Not so long ago, making long distance calls was an expensive affair. Keeping in touch with your family, friends, or business partners meant shelling out a lot on phone bills, delaying the call until absolutely necessary, or resigning yourself to sending letters, and waiting weeks for the reply.
Now, with smartphones and an internet connection readily available almost anywhere, you don’t need to limit calling your Mom to her birthday or Christmas, because now you can talk to anyone at any time with Voice over IP or VoIP. Nowadays there are dozens of VoIP providers that offer chat, voice call or video call services either for free or for a small charge. Since the different providers offer varied services, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. All you have to is pick the one that suits your need the best. Here are a few:
1. Skype –
(skype.com) It offers free video calls, and messages to other Skype users, but can also make calls to other phones for a small fee. Their other services include mobile numbers, voice mail, call forwarding, a call transfers.
2. TruApp –
(truphone.com) is an app by TruPhone downloadable to your laptop or to Android, iOS and BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The app allows you to make unlimited calls to mobile phones or landlines for rates starting at $12.95 per month.
3. TruSim –
(truphone.com) is another service offered by TruPhone. By replacing your SIM card with one provided by TruPhone, you will enjoy making calls, texts, or using the data service at local rates.
4. Vonage –
(vonage.com) works by attaching a phone adapter to your internet port, and routing your calls over the internet rather than over the phone lines. They offer a different service plans but the most popular one is the VonageWorld which gives you unlimited calls to landlines in 60 countries and to mobile phones I ten countries for $14.99 a month.
5. Jaja –
(jajah.com) works by providing you with a local number for your international contacts. The number can then be called from any phone, landline or mobile, at the rate of a local call.
6. Yackie –
Works similar to Jaja in that it provides a roaming SIM and uses local GSM networks. Their services include the option to choose a free local number from a list of 24 countries, and add an extra local phone number from our list of 40 countries, voicemail, caller ID, and free SMS.
7. Fring –
(fring.com) is another VoIPapp for your smartphonethat offers free calls, video calls, and messaging services. Fring is a popular application for group chats, or video conferences.
Non VoIP solutions
If you do not have access to a laptop or smartphone, or did not take the time to install a VoIP program, you can always make calls using the following ways:
• Using an International Mobile Phone
Most countries have their own mobile network, but the most popular one is the GSM network. There are lots of international mobile phones on the market that are unlocked and designed to work with most or all of the different cell phone networks, and can use the SIM card of any provider. International mobile phones include the National Geographic Talk Abroad phone which offers unlimited free incoming calls in over 70 countries, service in 200 countries, voice mail, text messaging, and lets you keep your number, or the phones offered by Mobal. All phones allow you to keep your old umber which is a great plus.
• Using Calling Cards
Calling cards can be found almost anywhere, from airports to gas stations and offer discounted deals on making international calls. Using a calling card allows you to make calls anywhere, including landlines at much cheaper rates. There are also services such as PennyTalk which provide rechargeable calling cards, so you won’t need to spend time hunting for calling card, or buying multiple ones.