Cheap international telephone calls

93 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi,

 

So what are people here using for cheap calls back home? I see that with Deutsche Telekom, a call to the UK is 2.43 cents/min, with MwsT that'll be about 3 cents/min. With Skype's PhoneOut service it's 1.7c/min (2.0c/min with MwsT). That's a pretty good saving (33%) but I'm wondering if anyone manages better than that. The Skype PhoneOut quality is perfect if you're using DSL (and my DSL is only 728/128 so I'm at the bottom of the speed scale). I've noticed that Yahoo Voice is only 1.0c/min (1.2c/min with MwsT) but I have a couple of problems with them ... (a) you can't try their service before you buy, unlike Skype who have a test call number and they give you a few free minutes worth of calls, (B) they talk about firewalls and ports in a way that implies you have to open up a lot more than you do with Skype.

 

Does anyone else have anything in this price range? Anyone know of any international flat rates? Skype offers national flat rates but not yet international.

 

I'm looking to get into this full time - to make all my international calls via whatever alternative I find.

 

I just had to call my bank in the UK and had a UK freephone number (0800) to dial. I used Skype to make the call and was amazed that at the end of the call, my balance of remaining credit on Skype hadn't gone down at all. Of course we'd hope and expect this to be the case, but I guess I'm just used to being disappointed with these things.

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Posted

www.billigertelefonieren.de/. No doubt you can call for free if you install software, or listen to adverts, or have a crap-quality line, but I pay 0.89c per minute plus tax to the UK, can use my normal Festnetz telephone, don't need my computer on etc.
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Posted

Have to agree with STB. The call by call numbers off that website make calling so cheap it's just not worth farting about with any other method.

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Posted

Really it depends how much you talk - when I look at my monthly bill I see the vast majority is fixed fees for line rental, DSL, flat-rate and so on. Even at 4ct/min I'd have to talk for days to make the call costs anything like significant compared to the flat fees, and the costs are sinking almost daily. Telekom even do free calls to France for a fee of 4 euro/month (I think), and the UK is also very cheap under such a plan. For me it's just not worth the hassle for the amount I talk. All this means I can use a normal phone and forget all Skype's problems. It's a few euro more expensive but a lot less hassle.

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Posted

For about the 100th time, people do not have to pay for calls to landlines in almost any first world country, or even for mobiles to the US. Go to www.voipcheap.com, download their software and then call. If you don't want to use your computer headphones, either get a VoIP router like a Fritzbox or just use the voipcheap call back service. It costs 5c per call I think, but with no time limits. You can test it free on their site. Mobiles are not free, but they are very cheap. 6c per minute to the UK for example.

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Posted

Thanks for the quick responses. Those call-by-call 5 digit numbers look to be unbelievable value. My choice would be 01027 (0.87c/m UK, 1.4c/m USA). I think for calls to the UK (friends/family) which are currently costing me about 15 euros/month at 3c/m on Telekom should be well under 5 euros/month now :) As for calls to the USA, which I average about 45 mins/day during the workweek, I'm going to look into voipcheap.com. I see there are limits to the free minutes at 300mins/week. I haven't read all the info there yet, but I'll certainly want to make use of those 300 minutes at least.

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Posted

 

For about the 100th time, people do not have to pay for calls to landlines in almost any first world country, or even for mobiles to the US. Go to www.voipcheap.com, download their software and then call.

First time I've seen it B)

 

Have you been using voipcheap for more than 90 days yet? There's some unusual 90 day limit of "Freedays" after which you have to start paying. Or at least that's the way it sounds http://www.voipcheap.com/en/freetrial.html but they say that if you top up your credit then you get more freedays. It's all a bit unclear. I'd love to hear how you've been using it (hopefully for more than 90 days). I only plan to call the UK and US landlines and would most likely exceed 300 mins per week if I used it for both.

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Posted

 

First time I've seen it

If you'd done a search, you'd see that this topic has been covered a lot in the past, but then when it comes up again everyone still talks about how they're getting a "great rate" at 3c per minute.

 

 

Have you been using voipcheap for more than 90 days yet? There's some unusual 90 day limit of "Freedays" after which you have to start paying. Or at least that's the way it sounds http://www.voipcheap.com/en/freetrial.html but they say that if you top up your credit then you get more freedays. It's all a bit unclear. I'd love to hear how you've been using it (hopefully for more than 90 days). I only plan to call the UK and US and would most likely exceed 300 mins per week if I used it for both.

You can call the UK for free too with voipcheap.com. 300 minutes is a lot of talking, but after that it is still cheap at 1c per minute. If you're really making a lot of calls, you could just sign up for two accounts to get 600 minutes a week free.

