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Cheap International Calling Options for 2015

There has never been a better time to make cheap International calls. There are a vast number of VoIP companies offering free and low cost calls to International destinations. This article explores some of your options and is split into two main areas, calls via a regular phone with VoIP and calling using a Mobile VoIP provider (i.e. calling via a mobile/cell phone).

Cheap International Calling

Let's start with a background and then look at these options.

VoIP - What's that?

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 Internet (you must have an Internet connection). VoIP is a technology that has been around for many years, it is feature rich, reliable and low cost.

International Calling Rates offered by Popular Providers

Before we dig into the details of various services, let's take a quick look at a sample of some current call rates to some of the countries that are most commonly called from the USA and Canada. The rates shown in the table below are overage rates for VoIPo, PhonePower and Vonage, while the rates shown for Rebtel and Skype are what you actually pay. Note that Rebtel rates require a one-time account funding to purchase minutes and they will expire in either one year or 30 days. Skype rates are based on a monthly subscription.

Provider Free Calling UK India China Pakistan Bangladesh More Info
60 minutes per month included with monthly plan. 2c/min 2c/min 2c/min 15c/min 11c/min More Details
60 minutes per month included with monthly plan. 0.5c/min 2c/min 1c/min 6.8c/min 2.8c/min More Details
World plans include unlimited calls. Vonage app to app calls are free. 5c/min 18c/min 2c/min 30c/min 11c/min More Details
Not available. 1c/min 0.5c/min 2.9c/min 12.9c/min 3.6c/min More Details
Skype to Skype calls are free. 1c/min 0.8c/min 1c/min 6.2c/min 2.4c/min More Details

Making International Calls from your Home with VoIP

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.

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 (e.g. 1c/min to the UK). 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.

VoIPo

Some features of the VoIPo service that are relevant to international calling are:

  • Monthly calling plans starting at under $7 per month that include unlimited USA and Canada calling
  • No Smartphone App is currently available for VoIPo.
  • 60 minutes per month of International calling is included to 45+ countries. Option to add 1,200 international minutes per month for an additional $7.95

PhonePower

Some of the advantages with PhonePower are:

  • Low cost monthly plans starting at under $6 per month. Unlimited minutes USA/CAN
  • Smartphone Apps to make/receive calls using your home number (also works over WiFi)
  • 60 minutes per month of International calling for free to 45+ countries. Low rates after your 60 minutes.
  • Extensive feature set
  • Cloned second line

Vonage

One of the leaders in helping people make long distance international calls. Here are some of the features you need to know:

  • Multiple World plans available. Rates increase based on the number of different countries that you wish to call.
  • A Smartphone App is available that also enables free app to app calling, free SMS texting and free video calls between Vonage customers.
  • Unlimited callings terms include reasonable usage of up to 3,000 minutes per month.

There are many other providers with similar plans. For more information consult our residential VoIP section.

Cheap Calls with Mobile VoIP?

Mobile VoIP (often referred to as mVoIP) is based on the VoIP protocol too but instead of it going over your home Internet, it is sent over the air via WiFi or your 3G/4G cellular network. So all you actually need is a "mobile" device such as a Smartphone or even a WiFi enabled portable media player like the iTouch and some software (i.e. the app) 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? Well, the main benefit is the ability to make International calls, you don't want to use your cellular service for this as they will charge you a small fortune. International calls are very low cost using VoIP, similar to calling cards but without the need of remembering any PIN codes. 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 as a "local" call in that country. The 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

Rebtel has over 17 million subscribers at this time of writing. Some of the benefits are as follows:

  • Free mobile to mobile calls. Make sure you friends have the Rebtel app and you can call them for free no matter where they are in the world!
  • Smartphone Apps - support for iOS, Android and Windows
  • Cheap International texting (SMS)
  • PC to phone calls

Skype

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:

  • Free calls. Mobile to mobile and PC to PC
  • Smartphone Apps - Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, iPad
  • Cheap or free international texting (SMS)
  • Free Video Calling, even Internationally!

Skype has some very compelling features while the rates are based on a monthly subscription fee. Rebtel in comparison allows you to simply fund your account with a one time purchase but bare in mind that these purchased minutes have a expiry date on them. Both of these services can provide you with an access code that can used from any type of phone, including a landline or regular cell phone.

Regardless of the VoIP offering you go for, compared to traditional landline services you will save a fortune on International calls. Check them out and start saving!

Author: Tony Campbell

Published: by WhichVoIP


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WhichVoIP Visitor Comments

#1 : 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.

 

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