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Calling friends and family is often a priority for anyone traveling or living abroad. Whether you miss home, want to tell a loved one how much you miss them, or need to speak to a colleague in another country, international calls can be quite expensive. Take it from someone who spent almost as much as the plane ticket cost to call her then boyfriend and best friend while abroad.
Instead of having to deal with extremely high phone bills (and an unhappy parent), everyone should know how to make free or low-rate international calls. If you need a guide to making free international calls but don’t feel like searching the internet for an answer, here are the answers you are looking for. Let us guide you through the process of making international calls with your smartphone.
How to make free international calls
- WhatsApp is a voice calling and messaging app for Android and iOS that uses data, not your cell plan. You can make voice and video calls to people all over the world for free, although you need to monitor your data usage every month. The app also supports group calls.
- In 2016 WhatsApp added end-to-end encryption that is applied to all messages and calls that use the app. However, if you are chatting with someone who has an older version, none of your communication is encrypted.
- There are also web and desktop versions of WhatsApp. You cannot use it to call emergency services like 911 in the US.
- Skype is a VoIP service that has been around since 2003 and has always been an easy way to make free national and international calls. You can use it for voice and video calls as well as group calls with up to 10 participants for free when communicating with other Skype users.
- Fees do apply if you contact someone outside of Skype, but the company is upfront about the fees and there are unlimited monthly packages available.
- Like WhatsApp and other services that use data, you cannot use Skype to communicate with emergency services as they cannot accurately identify your location. Besides Android and iOS, you can also make international calls from your PC or Mac computer, web browser, and even Xbox.
Best for video calling on iOS: Facetime
- FaceTime is a free voice and video calling app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. You can call people over Wi-Fi or using mobile data all over the world except some countries. To set up an account, you need an Apple ID. On an iPhone, FaceTime automatically records your phone number. On an iPad or iPod touch, you can register an email address.
- To contact friends, you need the phone number or email associated with their Apple ID. You can also switch to a FaceTime call during a regular phone call as long as you both have accounts. If you are running iOS 15 or later, you can also invite Android users to calls that are already in progress with a special link to join.
Best for calling between the US and Canada: Google Voice
- Google Voice is a VoIP service that is mostly free. You can forward up to six numbers to your account, but have each one ring before going to voicemail. If you enable transcription, you can receive emails or text messages with transcripts of your voice messages. In addition to the Android and iOS applications, you can also use Google Voice in a desktop browser.
- If you are in the US, most calls to people in the US and Canada are free. Rates for calls to other parts of the world vary; Google lists prices by country.
- Viber is another VoIP service that offers free voice and video calls to other users and low rates for calls to landlines and mobiles. All you need to sign up is a valid phone number, which your contacts can use to find you in the app. Viber has apps for Android and iOS, as well as a browser version.
- While Viber is not as popular as WhatsApp and Skype in the US, it is popular in other parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe. Like its competitors, you can also send messages and you can also share photos and other media through the application.
Final words: How to make International Calls for Free
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