Staying in touch with friends and family abroad has never been easier or more affordable thanks to the rise of innovative calling apps. Just a decade ago, the cost of international calls was prohibitively expensive for the average consumer. Calling someone internationally could cost upwards of $1 per minute depending on the destination. Those high rates meant most people could only afford to make international calls sparingly for short chats during holidays or emergencies.
The telecommunications landscape has transformed with the advent of voice over IP (VoIP) technology and the explosion of mobile messaging apps into all-in-one communication platforms. Apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype and Google Voice now enable free or extremely cheap international calling using WiFi or mobile data. With these apps, you can call loved ones in other countries for pennies per minute or less.
The call quality over VoIP has also vastly improved in recent years as internet speeds have accelerated globally. Apps can now deliver crystal clear voice and video calls that rival or exceed a traditional landline experience. On top of rock-bottom rates, features like encrypted messaging and group video chat make calling apps indispensable for affordable international communication.
For travellers, expats, remote workers, international businesses and anyone with loved ones abroad, calling apps to eliminate the barriers of cost and inconvenience that hindered regular global contact in the past. This allows friends, family members, colleagues and customers across borders to connect freely. The incredible innovation in international calling reflects the power of technology to unite our human tribe.
A brief explanation of affordable international calling apps and their benefits
Staying in touch with friends and family abroad used to be an expensive endeavour, with traditional international calling plans costing up to a few dollars per minute. However, the emergence of affordable international calling apps has revolutionized global communication by offering free or low-cost voice and video calling options. Popular apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, FaceTime and Google Voice utilize internet connectivity to facilitate more affordable calls worldwide.
Skype, acquired by Microsoft in 2011, was one of the first apps to provide free Skype-to-Skype calls, chat and video conferencing over the Internet. It charges small fees for calls to mobiles and landlines, but rates are significantly lower than conventional providers. Skype uses end-to-end encryption for improved call security.
WhatsApp offers free encrypted video and voice calls for users worldwide. An annual subscription fee allows access to affordable international calling to mobiles and landlines as well. WhatsApp’s group calling feature is ideal for connecting with multiple people simultaneously.
Viber also provides free encrypted calls, chats and video calls globally. It has low-cost international calling rates and helpful features like stickers and bots.
FaceTime is Apple’s proprietary video chatting app that lets iPhone, iPad and Mac users connect for free over Wi-Fi or mobile data. It has excellent video quality and security protections.
Google Voice gives each user a free phone number and allows affordable calls within the U.S. and Canada, along with low-cost international call rates. The app syncs across devices.
The convenience, ease of use, quality connections and significant cost savings of these apps have transformed international communication. They allow families and friends across geographical boundaries to maintain relationships and stay up-to-date despite the distance. With the added visual element of video calls, users can feel closer and more connected. Affordable international calling apps continue to enhance their offerings while making global voice and video connections increasingly accessible to all.
Overview of affordable options to call internationally
Calling loved ones abroad used to be a costly endeavour, but in today’s digital age, many affordable options exist for international communication. From mobile apps to calling cards, you now have various ways to save money when staying in touch across borders.
Apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Voice offer free or low-cost international calling through the internet. WhatsApp has free encrypted video/voice calls worldwide. Skype allows free Skype-to-Skype calls and affordable calls to other countries. FaceTime is free for iPhone/iPad users, while Google Voice assigns a free US/Canada number for affordable rates elsewhere.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Vonage and MagicJack utilize the Internet to route calls. Vonage has international plans with per-minute rates as low as $0.01 on their Vonage World plan. MagicJack offers unlimited calling to some countries for just $20/year. Using a VoIP service can mean significant savings versus traditional plans.
International calling cards are a prepaid option for making calls abroad from any phone. Sold at a fixed denomination, rates average 2-5 cents per minute depending on the destination. Calling cards can be purchased at convenience stores, online, or from ethnic grocery stores. Major providers include STIC, IDT, and Nobelcom.
A wireless 3G/4G USB modem allows you to make VoIP calls by inserting a local SIM card abroad. Popular options like Skype’s WiFi Hub can call landlines in over 60 countries for as low as $0.013/minute. This is a flexible way to save when travelling internationally.
