Staying in touch with friends and loved ones is tough when they are a long way away. Crossing international borders makes things even harder as distance and various time zones come into play.
But keeping that connection is essential for our mental health and wellbeing, which is why it’s important to ensure we have an easy way of staying in touch with loved ones regardless of their age or ability to use technology.
We’ve come a long way since the only option for calling abroad was using our home landline which inevitably would result in a hefty bill at the end of the month.
These days with over 44% of the world’s population owning a smartphone, it’s internet and smartphone technology which is leading the revolution in international communications.
With examples such as Whatsapp, Facetime, Skype, Facebook, Zoom, nowadays there are a plethora of options that only require an internet enabled device for us to connect with friends or family around the globe.
But where does this leave those people who don’t have a smartphone either because they can’t afford one or simply don’t know how to use one? Let’s explore some of the best options for making cheap international calls without using an internet enabled device like a smartphone.
Landline phone provider
Before the internet revolution, this used to be the only option for millions wanting to stay in touch with friends and family, and unfortunately for many, this is still the only option.
The UK’s leading landline network BT for example charges 55p per minute on their standard international rate for a call to the USA.
For many this rate is sufficiently high that they will likely wish to avoid long calls for fear of mounting costs. £5.50 for a 10 minute phone call after all is a lot of money.
International phone cards
International phone cards were one of the first innovations that allowed landline callers to circumvent their usual carrier and enjoy cheaper rates.
UK post office for example sells international phone cards that enable you to call USA landlines and mobiles for just 2p per minute by dialing an 020 access number.
Users simply dial the access number, enter a PIN and then dial the international number. The call uses the credit on the phone card to pay for the international portion of the call.
You do of course need to go to the post office to buy and topup your card if you don’t have internet access.
International dial around service
International dial around services have been hugely popular in recent years as they enable the landline user to enjoy cheap calls without the need to buy a card or subscribe to a service.
Dial around service provider Pocketdial for example offers rates of 1p per minute to landlines and mobiles in a variety of international destinations including USA.
The service works much like a calling card but without the need for a PIN number. The user simply dials an 0870 access number and is charged 1p per minute plus a small access fee charged by their provider.
Users are able to contact their provider and ask how much it costs to call the access number in advance of making calls for complete peace of mind. They only pay for the cost of dialing the access number which appears on their usual phone bill.
These options remain popular for the thousands of users whose landline is their main communications device. In the age of the internet, it’s worth knowing that there are still affordable options for those unable to access the internet.