If you are a foreign student in the UK, calling your home country could become a costly experience. There are several options available to you, allowing you to save money on your international calls. Students calling abroad from a prepaid mobile especially, will soon run through their bank balances.
Skype is your best option if you have a Smartphone, laptop or computer. It is a Voice over Internet Protocol service that allows you to make free or very reasonably priced calls by using the internet.
You can use this service to make free calls from your device to another person registered with Skype and who has an internet connection. It is preferable that you have broadband as it is more stable. You can obtain Skype applications for Symbian, Android and Apple smartphones, however, you will be charged for data usage by your network provider, unless you are connected via WiFi when you are making calls.
If the person you wish to call does not have an internet connection, you have the facility to call their mobile phone or landline from your computer, but you will be levied with a charge by Skype. If you intend making regular international calls, you can save money by choosing of the three unlimited international call packages offered by this service. These packages are limited to certain countries.
This service is very similar to Skype. You can use this service to make cheap calls to a range of international zones. Vonage offers four international call packages and the package most suitable for your use will be dependent on the location you will be calling.
To make use of this service, you require a Vonage Phone Adapter which is connected to both your broadband router and your touchtone phone. This allows for your calls to be sent over the internet, at a reduced fee. Vonage, like Skype, offers a Smartphone application that allows you to make free calls to other users of this service.
International Calling Cards
International calling cards allow you to make calls to other countries at very little cost. You can obtain these cards from shops and supermarkets across the country. Most of the cards are preloaded with credit which means they are ready for immediate use.
It is simple to use and all that is required is that you dial the access number and enter the PIN code. Both of these numbers can be found on the card. You dial the required number, including the international dialling code, and the cost of that call will be deducted from the amount of credit you have available on the card. Some of the cards charge by the minute and these charges are often higher if made from a mobile phone. You should check to see if the card provider charges an additional fee for connecting each call as this will also be deducted from the available credit.
You should do some research and compare the different cards that are available to ensure that you find the best deal. One of the better cards is the Tesco International Calling Card as you can obtain one quite easily and it is easy to top up. All you will require to make use of this service is the calling card with credit, along with a mobile phone or landline.
Simply Dial Service
Simply Dial services or international access numbers is very similar to the calling card system. The one difference is that you do not require credit to make your call. All you need is an access number and a phone.
The process you follow is to dial the access number and as soon as you are connected, you enter the international dialling code and number. The call cost will be added to your bill for your landline or, if you are using a mobile, it will be taken from you pay as you go credit or call allowance.
This service is cheaper than direct calls from your mobile or landline. It is not as cheap as making use of a calling card though. Once again, you should check for additional charges. Calls to a landline in a foreign country are normally cheaper than to an international mobile. To make use of this service, you need to find a Simply Dial provider, a mobile phone or a landline to place your calls. You can obtain information about access providers by searching the internet.
Mobile Phone Providers in the UK
In the event that you brought your mobile phone with you, you should avoid using it to make international calls as the roaming charges are excessive. All the top mobile phone providers in the UK offer a variety of options if you wish to make cheap international calls. They all offer pay as you go, SIM only or pay monthly deals, depending on what you require. The providers you should research are Three, Orange, T-Mobile and O2.
Most of the landline providers in the UK offer call packages for international calls. Some of the packages offer discounts for particular international calls. You need to do research to ensure that you obtain the best deal available. You will need a landline service with an international calling plan to make use of this type of service.
Your best option is to make use of VOIP services, such as Skype. It offers you the facility to make free calls between smartphones and computers. If the number you are calling does not have access to VOIP, you can still use the service to make calls at a reduced rate
If you make use of a VOIP Smartphone application, you should check your data allowance on a regular basis. Your service provider may charge a penalty fee if you exceed your monthly allowance
In the event you are unable to make use of VOIP, you should compare all the available options for calling your chosen country at a cheaper rate. Do not settle on the first option
Speak to others who make international calls regularly, or to the International Students office at your educational institute to obtain a recommendation for a reliable Simply Dial or calling card provider
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