International calling apps & services in the US
As a frequent international caller and with the telecommunications market in a state of constant change, your best bet for a great deal that suits just your needs is to conduct a little research and figure out what your options are. On top of the traditional methods of staying in touch, smartphone and tablet technology have revolutionized the way we contact our love ones. Spending time getting to know the market is really advisable so here’s a simple breakdown of the different types of option available to you.
Direct calling from your landline or cellphone
Some carriers now include selected international locations (like Mexico and Canada) in your normal monthly plan, in which case ‘normal’ calls via landline and mobile/cellphone are fine. That said, such plans are usually the consequence of being requested and negotiated by the user so the important thing to remember is to check with your carrier for the best deals. The reality for most users making semi-frequent to frequent international calls is that there are better options out there, with cheaper rates-per-minute and no connection/subscription fees. Simply tapping in the digits of your long distance relative would probably rack up huge costs if you don’t have some kind of plan arranged beforehand.
International calling plans from major carriers
Building on above, most US phone carriers now have customizable international calling plans available. Usually there is a subscription fee per month to gain access to international calling rates that (while varying from country to country) are much cheaper than dialing directly with no plan in place. Check with your local carrier if this is your preferred option.
If your call-habits are such that you make lengthy international calls every now and then, a calling card can eliminate the hassle of dealing with an extra phone bill. However, many cards have hidden fees and charges which can make a seemingly reasonable rate much higher than perceived. For example, some cards ‘round up’ minutes in large increments, have connection or termination charges, and also charge monthly fees. The market is rife with phony operators here so be careful on your choice. Users are frequently moving over to VoIP (smartphone apps) instead.
International calling services with VoIP
A VoIP calling option basically means that you are using the internet to make a phone call. The great thing is that smartphones and tablets have a whole range of excellent Apps whereby the functionality is seamless. Internet based telecommunications companies have lower costs which are passed on to users in terms of lower fees and call quality is constantly improving. This really is that this is the way to go for any smartphone user, with services like Skype, Google Talk and Rebtel leading the way by offering low international calling rates and complete transparency of pricing.