Making international calls can be expensive, and calling rates for certain countries just don’t seem to be getting any cheaper through traditional calling plans. Fortunately, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps can modify the way calls are made from your phone and reduce the cost of each call.
Two of the most popular VoIP apps are Rebtel and Viber. International calls can be made using either app, although there are some key differences between the two.
- Rebtel was founded in Sweden in 2006 and rapidly grew to become the biggest VoIP provider next to Skype. Rebtel will work on Android phones and tablets, iPhones, iPads, Windows phones, PCs, most other Smartphones and even older mobiles and landlines!
- Viber was launched in 2010, and was originally intended to be a competitor for Skype specifically targeting the iPhone market. It has slowly increased its reach, and can now be downloaded to newer Android phones, iPhones, Windows phones, Blackberry devices and personal computers.
- Rebtel offers free calling and texting between Rebtel users. It also offers incredibly inexpensive international calling even to non-Rebtel users by creating “local” landline numbers in each country so the international portion of the call costs less than calling with a calling card or using a traditional mobile carrier’s international calling plan.
- Viber also offers free calls between Viber users, including Viber international calls, but the biggest consumer complaint is that calls can be switched to a regular cell call mid-conversation if the internet connection is interrupted. This can result in huge phone bill charges due to the high cost of international calls through mobile carriers.
- Rebtel, on the other hand, constantly monitors whether the 3G network or local wifi is the better signal, and switches seamlessly between the two to keep the call active without defaulting back to a regular billed cell call using your cell phone company’s rates.
Real Life Example: Viber International Calls vs. Rebtel International Calls
For example, during a Viber international call, the 3G internet connection being used to handle the call could be lost. The call switches to the standard mobile network, and suddenly a call that was free is costing 33 cents per minute. The user doesn’t even know about it until they receive their staggeringly high phone bill from their mobile carrier!
In contrast, a Rebtel user in the same situation might lose their 3G connection, but the app will automatically switch to the local available wifi and the call will continue as a free call between Rebtel users. Even if the call is placed to a non-Rebtel user, the low international rate still applies instead of switching to the high rate from the mobile carrier.
Of the two apps, Rebtel is the better choice for ex-pats trying to stay in touch with friends and family back home without the hassle of a huge bill each month for international calls