How to make international calls with your smartphone on the very cheap

How to make international calls with your smartphone on the very cheap
We recently had to call abroad for more than a few minutes on the go, and, you know, met with the wireless bill the hard way. So what's a cheapskate, who doesn't want their hard-earned cash to fulfill their carrier's otherwise noble network investment program to do?

Why, check the VoIP apps that use your phone's Internet connection, of course, and we don't mean just the usual suspects like Skype and Google Voice. In fact, there are quite a lot cheaper alternatives out there, which work just fine, so we thought we'd spare you the endless Android Market or App Store scouring.

We picked three apps, out of the six or seven we tried, which were a pretty good value for the money, and we show a few of their international calling rates in a table below, compared with the Skype and Google Voice stalwarts. Bear in mind that we were only interested in the cheapest rates we could find to call our buddies abroad, not their messaging functions or social networking integration, or any of those perks, although some do have those as well. 

The prices are in US cents per minute to a mobile phone in the respective country, as landline calling is pretty cheap across the board with all apps. We threw in one fairly exotic destination like Madagascar just for comparison's sake. The prices reflect those a casual international caller would be interested in, ones without any monthly or annual subscriptions, just loading ten or twenty bucks is enough to get you started.

Well, as far as cheap international calling via your smartphone goes, our hearts went to Fring, with FooCall the runner-up. Fring's rates are unbelievably cheap, beating the competition in the vast majority of cases, and we found call quality to be pretty stellar, not inferior to Skype or Google Voice in any way. Fring also has apps for iOS, Android and Symbian, and allows four-way video chat too as an added bonus, but we digress from our cheapskate motivation. 

The prices of FooCall are also very low, save for some exotic locations, plus it adds Windows Phone to the list of supported platforms, as well as BlackBerry and Symbian, and has a free trial. It also maintains local call numbers in many countries, so you can use a local PAYG card or another phone, and still take advantage of the cheap rates in your account, even without an Internet connection.

Tribair is pretty affordable, too, but we experienced some hiccups and hanging with its Android app, for example, and the app was not nearly as polished as the others. It gives you a small amount to try it for the first time, so you can check it out for yourself to a destination that interests you.

There you have it, a way to blabber from the couch with your buddies or relatives abroad without blowing up your phone bill, and we found the data consumption for those calls to be pretty low as well, if you are using your monthly data cap instead of Wi-Fi. If you've found something else worth mentioning in terms of price/voice quality/reliability ratio, by all means share in the comments below for all of us dealhunters to try out.

Fring | FooCall | Tribair (Android Market)
Fring | FooCall | Tribair (iTunes)

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12 Comments

1. GALAXY-S

Posts: 701; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

dang skype is pretty expensive... i use pennytalk , i get .09 to mexico mobile

2. Tarkio

Posts: 30; Member since: Jan 17, 2012

Or you can just get a Tracfone and the international minutes are the same cost as the local minutes. The lowest rate is 4.4 cents per minute and that allows calls to 50 or more countries.

3. racr79

Posts: 5; Member since: Apr 28, 2010

Or just get vonage mobile and pay 24 dlls per month and talk you want international

4. jim3000gt

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 13, 2011

Good Article. Fring is 16 cents per minute cheaper then AT&T to Asia. Thanks

5. Shinydesert

Posts: 62; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

To me the cheapest iswww.voipcheap.com I use their android app from the market Mobilevoip,free calls to a lot of destinations,specially the european ones. Screw the others.

6. jove39

Posts: 2146; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

There are plenty of 1c/min calling cards just google

7. Musty18591

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 11, 2012

well rynga is gr8 :) and super super looow

8. Danalvi1981

Posts: 49; Member since: Jun 02, 2010

If you just choose the Sprint International Long Distance and Text add-on for $15/monthly you use your Anytime Minutes when calling select international destinations. and receive discounted calling rates to the rest of the world! That's what I use and I never go over and I text more than I call them with this feature!

9. zaryab_hussain77

Posts: 104; Member since: Jun 30, 2011

Can anybody tell?which is the best and cheapest?

11. the_s2

Posts: 239; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Skype unlimited (to a specific country) if the country of your choice has skype unlimited plan. Except this unlimited plan, everything else by skype is super expensive.

10. the_s2

Posts: 239; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I use skype unlimited, costs me $23/month to India. and for my use, I find that super cheap, truely unlimited plan.

12. foocall

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

Hi everyone This is Sarah from FooCall. I just wanted to thank you for featuring us in your international calling apps comparison, and to offer support to any phonearena users wishing to install any of our apps. If anyone has any questions about FooCall, please don't hesitate to just drop us an email to ask (at) foocall.com. Best Regards, Sarah@FooCall

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