How to make free or cheap international phone calls

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Got family & friends abroad to lớn keep in touch with, or travelling overseas & looking for ways khổng lồ call home on the cheap? We"ve got you covered.

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Credit: Ka4an, Comaniciu Dan – Shutterstock


Having loved ones abroad doesn"t mean you"re doomed to a life of expensive calls and scary phone bills.

To prove just how easy it is khổng lồ stay in cảm ứng without making a serious dent in your monthly budget, we"ve compiled our đứng đầu tips on making không lấy phí or cheap international phone calls.

No more excuses not to điện thoại tư vấn mum & dad, then.


Cheap international SIMs & tariffs

If you"re looking for cheap international calls on a regular basis, it might be worth getting yourself a special mobile bundle lớn accommodate this.

You can pick up international SIM cards cheaply (often for free) and you just đứng đầu up as you go. Alternatively, you can speak lớn your smartphone contract provider khổng lồ find out the cost of a bundle to gọi home.

These are some of the best international SIM providers:

Best không tính tiền online calling apps

Here are the đứng đầu apps for không tính phí online calls:

Using an online call phầm mềm is by far the cheapest way to lớn make international calls. It doesn"t matter whether you"re both in the UK, one"s abroad or you"re both in a far-flung corner of the globe – as long as you & whoever you"re calling have access to the internet, you can chinwag lớn your heart"s content at no extra cost.

Note that both you và the person you"re calling need to lớn be signed up to lớn each phầm mềm to contact each other through it. Some of the online hotline apps offer "real world calls" to landlines & mobile phones if you buy credit, but this isn"t cost-effective. If you want to call someone on their phone number from an online service, read the next section.


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Paid online calling providers

A few of the không lấy phí online điện thoại tư vấn services above (like Skype) let you gọi real-world phone numbers, but at a cost. In other words, you could pay to use your Skype account to hotline your mate"s actual phone number, và it"d be just like a normal phone gọi – ideal if they"re not signed up khổng lồ any online calling services or they can"t access the internet.

However, while some of the big-name brands have this functionality, there are plenty of lesser-known companies that will let you vì this for much, much less.

Examples of providers with cheap international điện thoại tư vấn rates

Here are some companies that let you hotline phone numbers in exactly the same way that Skype does, just at a fraction of the cost:

Different companies will be cheaper depending on where you"re calling from & to, so it"s worth comparing the costs from a few providers before signing up. Fortunately, most of them list their prices and make them pretty easy khổng lồ find!

These providers all have mobile apps, too – many of which can access your tương tác list, making the process of actually making the điện thoại tư vấn about as seamless as it gets.

Regardless of who you go with, you"ll be paying in broadly the same way. You can either vị trí cao nhất up your trương mục with credit or, if you reckon you"ll be making regular calls to lớn a specific country, you could go for a monthly plan (this may work out cheaper in the long run).

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Once you"re on a call, you"ll pay a certain amount per minute (often as little as 1p), while some services will also charge a connection fee too.


If your access to WiFi is patchy, make sure you keep an eye on your data usage. These services use the mạng internet to make calls, và if you"re not careful, you may end up paying an arm and a leg in excess data charges.

Override providers


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Credit: GaudiLab – Shutterstock


Override providers allow you to gọi abroad from any phone by dialling what"s known as an "access number", followed by the actual phone number you"d lượt thích to call. Since an Ofcom ruling back in 2015, most override providers are now pretty pricey – except for one.

18185 is more expensive than paid online calls and free online calls (obviously), but it should still be cheaper than calling an international number straight from your phone.

Rather than having to địa chỉ credit to your tài khoản (which can sometimes mean you"ll spend too much and never use it), with 18185 you simply phối up a Direct Debit and get charged at the over of each month based on your usage.

You can see the full các mục of rates here, & there"s also a 4p connection charge. While these calls aren"t free, the savings are often pretty significant. You could be looking at knocking an expensive hotline down to as little as 1.5p/min!

Note that you can still use 18185 if you"re calling from a landline – it"s just that the process is a little different. You"ll need to set up an account và Direct Debit, but lớn make a hotline you"ll have lớn dial 18185 và then the number you want to lớn call.


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Cheap international calling cards

If you prefer to lớn keep things simple & don"t want khổng lồ risk spending money you don"t have, an international calling thẻ is definitely a goer.

You can buy an international calling card online or in some shops, like the Post Office. You"ll usually have the option khổng lồ buy one with a preset value (like £5, £10, £20, etc.), and depending on where you buy your card, you"ll either have to scratch the back of the thẻ to reveal a unique access number to call or have it emailed khổng lồ you instead.

Again, once you"ve dialled the access number, you"ll then need to lớn enter the actual number you"d lượt thích to call. Rates will differ depending on where you"re calling to/from, but typically you"ll only pay a rate per minute with no access charges.

One of the most popular international calling cards comes from Tesco. Khổng lồ get started, download the Tesco International Calling tiện ích (details here).

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