Once you leave your service provider’s coverage area, calls – and even texts – can be outrageously expensive. Luckily, international call apps have you covered, even offering some useful features free of charge. All five of these Android apps are free to install, and all five do a great job of helping you keep in touch with friends, loved ones, and colleagues far away.
Want to avoid a massive phone bill filled with roaming charges and insane fees? Try using Viber for your international calling needs. Whether you’re at home or abroad, you’ll find this app helps you stay in touch in a variety of ways.
Let’s start with phone calls: Viber automatically syncs with your contacts list, so you don’t have to do any work before using the app. Unlike most free calling apps, this one lets users call landline numbers as well as mobile ones, meaning you can chat with people whether they have the app or not.
Next come the extras. Viber offers lots of different ways to connect, including text messages and video chat with others who have the app. Voice messages are another feature – they’re reminiscent of the push to talk style walkie-talkie conversations you might have enjoyed as a kid.
Are there any cons that come with using Viber? Users tend to like this app for the most part, providing plenty of positive feedback. International call packages are very inexpensive, and you can connect securely so long as you have access to an internet connection.
Believe it or not, Skype has been a steady online presence since 2003. It’s free to use for text chats, and you can also use it for video chats. The app also lets you make calls, but they’re often more expensive than those made with some other apps although you may save if you opt into a monthly subscription. Options include mobile to mobile and mobile to landline. Although calls tend to sound good, all users need to have Skype accounts, meaning you have to send requests to those who don’t yet have the app.
If you like the idea of transforming your mobile into a walkie talkie and sending voice chats instead of text messages, then you might like Dingtone – it’s one of a handful of apps that offer this capability. You can also make calls to other Dingtone users, and international calls are inexpensive, with the ability to contact mobile and landline numbers alike. The premium version comes with some nice extras, including call blocking and call forwarding. On the downside, some users complain that they have problems completing offers in exchange for free call credits.
It’s free with your Facebook account, and it’s one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet. Facebook Messenger lets you chat with anyone on your list of friends, and if you like, you can sync it to your contacts and use it to chat with people who don’t have the app.
As with most other free calling apps, Facebook Messenger comes with some pros and cons. On the pro side, it’s completely free. Additionally, it lets you make group calls if you’d like. Cons include frequent spam, sometimes from people on your friends list who mean well but aren’t aware that chain letters and videos sometimes contain viruses. Another downside is poor call quality in some cases. Many users never have a problem, but others do complain of static and the inability to hear. Overall though, Facebook Messenger gets good ratings. It’s definitely worth a try, particularly if you’re already a Facebook user.
For those who still have landline service, there’s an easy way to make inexpensive international calls from the home line as well as from mobile phones. The user can connect their Vonage account to up to two mobile phone numbers, so multiple people can use the same account. This service also offers group messaging, video messaging, and other features that make it more fun to stay in touch.
There are a few downsides to Vonage, mostly related to limitations. First, the service is limited to users who have AT&T or T-Mobile subscriptions. Second, calls can be made from U.S. phone numbers only. Third, some users report issues with calls dropping, or have trouble getting connected.
Positive aspects include good sound quality and low calling rates. As with many other services, users can manage their budgets by purchasing additional call credits in the app.