Whether you’re studying abroad, travel extensively for work, or have friends and family in far-flung locations; phone bills can be difficult to manage. As the world becomes more connected, a wider range of options has arisen than in the past to facilitate international communication. You no longer have to put up with high rates from your regular carrier or outlandish roaming charges. By comparing your options carefully and keeping the following tips in mind, you can save a great deal on international calls.
Use International Calling Cards
Although they now seem somewhat old-fashioned, international calling cards still offer great rates and are easy to use. If you make frequent phone calls abroad or are planning for a trip, you could purchase a calling card with the lowest rates for your destination. A major benefit of calling cards is that they are prepaid, so you avoid the dilemma of going over your minutes and being hit with a surprise phone bill at the end of the month. However, there may be hidden charges or fees so it’s important to read the fine print carefully. Some cards have a minimum usage requirement or expire after only a couple of months.
Purchase International SIM Cards
Another option that puts you in control of the money you spend is to purchase an international SIM card. These SIM card deals are advantageous because they often offer extremely competitive international rates, and can be used to call numerous destinations. To use an international SIM card, you’ll need to have your mobile phone unlocked first.
A relatively new way of placing cheap calls abroad is by using VoIP services like Skype and Rebtel. These work by using the internet to route your calls, effectively turning an international call into a local one. Many of these services are free. For example, Skype allows you to place free audio or video calls over the computer to other Skype users. There are also mobile phone apps which can be downloaded to use these services from your smartphone.