Never Pay for Expensive International Calls Again with These Simple Solutions

Australia lives independently to the rest of the world regarding its location and don’t we know it. Although it’s a very desirable location to live in, we Australians do often pay a price, the Australia Tax being a clear-cut example of this. Government statistics show that over a quarter of us were born in a different country and emigrated to Australia, so its no real shock then to learn that many people need to communicate with other parts of the world on a regular basis.

I’ve personally been stung badly by a hefty international phone bill once before, the money for which I could have easily bought myself lunch at a top class restaurant with instead (yes it still hurts). I'm clearly not the only one though, as I still see countless complaints online from disgruntled customers having to fork out chunks of cash on overseas calls. If you've fallen afoul of this too then hopefully today is the day things change as I’m going to provide you with a range of alternatives to make cost effective international calls, helping you avoid getting ripped off ever again.


Solution 1 - Phone Cards

International Calling CardsCalling cards can be bought at most local corner stores or big chains and are a great alternative to making overseas calls if you don’t have an Internet connection. If your current phone plan doesn’t include international calls then you can be sure the phone card will cost less. They served their purpose in the 90’s and early 00’s but more recent market trends have shown there to be a range of scams and hidden fees applied by dodgy card providers, similar to the gift card scam I recently covered. Please always check the small print before choosing your calling cards, but otherwise they can save you a lot of money if you buy a legit one from a reputable company.




Cheap alternative to call mobiles and landlines Confusing T&C’s or hidden connection Fees
Can call any number Different providers offer different rates
Don’t need additional hardware
Don’t need an internet connection
Don’t need a smartphone



Solution 2 - VoIP

VoIP is a cheaper alternative to making International Calling CardsThe acronym stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a means for making phone calls via the Internet. VoIP service providers offer free low-cost calls nationally and internationally and all you need to have is an Internet connection. The quality of VoIP calls used to lack somewhat in the early years of this technology, but investment over the past 5 years has seen its popularity grow exponentially.

Small telecoms companies can reduce their costs by providing a sim card, which whenever it makes a call, calls through to a VoIP server. Those calls then get pushed out via the Internet, as opposed to buying air time from the big Telecoms companies. The Australian Communication and Media Authority have even claimed that VoIP call quality can out perform landlines, although it has to be said that free VoIP services do receive lower satisfaction ratings.

Skype owned by Microsoft is the Most Popular VoIP Service

The most famous VoIP service you may have come across is the Microsoft owned Skype. The service offers both a free and paid services. Downloading the app onto your smartphone, tablet or computer (and creating an account) will allow you to call (or video call) anyone else who also has the app installed. If you wish to call someone’s mobile number, however, you can upload credit to your account to enable this. You then have the option of paying per minute or setting up a monthly rate for X amount of calls.




Millions of users globally Credit expires after 180 days of inactivity
Free to use for video and voice calls Skype requires an Internet connection
Top up to call mobiles and landlines Certain Skype plans can charge connection fees
Un-Technical parents can call cheap Skype numbers



Solution 3 - Mobile Apps

Until only recently, I would have spoken highly of either having Skype or Viber being installed on your phone to allow you to make overseas calls. However, within the past 2 months, WhatsApp have enabled calling when connected to the Internet now.

Previously WhatsApp would only allow you to send messages, pictures, short videos and voice clips. Since Facebook bought the company though, it’s had the relevant investment to take things one step further and provide WhatsApp calls. The great thing is that WhatsApp has more users than Facebook, sitting at around 700 million monthly users. This almost guarantees that you can call someone within the family who you're trying to reach for free if they have the app installed.

The service for the majority of users is free for the first year and then costs roughly $1 per year after that. That is the cheapest international calls package I have ever found. Yes, you require an Internet connection, but what modern family doesn’t have this for their day to day activities anyway? The App is available to download on Android, Nokia, Apple and Blackberry thus making it universal.

I would normally explore more App alternatives, because there are so many, such as Viber for example, but with WhatsApp releasing its call function, you will most probably see Viber die a slow and silent death.



App costs just $1 per year T&C’s allow access to your contact information
Unlimited national / international calls Only works on Smartphones
No advertising
Excellent call quality

 WhatsApp Banner Now lets you Make International Calls to any Smartphone

Ultimately there is plenty of choice in the market to make more affordable international calls. The price my grandparents pay on international calls over a month or two could easily afford them a tablet to use Skype, but they like their house phone because they understand it (trust me I’ve tried showing them alternatives). But, for the rest of us millennials if you have Skype on your tablets and computers and WhatsApp on your smartphone, you shouldn’t effectively have to pay for any international calls again while connected to the Internet.

If you are outback and have limited access to the Internet and need to make a call before you get to a Wi-Fi area for example, then a calling card or International SIM card, such as Lycamobile, might provide a more convenient solution in the mean time.


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