It’s very useful to have Skype for making calls abroad. However, while it is possible to use Skype to Skype connections for free worldwide, to make calls to non Skype mobile phones and landlines, you’ll need to use Skype Credit or a Skype Subscription at different rates. It’s also possible to use a Skype Premium account to make unlimited calls to select countries. Actually setting up Skype to call abroad is relatively simple, and can be considered alongside a few other methods for making low cost international calls.
Skype Credit and Skype Subscriptions
For most people, Skype is best for making free video calls, with Skype Credit reserved for making calls to mobile phones and landlines; the same principle applies to making group calls on the service, which are only available as part of a Premium packages. Skype itself is easy to download as a free service, and is available for computers and laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and television sets. To make international calls to another Skype user, you simply need their email address and number, and you can call them in the same way as any other user.
For calling mobiles and landlines, you’ll need to either use a Pay as You Go service on the program, which includes a small connection fee, or sign up for a Subscription. On pay as you go, calls cost 1.4p a minute to the United States, while a Subscription costs £2.99 a month, or £3.44 a month. If calling the UK from abroad, calls are £2.99 a month with a subscription (£3.44 with VAT). If you’re making lots of calls, it’s best to go with an Unlimited World or country specific package. It costs £8.49 a month for an Unlimited World package, or £13.49 with China. You can also get a Skype Unlimited Europe package that covers 23 European countries, and allows about 10,000 minutes per person per day, or 6 hours a day.
To make an international call, add a contact, and use the dial pad to create a drag down menu of available countries and their rates; the Pay as You Go rate will be included with the country. You can then enter the number you want to call into the keypad, or you can skip selecting a country and add the international prefix beforehand. Contacts can be saved and redialled.
Another option when making international calls with Skype is to sign up for a Premium account, which is about £3.44 a month, and allows you unlimited calls to a country of your choice. You can also make group calls to up to 10 people simultaneously, making this option ideal for businesses. Landlines and mobiles can be included for US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore on an unlimited basis, while calls to other countries will be landline only. With a Premium account, you also won’t receive advertising, and can use free customer support by video.
Outside of Skype, you can make international calls at a discounted rate using call packages with BT, which have a Friends and Family International deal with low rates for 36 popular destinations. Orange, O2, Sky, and Virgin Media also offer discounted deals. Alternatively, you can make use of top up international calling cards, available in local shops. Other services include dial up services where you can add on a special code for individual numbers, and pay as you go at different rates.
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Matt Mynors is a freelance copywriter, currently writing on telecommunication topics for cheap international call provider Dial123.co.uk.