If you ever been assigned to work internationally or have a loved one who is or maybe you have family in another country, you know how expensive international calling rates can be. And you don’t want to have to sacrifice your relationships due to the prohibitive costs involved in calling internationally.
The good news is that VOIP has provided some excellent, super cheap international call rates opportunities – and mobile calling has quickly seen prices drop recently as well. If you have a high volume of international call minutes, I personally favor Ooma, which only charges monthly use taxes for the device (which can connect to any broadband internet connection and a router), in addition to the rates highlighted below. I’ll cover the rates involved with some of the most popular low cost international call plan providers out there.
Right now all calls made within Google Voice in the U.S. are free to Canada and the U.S. But did you know that you can also purchase low cost international minutes via Google Voice? You can make the calls via your mobile phone, by calling in to Google Voice with any phone, or even through a Google Chat window. And the international call rates are cheap.
Here is a list of Google Voice international rates by country:
- Canada – Free (landline/mobile)
- China – $0.02/minute (landline/mobile)
- U.K. – $0.01/minute (landline), mobile varies
- Mexico – $0.01/minute (landline), $0.02 (mobile)
Outside of international calls, Google Voice is free.
In order to make international calls with Google Voice, you’ll need to add credit. At the top right, click “Settings”, on the left, click “Payments”, next to “Current balance,” click “Add credit” and select amount.
Skype to Skype calls are free worldwide, making it a great fit if those you are communicating with also have a Skype account. If they don’t, and you are calling a land-line or mobile with your account, Skype international rates are still pretty cheap for landline VOIP (mobile varies based on region):
- Canada – $0.023/minute (landline, mobile varies) + $0.049 connection fee
- China – $0.02/minute + $0.049 connection fee
- U.K. – $0.023/minute + $0.049 connection fee
- Mexico – $0.01/minute + $0.049 connection fee
Skype also offers up different packages for where you call the most:
- Unlimited Latin America – $9.99/month
- Unlimited North America (U.S./Canada/Mexico/others) – $6.99/month
- Unlimited World (63 top countries) – $13.99/month
Compared to Google Voice, Skype would be a better method if both parties have a Skype account. Otherwise, Google Voice is a bit cheaper.
I’m a big fan of Ooma because it can completely eliminate your land-line costs and cut your cell use, all while enjoying the same user experience and clarity that a land-line provides. And if you make a lot of international calls, Ooma becomes an even better deal.
You have a few different options with Ooma, but if you buy in bulk or via a 1,000 minute plan, you really have a chance to save. The monthly plans allow you to call 60 of the most commonly called countries (including Canada, China, UK, Mexico, France, and Australia) at a flat fee of $17.99 per month. Without a plan, Ooma international call rates are still pretty low:
- Canada – $0.014/minute (free in $9.99/month “Premier” plan)
- China – $0.025/minute
- U.K. – $0.028/minute
- Mexico – $0.029/minute (free in $9.99/month “Premier” plan)
Ooma also offers 2 expanded international plans:
- “World Plan”: Includes unlimited minutes to landlines in over 60 countries and to mobile phones in over 10 countries for only $17.99 a month.
- “World Plus Plan”: Includes unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 countries and to mobile phones in over 40 countries for only $25.99 per month.
Vonage is a bit on the pricier end from a monthly subscription standpoint. You’re probably better off going with an Ooma if you want a VOIP unit that you don’t need to have a computer turned on to use or a cheap data plan to burn through. Both Ooma and Vonage are stand-alone units that replicate a land-line experience.
Vonage offers 2 different international plans:
- “North America” ($9.99/month): unlimited calls to U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico
- “World Prime” ($14.99/month): unlimited calls to U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico and international calling to over 60 additional countries
Cheap International Call Rate Discussion:
- What other methods have you found to make cheap or free international calls?
- What is your preferred international call provider? Why?