work in the country being toured. You could set up Rebtel or Skype really quickly as an app on the phone and get low cost International calls.