Chatting to friends and family abroad can be really expensive and if you use a landline or know a lot of people overseas, it won’t be long before your monthly bill is higher than a small African country’s national debt. But making international calls doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. There are lots of ways to make cheap calls – or even FREE calls – so if you like to chat and your best friend lives on the other side of the world, here’s how to make overseas calls cheaply.
Internet calls have revolutionised the telecom industry and customers are no longer tied to making landline calls if they want to talk to people living overseas. There are lots of options to choose from if you have internet access; all you need is a laptop, smartphone, tablet or PC, plus a headset and/or microphone.
Software Apps for International Calls
Free software applications such as Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime make internet calling incredibly easy, but the recipient of your call does need to be online and using the same software. The other issue is the call quality, which can be variable at times. However, the advantage of using the internet to make international calls to colleagues, friends, lovers and family members is that you can choose between video or voice calls. Video chat and audio are both free when you talk via an internet connection.
Note: internet calls are only free when you use free Wi-Fi. Making calls via an app such as Skype or WhatsApp will eat up data if you are on a 3G or 4G connection, so be aware of this and look for a Wi-Fi network if you don’t have much data left.
Skype to Landlines
Skype is great for free overseas telephone calls via the internet, but don’t forget you can also use Skype to call landlines and mobiles, too. Once you have a Skype account, you have the option to buy call credits. Skype’s call rates are usually cheaper than regular telecom providers, so do a comparison and see which one is better for your chosen destination. Skype also has some excellent bundle deals for heavy users.
Overseas Call Bundles
Ask your home telephone or mobile network provider if they have any bundle deals for international calls. It is possible to save a lot of money if you sign up for a package that offers cheap calls to popular overseas destinations such as EU countries, North America, Australia, India and Pakistan. These deals typically slash the cost per minute for making calls in return for a monthly fee. So if you regularly make long telephone calls overseas, you could easily save a considerable amount of money.
Price Check Call Providers
Different call providers have different tariffs. Some offer cheap calls to EU countries whereas others might have special rates for calls to North America. Because of this it is worth shopping around for the best network provider if you regularly make overseas calls. Use a call-checker service to find the call provider with the best rates and as long as you are not locked into a contract with your current provider, make the switch. And if you use a cashback website such as Quidco, you might even be able to make money out of the switching process.
International Calling Cards
International calling cards can be picked up from supermarkets and offer a simple way to make cheaper international calls. How they work is pretty simple. To access the cheaper call rates, all you do is dial the access number provided to connect to the provider’s network. Once you are connected, you then dial the number (including the country code) you are trying to reach. It is a very simple system, but the downside of using these cards is that you start paying from the moment you connect to the network, so even if the person you dialling isn’t in, you still pay for the call.
International SIM cards
Making international calls when abroad can be horrendously expensive if you use your mobile network. To avoid running up a huge mobile roaming bill the cheapest way of calling home is to use an app such as Skype or WhatsApp. But if you don’t have a decent Wi-Fi connection, look at cheap international call bundles that bolt on to your existing tariff. These can be cost effective for people who travel regularly, i.e. on business, but do monitor your bills to make sure you are making genuine savings.
Rebtel for Cheap International Calls
Sign up for a Rebtel account and you can turn your international call into a local one, so any overseas calls you make are included in your free calls bundle.
However often you make international calls, there is always a way to save money, so make sure you follow the above tips before you dial that number.