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Do you want to call the world for free? Or maybe at the lowest rates possible? If you didn't know, there are many Internet services that allow you to make low-cost phone calls to any mobile or landline phone on the planet, using only your computer, mobile phone or even a traditional telephone set.
In this guide you will find all of the best services that can help you make free, or almost-free, phone calls to anywhere in the world.
Photo credit: Photo-Dave
To make cheap international phone calls via the Internet, you can utilize one among the many Internet-based VoIP services out there.
All of these VOIP calling services allow you to place a phone call via one or more of your preferred communication devices:
- Computer: Instant messaging tools enhanced with VoIP capabilities like Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Live Messenger and others, allow you to make cheap international phone calls among other users (e.g. Skype users can call other Skype users for free), but also let you call landline or mobile phones for very low rates.
- Mobile phone: Recent mobile phones and smartphones that support fast networking technologies like 3G or HSDPA can seamlessly make international calls. You only need to download and install the mobile application of your preferred service to get started.
- VoiP-enabled telephone: Several manufacturers produce telephones or external phone adapters that support the VoIP protocol. You can call the world for free just like you would make any other standard domestic call. The only difference is that your phone must be connected to the Internet either via Wi-Fi or via a standard Ethernet cable.
Once restrained only to computer-computer communications, the VoIP protocol has come of age during recent years and now allows you to get in touch with other people also from your landline phone, your Internet-connected mobile and any other device that are able to connect to the web at much lower rates than with traditional telephones.
Let's see an example of how you can save money to make an international phone call using Skype, one of the services that has greatly fostered the adoption of VoIP technology all over the world.
- The first step is to register online with Skype and to buy some pre-paid phone credit. You can do this by using your credit card or an online payment service like PayPal.
- With that phone credit you can now dial, directly from your computer, any telephone number, landline or mobile out there on the planet while paying much lower rates than those charged by your traditional telecom provider.
What many people do not know yet, is that services like Skype, can be accessed not only from desktop PC or laptop but also from mobile phones that are Internet-enabled, as well as from traditional telephones when matched to one of these low-cost international calling services.
In essence, you can make cheap international phone calls by using any of the services reviewed in this guide, some of which allow you to call (and some even to receive) from your computer, while others allow you to make phone calls directly from your mobile phone or traditional landline.
To make it easier for you to evaluate the best service to call the world for free, in this guide you will find a comprehensive mindmap, a comparative table and a set of mini-reviews to help you make the right choice.
Here the criteria I have used for my comparison:
- Receive phone calls, not just make phone calls.
- Send / receive SMS text messages
- Voicemail service
- Availability of a mobile phone version
- Operating system supported
Here's a roundup of the best tools to call the world for free available out there.
N.B.: The present list of tools is updated on an ongoing basis. You may want to bookmark this page (simply hit CTRL+D on your Windows keyboard or CMD+D on your Mac keyboard), as I am always adding more services.
As a side note, I would always recommend to use a headset if you want superior phone call quality. In fact, even a headset is not compulsory, having an external mic and headphones can greatly help in reducing echo and ambient noise.
Call the World for Free - The Services
Calleveryone.com is a VoIP service that can be used to make low-cost and free international calls from your computer or from your landline phone (in this case you need to buy an adapter). Calls among registered users of calleveryone.com are completely free. A basic calling plan costs $7/month + $.039 per call. Key features include voicemail and conference calls . SMS text messaging is not available. Registration is mandatory.
VoIPVoIP is a free downloadable program based on VoIP technology that allows you to make international calls in a pay-as-you-go fashion from your computer (Windows and Mac), landline or mobile phone (Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Nokia, Symbian and Windows Phone). You can use VoIPVoIP for both residential and business calls. Features include: voicemail, virtual number, local phone number portability. SMS text messaging is not available. You need to register to utilize the service.
iConnectHere is a free downloadable desktop software that you can use to make and receive low-cost calls from anywhere in the world using your computer (Windows 2000, Me, XP, 2003, Vista and Windows 7), landline phone (free phone adapter available) or mobile devices (iOS, BlackBerry, Android and Symbian). You can choose between two kinds of plans in a pay-as-you-go fashion (free or $1.95/month) and four options of paid plans starting at $5.95/month. Other features include: wi-fi calls, virtual calling card and voicemail. No SMS text messaging is available. Registration is mandatory.
Whistle Phone is a free downloadable software that allows you to make low-cost international calls from your computer (Mac or PC) to any landline (using a SIP-phone) or mobile phone (iPhone 4 or 4S, iPad and iPod Touch). Two pricing plans are available: Free (20-minute free trial) and Premium (starting at 1.0¢/minute). You need to create an account to download and install the software program.
Whistle Phone rates
PhoneKall is a free downloadable VoIP-based software that you can use to make calls from and to any destination in the world using your computer (Windows only) or mobile phone (apps for Windows Phone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian and iPhone are available). There are four pricing plans available: $5, $10, $15 and $20. You have to register to use PhoneKall. Presently not available to EU residents.
Globe7 is a free downloadable software (Windows, Linux and Mac) that can be utilized to make free and low-cost international calls from your computer to other computers, to landline phones or mobile devices (Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian OS). Other features include: SMS text messaging, text chat, conference chat and file transfer. To download the software no registration is required.
ITP Global Cell
ITP Global Cell is a calling service that you can use to make international calls at low-rates using any mobile device. After making your registration, ITP will register your number to the system and provide you with a virtual number that you can save to your cell phone and use whenever you want to call anywhere in the world. Plan prices start at $4.99, but you can also include other features (such as: voicemail and a fax line) to your plan for an additional fee.
Net2Phone Comm Center
Net2Phone Comm Center is a freely downloadable Windows software (Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, NT, XP) that allows you to make and receive phone calls at very low-rates. Net2Phone makes possible both computer-to-computer free calls as well as low-cost calls from your computer to a traditional landline anywhere in the world. Also available a fax and instant messaging facility. To download the software you need first to register on the site.