Some providers offer monthly international calling plans or subscriptions. For instance, Vonage has a $5 monthly plan for unlimited calling to over 60 countries. Subscriptions can make sense for frequent international callers.
Taking advantage of technology, increased competition, and global network expansion has made calling abroad more affordable than ever. Do some research to find the best option for your calling needs and budget. With minimal effort, you can stay connected with friends and family worldwide while keeping costs low.
Top Cheap International Calling Apps
WhatsApp is one of the world’s most popular messaging apps with over 2 billion users globally. It offers free, encrypted voice and video calls, making it a top choice for affordable international calling. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s internet connection so there are no cellular minute charges.
WhatsApp has no subscription fees in most countries. After installing the app and verifying your number, all features are free including messages, calls, video chats, group chats, file sharing and more. An annual subscription of $0.99 is only required in certain countries to access calling features.
WhatsApp is available for smartphones including both Android and iOS devices. It can also be used on a desktop via WhatsApp Web allowing you to make calls right from your computer’s microphone and speakers.
Some key features that make WhatsApp great for international calling are excellent call quality using Voice over IP, complete encryption for security, group calling with up to 8 participants, customizable notifications, media sharing, read receipts and more. Its ubiquity around the world makes it easy to connect globally.
Skype by Microsoft is one of the earliest apps providing affordable VoIP international calling. It offers free Skype-to-Skype calls along with cheap rates to call mobiles and landlines around the world.
Skype-to-Skype calls are completely free. Calling mobiles or landlines in over 100 countries is available for as low as $0.023/minute. Skype also has unlimited calling plans to specific countries starting at $5/month per country. Skype Credit can be added to make outbound calls.
Skype runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and all major phone platforms including Android and iOS. It can be used on the desktop app, mobile app or right from a web browser.
Key features include crystal clear call quality, group video calling for up to 50 people, instant messaging, call forwarding and routing, voicemail and SMS capabilities. Its established user base means you can easily connect with other Skype users worldwide.
FaceTime is Apple’s proprietary video chatting app launched in 2010. It provides free, high-quality video/voice calls over Wi-Fi or cellular data between Apple devices.
FaceTime is totally free to use with no ads or subscriptions. You only need an Apple device including an iPhone, iPad or Mac running a compatible OS, and a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection.
FaceTime is exclusive to Apple devices running iOS or MacOS. It works on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac computers. Both callers must be using Apple devices with FaceTime capabilities.
FaceTime offers very high-quality HD video up to 1080p resolution. Calls are protected by end-to-end encryption. You can add multiple participants to create a group FaceTime call of up to 32 people. FaceTime also supports useful features like customizable Animoji, screenshots, camera effects and more.
Google Voice Overview
Google Voice is a telephony service providing a free phone number that can make affordable domestic and international calls from any device. It works seamlessly across your devices.
Google Voice is free and provides a free US or Canadian number. International calls start at $0.01 per minute to many countries. It has low-cost unlimited plans available as add-ons as well.
Google Voice works on iOS, Android, and the web. Its app allows calling from your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can also make calls directly from Gmail.
Google Voice transcribes voicemails and texts you the messages. It provides customizable voicemail, call screening, call blocking, conference calling, call forwarding, SMS capabilities, and more. Multi-device integration is seamless.
Viber is a popular messaging app that allows free calls, video chats, texts, photos and group chats to other Viber users globally. It also has low-cost international calling capabilities.
Viber offers completely free, encrypted calls and messages between Viber users. International landline and mobile rates average around 1 cent per minute. It has an Out plan at $2.99/month for special rates.
Viber is available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. You can seamlessly continue calls between devices.
Viber uses HD sound quality on calls and has group video chatting for up to 20 participants. Useful features include stickers, bots, media sharing, public chats, desktop messaging and more. Its large global user base facilitates easy connectivity.
