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What is the best way to call Pakistan from the UK?

Recent census figures show that there are around 1.2 million British Pakistani’s living in the UK today. Hence, there is an enormous market for people keeping in contact with friends and family back in their homeland and calling figures show that this is indeed the case.  So let’s take a look at some of the different options available with a view to finding the cheapest and most reliable way to call Pakistan (from the UK).

1. Calling Pakistan Direct from a UK Landline

If you think making a call to Pakistan (from the UK) via a landline direct is the cheapest option, then think again. For example, BT (British Telecom) charge around 28.5p per minute for the call, plus a 12.5p connection fee. While there are cheaper providers for regular landline calls (some charge as little as 2.5p per minute with a 12p connection fee), technological advances of recent years mean that there are cheaper and often better quality service providers on the market.

2. Calling Pakistan direct from a mobile phone

In today’s fast moving society, mobile phones are ever more ubiquitous and are therefore the fastest and easiest way to stay in touch. Many providers offer a specific package service to Pakistan with ranging from 5p per minute (pay-as-you-go) to 4p per minute with a 10p connection charge.  Popular carriers are Virgin, Orange and Vodafone though prices and packages vary fairly regularly so it’s best to shop around a little when looking for your best deal.  Stay on top of the game here!... In other words, don’t settle for a certain package and let it roll on continuously over the years.  Often, as time passes, better packages become available but mobile phone providers offer these packages to new customers rather than existing ones.  By staying on top you can regularly negotiate your package to ensure you are getting the most favourable rate available.

3. Calling Pakistan using an international calling card

One of the most popular ways to pre-pay for your calls to Pakistan (from the UK) is using an international calling card. There are many to choose from and they vary considerably in price and quality. £10 credit with First National can get you up to 150 minutes calling time whereas £10 with i-Phone can get you up to 400 minutes calling time. However, it is well worth remembering that the amount of call time you received, compared to the advertised rates can be considerably less, due to hidden costs that these calling cards can incur. As a result, calling cards can often be an unwanted annoyance as you never quite know what you are getting and after sales service is as good as non-existent.

4. Calling Pakistan from your Desktop Computer

Many people are now opting to call Pakistan using their computer and VOIP service. Skype is the most obvious choice here, with a reliable service that has become market leader in recent years.  If you install the Skype program then you can make free audio and video calls (with varying quality depending on the internet connection of both users) to other people who also have Skype.  Whilst this is indeed a great service there are some obvious drawbacks, namely that the service is wholly reliant on decent internet connections at both ends and that both users have Skype installed. Otherwise ‘normal’ phone calls require some form of payment and Skypes rates to Pakistan tend to be pricier than the normal UK mobile service provider.

5. Calling Pakistan from your Smartphone or Tablet

Technological developments in smartphone and tablet services have really opened up the market and made great advances into how we can stay in touch with far flung friends and family.  By using one of a variety of apps you can take advantage of this trend and make either free calls to other users (who have the same service on their smartphone/tablet), or cheaper calls to landlines and mobile phone numbers. 

There are several services available including Viber, Vonage and Rebtel, with the latter providing excellent quality with rates as low as 1.9p per minute for mobile calls, with no connection fees.  

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