International dialing – Four cheap long-distance call options
In this modern day of international business, phone calls spanning different countries or continents are becoming derigeur. Traditionally pretty expensive – a known truth by anyone who has ever accidentally made an international call on vacation – there are now a range of cheap options your business should be taking advantage of.
Skype may sound obvious – it’s been going around the block for years as the go-to video caller – but the program has some excellent plans available to customers for cheap international calls.
As well as affordable credit, Skype’s ‘Unlimited World’ package allows users to call landline numbers in 60 countries, as well as mobile numbers in a few others. It’s affordable, easy to use and – with Skype’s mobile app – can be used on the move. The first month is free, too, so give it a try with nothing to lose.
Moving past netTALK’s insistence on spelling its name all funny, netTALK is actually a really useful app that allows users to make international calls via wifi, 3G or 4G connectivity. Complete with a fancy-pants messaging app, netTALK’s multiple offerings also include hardware in the form of a home phone and wifi combination.
The messaging app comes with an inbuilt, encrypted VPN for the utmost security and privacy. All of these different elements are – technically – independent apps. However, a clever portal connects them all in one place, making it easy to find them when you want to.
Zoom aims to make conference calling as frictionless as possible and offers a free platform on which to host meetings. Clearly aimed at a more corporate or business-minded demographic, Zoom is a great way to plan and execute meetings with clients or suppliers wherever they are in the world.
Users just dial into a video or audio conference, using the code supplied to them by the call’s host, or share their own code. Zoom is arguably easier to use than Skype for business calls too, as it does not require anyone to ‘add’ anyone else beforehand. Callers can pass like ships in the night before and after their conversation, reducing the hassle of organizing a call in the first place.
KeKu is used by some 13 million people worldwide to make international calls to families and friends. KeKu is an app that runs on iOS and Android phones (like netTALK) and also gives users in some countries, but not all, the chance to use the local number of a different country.
Essentially, KeKu gives users a unique number for each international contact that they have, enabling them to make ‘local’ calls at affordable rates. It’s a good concept, but the localized numbers do not yet have global coverage. In some countries, users will need to call via the internet connection instead.
Globally, there are around 50 million expats living and working in countries that they were not born in. These options cater for these people and their families at home – as well as other countless millions of tourists and travelers – by making it easier than ever before to speak to their friends and loved ones over long distance.