Comparing Cheap International Calling Apps
Comparing Cheap International Calling Apps
Staying connected with friends and family abroad is easier and more affordable than ever thanks to voice-over IP (VoIP) calling apps. Popular options like WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Google Voice and Viber allow you to make international calls over the internet for free or very cheap rates. But how do they compare for pricing, call quality, ease of use and ideal use cases?
One of the biggest differences between international calling apps is how they structure their pricing. Here is an overview of the pricing models for the top apps:
- WhatsApp – Free for texts, calls, videos between WhatsApp users. Only a $0.99 annual subscription for some countries.
- Skype – Free Skype-to-Skype calls. As low as $0.023/min for calls to mobiles/landlines abroad. Country unlimited plans are available.
- FaceTime – Totally free for iPhone/iPad/Mac users.
- Google Voice – Free US/Canada number. International rates from $0.01/min. Unlimited plans are available.
- Viber – Free Viber-to-Viber calls worldwide. Landline/mobile rates are approximately 1¢/min.
For calls within the same app network, WhatsApp and Viber lead with completely free calls. FaceTime is also free but limited to Apple devices only. For affordable outbound calling to non-app users abroad, Skype and Google Voice offer some of the lowest per-minute rates. Overall costs will depend on your specific international calling needs.
Call Quality Comparison
With VoIP calling, call quality depends on having a stable, high-speed internet connection. Here is how the top apps compare:
- WhatsApp – Very good call quality with HD voice and video on strong connections. Some minor quality issues on slower networks.
- Skype – Excellent call quality and HD video capabilities. Skype optimizes calls for the best performance.
- FaceTime – Leads for video call quality with crisp, high-resolution HD video on iPhones and Macs. Audio calls are also very clear.
- Google Voice – Good call quality for audio calls. Video calling was only recently introduced and quality is not as high as FaceTime or Skype.
- Viber – Solid audio and video quality for basic calling needs. Some minor lagging might occur on slower connections.
For both audio and video quality, FaceTime and Skype tend to be top performers. But overall, each app provides good call quality when using a sufficiently fast internet connection.
Ease of Use Comparison
In terms of ease of use, all five apps are relatively simple, intuitive and user-friendly. Some key differences:
- WhatsApp – Very easy to install, set up and start calling. Great user experience overall.
- Skype – Straightforward signup process. Lots of features so can have a small learning curve.
- FaceTime – Extremely easy to use, especially between Apple products. Initiate calls seamlessly from the iPhone.
- Google Voice – Easy web signup. Nice integration across Android/iOS once set up.
- Viber – Simple app setup. An uncluttered interface makes calling and messaging easy.
Overall, FaceTime may have the most seamless process, especially for beginners. But Skype and WhatsApp also have well-designed interfaces perfect for international calls.
Ideal Use Cases
Based on their pricing, features and ease of use, here are the ideal use cases for each of the top international calling apps:
- WhatsApp – Best for calling anyone else who already uses WhatsApp worldwide. Also great as an all-in-one communication app.
- Skype – Ideal for affordable calls to non-app users abroad. Useful for communicating with people less tech-savvy.
- FaceTime – Perfect for video calls between family and friends using Apple devices.
- Google Voice – Great for assigning a virtual phone number to use for cheap international calls.
- Viber – Useful for basic international calls and connecting with Viber’s large user base abroad.
The best app depends on your specific needs and who you are trying to call internationally. With the variety of affordable options now available, staying connected with people across the globe is easier than ever.
Tips for Saving on International Calls
Making calls abroad can get expensive, but there are clever ways to cut down the cost and stay connected with loved ones overseas. With a few simple tricks, you can significantly reduce your phone bill when calling internationally.
Use WiFi for Free Calling
One of the best ways to save is to use voice-over IP (VoIP) apps that allow free calling over the internet. Apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Viber and Skype offer free international calls between users. For these apps, you’ll only need a stable WiFi or mobile data connection, rather than relying on cellular minutes. Setting up accounts with the same app as your contacts abroad and using WiFi can let you call them at no cost. WhatsApp and FaceTime are great for free calls on both smartphones and computers.