 

You do have to top it up every 90 days to keep getting free calls. If you don't top up after 90 days, it will start charging you 1c per minute for the previously free numbers. If you put in another 10 euros, it'll be free again.

 

I find that I run out of the 10 euros before 90 days anyway from calling mobile phones. You can also SMS with their service for 5c. I have a Fritzbox and use this service as my only phone line, so when I call within Germany it uses it too. Mobile calls in Germany are cheaper with it than almost any other service.

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Posted

So it sounds like this is effectively a flat rate for 40 euros per year.

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Posted

www.voipstunt.com offers 120 freedays - offered by betamax the same as voipcheap.com so quality &c will be the same, just slightly more expensive to mobiles and so on (see http://backsla.sh/betamax for all betamax prices). I guess it depends how much credit you use and exactly where you're calling as to which one you'll want to use.
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Posted

Thanks, I'll look into that one too. I just made my first test call to a UK landline with voipcheap.com and although the sound quality was perfect, there was a 2-3 second delay. I would say something and then wait 2-3 seconds before I heard the response (e.g. a laugh, or a yes/no). I think I couldn't use that for work meetings. That was just from Germany to UK. When I call the US I can only imagine it would be worse. Yesterday I had a Skype phoneout conversation with someone in California and the delay was less than 0.5 of a second.

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Posted

Well, maybe when I top-up my voipcheap credit, I might get a better service than on the free trial, but if not, then it's not really useable for a conversation. The 2-3 second delay and the call being dropped half way through didn't impress :( I looked at voipstunt.com and that looks identical to the voipcheap website. The only difference between the two from the website point of view is that the word cheap is replaced with stunt, and 90 days is replaced with 120. Did any voipcheap/voipstunt users notice a difference between the free trial and the credited version in terms of delay?

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Posted

This was why I jumped in first and said don't waste your time with internet telephoning. Unless you're permanently on the phone, 1c a minute, on your landline phone, without having to worry about how long you have left before your call gets cut off or your credit runs out or it's not free today because it's a Wednesday and the sun is shining, is cheap enough.

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Posted

I use voipcheap for pretty much all outgoing calls (vie a fritzbox) - quality is fine to my ears (although the other half reckons it's not quite as good as proper landlines) and I've never noticed a delay, and not yet hit the 300 mins a week limit (even if the other half has a good go at it sometimes). Once or twice had problems with calls being dropped, but most of that was syncronisation problems on the DSL line rather than VOIP problems per se (and fixed by a call to customer support to get them to fiddle at their end and using a modem between the fritzbox and the line as apparently they're not that great when you've got a high signal-noise ratio on the line, which we have)

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Posted

 

This was why I jumped in first and said don't waste your time with internet telephoning. Unless you're permanently on the phone, 1c a minute, on your landline phone, without having to worry about how long you have left before your call gets cut off or your credit runs out or it's not free today because it's a Wednesday and the sun is shining, is cheap enough.

I'm totally in agreement on how cool those by-call numbers are. Figured it was worth a try to see if free calls (for my longer USA calls) were any good.

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Posted

Skype is no longer competitive (except for Skype-Skype) as they now charge a 4.5cent connection charge in addition to 1.95cents per minute for the call, voice quality is getting worse, and unless you invest in more expensive equipment you need a PC to manage the call.

 

The Betamax nest of (many) companies offers probably the best deal in terms of price, but to use them properly you need VoIP hardware (or PC software like Skype) and they change the rules and the charges regularly so it's easy to get caught out.

 

Call-by-call offerings in Germany are probably the most reliable, easiest to use, and in the long term save the most money, but again you need to review the offerings regularly to make sure you are always using the cheapest, not only in terms of per minute costs, but also possible connection charges and call timing (1 or 5-minute charging units). Although it may not be immediately obvious, many of the call-by-call offerings are based on VoIP and some are even run by the Betamax folks (01035 for example

 

Whichever services you consider, always look carefully at calls to mobiles (in Germany or worldwide) as proportionally these are the most expensive by an order of magnitude and is where the most savings are to be made (except, of course to US Cellphones, as they are treated as landlines connections for the purposes of charging)

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Posted

 

I'm totally in agreement on how cool those by-call numbers are. Figured it was worth a try to see if free calls (for my longer USA calls) were any good.

One small tip, make sure you only use the ones with "Tarifanzeige", i.e. the ones that tell at the beginning how much it costs per minute. The rates change without notice and without that you could suddenly find yourself paying far more than you thought.

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Posted

We have an English telephone (0845 number) through the internet well cheaper than ringing from the German landline

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Posted

Good for you - care to share the details with everyone else or are you just gloating?

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