Staying in touch with your loved ones can be hard when they live overseas, especially when you want to see them or hear their voice. Fortunately, VOIP makes international call much easier – and cheaper. Here’s how to use Internet calling to hold a long-distance audio or video call.
VOIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is making it easier than ever to keep in touch with loved ones around the world.
Perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend is taking a gap year in Australia, or a family member has moved out to Europe. You can avoid the cost of using your landline or mobile phone to call them by making Internet phone calls instead.
For those not in the know, making VOIP calls couldn’t be simpler. Here’s how to call an international phone number or overseas computer using VOIP.
You can make VOIP calls on a regular telephone if it’s connected to a VOIP router, or you can dial directly through your computer with a headset microphone.
Alternatively, you can download a VOIP app to your smartphone and make an audio or video call overseas on a portable device.
If you’re living in the US, but your family is based in England, a VOIP calling service such as Vonage will give you a British telephone number, even if your phone is located in the US.
This means that whenever you call your relatives in England, the bill only charges you for a local call – not an international call.
What’s more, if your family in England have the right calling plan, they may be able to call you for free.
You can get a pay as you go plan or a subscription, where you pay the same flat rate each month.
For example, you could add Skype credit to your account and make individual calls overseas, or you could sign up for a Vonage subscription and pay the same amount to call your family or friends regularly.
If you use pay as you go, international rates will be higher than local rates, but it will still be cheaper to use VOIP than a traditional landline.
The number of countries you can call using VOIP varies depending on your service providers, but most will offer the most popular options such as United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, India, Australia and China.
Visiting the website of service providers such as Ooma will tell you which countries you’ll be eligible to call if you sign up for a plan with them.
Making an international VOIP call requires the same format as a landline phone when dialing. In other words, you would enter:
International dialing prefix + country code + area code + local number.
You can use an app on your smartphone or a home or business phone to make international calls. All you need to do with a smartphone is download the app for a VOIP service provider, such as Ooma, sign up for a plan, and make sure your camera and microphone are working.
Then, you can dial out like you would with a regular phone,, making sure you use the correct country code, and enjoy the call.
If you’re using a home or business phone, you just need to sign up with a VOIP provider, connect their box to your router, and use the phone like you would usually to make an international call.
There are plans available for cheap international calls with many providers – for example, the Professional or Ultimate plan with Voyage allows you to make unlimited international calls to mobiles and landlines.
Making a call between two laptops or computers is completely free if you’re using a basic account with a VOIP service like Skype.
Simply log into your account and make sure you’ve added the contact you want to call by searching for their username.
The software automatically detects your devices for the call, such as a headset, microphone, cameras and speakers, so you can have a voice call or add the use of cameras for a video call.
Check your settings before making a call, so you can be sure your video and microphone are working correctly.
Select the audio or video button, which are phone and camera symbols, to make an audio or video call.
Once you’re connected, you can press one of these buttons again to switch between the type of call.
You can call more than one person at once by adding another participant – but if the user doesn’t have an account, and you need to call their mobile or landline, be aware that you may need Skype Credit or a Skype for Business account.