Time Calls During Off-Peak Hours
If using standard international landline or mobile networks, you can slash costs by timing calls during off-peak hours and weekends. Most carriers charge per-minute fees that vary based on the time of day and day of the week. Typically evening, night and early morning hours are cheaper, while weekday midday hours are the most expensive. Knowing the ideal times to call can potentially halve the cost of longer conversations. Ask your provider for details on off-peak discounts or check their website for rate calculators. Scheduling important talks outside high-demand hours saves big.
Buy Prepaid International Minutes
Signing up for an international calling plan or prepaid minutes card from your provider gives cheaper per-minute rates. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all offer monthly international talk plans with competitively priced minutes. Alternatively, you can purchase prepaid cards with set amounts of minutes to popular destinations abroad. Topping up as needed allows control over spending. Prepaid cards are sold at many stores and call centres. Rates average 2-10 cents per minute, significantly lower than pay-as-you-go charges of up to $1/min. Optimize savings by researching deals across carriers and purchasing ahead.
Use Calling Cards
A reliable way to save up to 80% on international calls is by using prepaid calling cards. Cards purchased from providers like STIC, Nobelcom and IDT offer fixed per-minute rates of just 1 to 5 cents that undercut standard costs. Calling cards work by dialling an access number, entering your card’s PIN and then the international number. You can use them on landlines, mobiles or public phones from anywhere without establishing an account. Calling cards are sold at convenience stores, gas stations and online. Compare options to get the best foreign destination rates and no connection fees.
With a bit of savvy planning, you can stay frequently connected with loved ones abroad without breaking the bank. Do your homework and take advantage of cost-cutting tools like WiFi, off-peak discounts, prepaid minutes and calling cards to maximize savings on every call. Embrace technology and add a dose of strategy to affordably nurture important relationships, even from thousands of miles away.
VoIP Technology Enables Cheap International Calling
The emergence of voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) has revolutionized global communication by significantly lowering the cost of international calls. This innovative technology converts voice into digital signals that are transmitted over the internet, bypassing traditional phone networks. Understanding VoIP and its money-saving advantages can help you affordably keep in touch across borders.
What is VoIP and How Does it Reduce Costs?
VoIP stands for voice over Internet protocol. It is a method of making voice calls over broadband internet instead of a regular phone line. VoIP converts analogue audio signals into digital data packets that are transmitted efficiently over the internet. These data packets are then converted back into audio at the receiving end so you can talk naturally to the other person.
VoIP bypasses public switched telephone networks (PSTN), which pass calls over physical infrastructure like telephone wires and cellular networks. This allows VoIP calls to avoid hefty long-distance and per-minute fees charged by phone companies. VoIP providers can offer significantly lower international call rates by operating solely on the Internet.
For example, Skype is a popular VoIP service that only charges 2-10 cents per minute for calls abroad, while regular providers can charge up to $2 per minute for the same long-distance destinations. VoIP leverages the internet to lower bandwidth costs and increase efficiency.
Benefits of VoIP Over Traditional Phone Services
Here are some of the main advantages of using a VoIP service for international calls rather than a standard telephone provider:
Cost Savings – As mentioned, VoIP rates are significantly cheaper because they bypass conventional call infrastructure. Up to 90% savings compared to major carriers.
Flexibility – VoIP works anywhere with a stable internet connection, across devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, etc. Easy to use while travelling abroad.
Portability – VoIP allows you to select area codes different from your location. Keep the same number as you move or travel.
Advanced Features – VoIP services include a full suite of features like voicemail, call forwarding, conference calling, call waiting, etc.
Call Clarity – VoIP calls are digital so they avoid static, clicking and distortion. HD audio and video is common.
Number Porting – Many VoIP providers allow you to transfer an existing phone number to VoIP in order to keep it.
With VoIP technology making international calls is now a fraction of the cost of traditional landline or mobile networks. Take advantage of these innovative digital phone services to stay affordably connected with family, friends and colleagues worldwide.
Use Cases for Affordable International Calling Apps
International calling apps have revolutionized how we communicate across borders by providing low-cost and free solutions. There are many useful applications of these convenient apps for different segments of users.
