Thanks to modern technology, distance is no longer a barrier to keeping in touch with friends and family overseas. Now you can even make international calls for free via a broadband connection, so why pay?
Calling from a landline is generally cheaper than from a mobile, but there are still big differences in international rates depending on who your provider is. For example, Virgin Media’s standard rate per minute to a landline in Australia is 44.93p, whereas the Post Office charges just 5p and offers inclusive weekend calls.
Many providers offer international bundles which give reduced rates or inclusive calls in return for an additional monthly charge so it’s worth sussing out these deals to reduce your costs. We’ve an article planned for the next issue of Which? Money which will highlight some of the best of these deals.
‘Override’ your home phone provider
Override providers can also be a good alternative if you don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription. They allow you to ‘override’ your home phone provider so that you pay their own charges instead, which are generally very reasonable.
But why spend anything at all when there’s the option to call for free? Thanks to Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology, it’s possible to make international calls for free by using a broadband connection rather than a landline, with the only restriction being that the person you are calling must also have access to broadband.
Video calls with friends and family
Skype is the most popular VoIP service and for a long time now this has been my go-to method of keeping in touch with friends and family who are abroad. In my experience the call quality hasn’t always been particularly high, but I’m more than happy to make this compromise if it means avoiding a hefty phone bill. It’s also great to be able to see the person you’re calling via the video call facility.
What steps do you take to reduce the cost of calling overseas? Are you reluctant to pay for calls when you can use the likes of Skype for free? Or do you think it’s worth paying a bit more to ensure a potentially higher quality of call that is not dependent on a broadband connection?