|image courtesy of homephoneprovider.com|
Calling home is nice. It helps prevent your friends and family from worrying about you when they haven’t seen you in ages and only receive the occasional postcard from far and exotic lands (you do send postcards, right?) It also keeps you up to date with developments back home.
As soon as you are in a different country though, international call costs are high and depending where you are they can even seem prohibitively expensive. Never fear – VOIPs are here!
What is a VOIP?
VOIPs are ‘Voice over internet protocols’. Essentially they are software or downloadable applications that you can run on your smartphone or computer to make phone calls over the internet. Some offer video calls and there can be sms options too.
What do I need?
If using a computer you will need a microphone and speakers, as well as a webcamera if you plan to make video calls. You will also need an internet connection and then only need to choose which VOIP to use. If using a smartphone, all that should be covered and you will only need to install the VOIP. To use it you will need 3G or wi-fi.
The three following VOIPs offer slightly different services:
If you and the person you are calling both have viber on your phones then it is free to call each other and it is also free to send sms messages (including internationally) Currently I am living in a vastly different time zone to my family, so I am finding Viber’s free sms service especially useful. The sound quality on calls is very good and there is no account to set up as Viber uses your phone number to identify you. Further enhancing user convenience, there is no need to go through the process of adding contacts as Viber informs you if the contacts in your phone are already using Viber. It also uses realtime messaging (like an sms) to tell you whenever an existing contact starts using Viber.
For years Skype seemed the only VOIP anyone ever mentioned, but recently more competition has evolved. If you and the person you are calling both have Skype on your computer or phone then it is free to call each other, conduct video calls and instant message each other. Skype also offers the user the ability to sms and to call people who are not using Skype (calls can be to a mobile or a land line number) In order to call a non-Skpye user you must purchase credit, which then enables to you make these calls at a reduced rate.
If you are one of those people whose entire life is on Facebook then EasyTalk will certainly appeal to you. EasyTalk offers free calls and sms between users, including simultaneous sms and calling. EasyTalk compiles the contact details of all your Facebook contacts. Once you have downloaded EasyTalk you are sent an access code by email. When you input this on your phone you only need to sync with your facebook account to be setup and ready to make calls.
If all this VOIP talk is enough to turn you cross-eyed never fear you can at least spend less on international calls if you use a local SIM card in your phone. Or, to avoid collecting SIM cards, you could get one SIM card that has good rates in lots of countries such as a OneSIM. Click here for more information.
There are more VOIPs on the market now than ever before. I have looked closely here at three which provide slightly different services. There are also many others which offer similar services to those I have looked at here though. Do you have a favourite that I have not mentioned? Please share your recommendation in the comments below.