Calling Family and Friends Abroad
One of the most popular uses of affordable calling apps is to stay in touch with family members, friends or partners living overseas. Apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype and Google Voice make it simple and cheap to call loved ones in another country whenever you want.
You can have spontaneous video chats to catch up face-to-face and feel closer. Scheduling regular calls is easy since there are no per-minute costs. Sending quick voice messages avoids expensive international SMS charges. Sharing photos via calls creates involvement in each other’s daily lives. Affordable apps nurture relationships despite the distance.
Business Calling Solutions
For businesses with teams, clients or partners located abroad, international calling apps offer money-saving communication solutions. Tools like Skype for Business, Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom and Whereby provide affordable VoIP group video conferences bridging any geographic divide.
Sales teams can demo content and conduct virtual meetings with foreign prospects. App calling eliminates travel costs. Support teams can easily assist international customers. Remote employees stay collaborative with HQ via app calls. Businesses save significantly compared to conventional long-distance charges.
Travelers and Digital Nomads
Calling apps are invaluable for jet-setting travellers and location-independent digital nomads. Apps let you call home to any country for free or cheaply while on the road. You can use WiFi or local SIM cards to dial loved ones from wherever in the world.
Travel bloggers can conduct interviews or collaborate internationally. Backpackers can call guesthouses ahead while mapping out their journey. Apps facilitate communication from anywhere with an internet connection. No expensive international phone plans are required!
For expats relocated abroad, affordable calling apps are a lifeline for regular communication with friends and family back home. Apps make the transition easier by providing an ongoing connection to loved ones.
Weekly video calls share stories and provide updates, helping expats feel less isolated. Apps are used for important discussions regarding financials, healthcare, and estate planning that require frequent coordination. Affordable calling eases cultural adjustments and homesickness.
International calling apps change the game for globally distributed users. Taking advantage of free and low-cost solutions allows meaningful connections worldwide.
The Future of Cheap International Calling
The availability and affordability of international calling have rapidly evolved over the past decade. With voice-over IP (VoIP) and mobile apps disrupting the market, costs have plummeted while quality and accessibility have improved. All indications point to increased innovation that will further reduce international call rates for consumers worldwide.
Analysts project that international call volumes will grow steadily in coming years as prices drop and more users abroad get connected to the internet. The demand is there and technology will continue advancing to meet it through cutting-edge solutions.
Developments like enhanced global network infrastructure, 5G implementation, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous smartphones will work together to drive prices down. As technology breakthroughs reduce providers’ delivery costs, significant savings get passed onto consumers.
Experts forecast that by 2025, the average per-minute cost of an international mobile call could decrease to less than $0.05, as compared to an average of $0.50 today. Landline call rates are projected to dip under $0.01 per minute in some developing countries. The floor is truly dropping out on global call pricing.
In addition, innovative apps are finding new ways to supplement their costs through advertising, premium features and business solutions, rather than relying solely on user fees. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and others are likely to remain free or extremely low cost.
Calling functionality will be integrated directly into multifunctional social networking and e-commerce apps, opening new avenues of access. The lines between traditional telecom and software/internet companies will continue blurring.
While precise projections are speculative, the overarching trend is clear – international calling will become ubiquitously cheap or free through relentless technological advancement. And that connectivity will continue bringing us closer together across any distance.
The emergence of voice-over IP calling apps has transformed how we communicate globally by making international calls incredibly affordable. As this technology continues advancing, prices will drop even further and access will expand. Apps like WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime and others have already brought free or low-cost calling to millions worldwide.
The convenience of crystal clear audio and video connections on our mobile devices nurtures relationships across any distance. Technology is breaking down borders, distances and costs as never before. While exact future projections are uncertain, the trajectory is clear – we are moving rapidly toward a world where everyone can be seamlessly connected.
Cheap international calling apps have revolutionized how we interact globally for work, family and life. As costs decline and quality improves, we will continue discovering new benefits and applications. One thing is certain – these innovations are bringing us together in exciting new ways across cultures. The future is bright for global communication thanks to the technology breakthroughs making it uncomplicated and inexpensive.