Your Options for Calling Abroad

by Brandon Ackroyd - , Last Updated on May 12, 2015, How To Guides

Calling abroad on your mobile can get pretty pricey. But with so many of us giving up our landline phones, sometimes there’s just no other option. Maybe you have family abroad, maybe you need to do business, but if you need to phone outside of the UK you do have several options. We’re taking a look at what your options are, so you can decide what’s right for you.

App Calling Options

Probably your best bet is going to be to call abroad using an app that allows phone calls. There are a few of these around, the best known being Skype and Viber, though WhatsApp has just started allowing calling too. The best part about using an app to make your calls is that it’s potentially free. If you’re using your home WiFi connection (or someone else’s WiFi) then in app calling is going to cost you nothing. No data will be deducted from your mobile phone plan, and no minutes will be deducted either.

However, you will need to make sure that the person you’re calling has the same app as you. And you probably won’t be able to call landline numbers, though some apps such as Skype allow you to add credit and call landlines. This will entail paying for your call using PayPal or a credit card though. Plus, if you’re not connected over WiFi, then app calling will suck away your mobile data plan pretty fast.

Calling Cards

Don’t be too hasty when it comes to calling cards. Yes, they’re still available on sale, though they’re not as popular as they used to be, and they could be the best way of doing what you need to do. You buy a card with a certain amount of credit, and then connect to the number you want. You’ll be able to talk while there’s still credit on your calling card, and only the regular per minute UK charges (or minutes from your mobile phone plan) will be charged.

If you want to make a one time only call, or if you only need to make calls to abroad for a limited time (say while your girlfriend is on her two week holiday to Australia), then a calling card is going to be the cheapest way of calling. It probably won’t be worth investing in a special mobile operator deal, since you’ll only need to call for a limited period.

Calling with Operators

If you need to call abroad on a regular basis then you’ll probably be better off just opting for an operator calling plan that allows you to do so. Different UK operators charge different prices, and prices can vary a lot depending on where you need to call. Yes, you can probably use your regular minutes to call, but that’s going to get costly (and isn’t always possible, depending on your operator). So most operators offer special calling abroad packages. We’ve outlined the options for the major UK operators below.

With Three

If your mobile operator is Three and you have a pay monthly contract then your best option is to add an International Calling Add On. This option renews monthly (meaning you can cancel it or renew it every thirty days) and gives you 3,000 minutes for £15.32 per month. The list of countries you can call is available on the Three website, but is pretty comprehensive.

If you use Three pay as you go then you’ll need to check the Three website for the appropriate dialling code. Using a specific dialling code for the country you wish to call you’ll get cheaper rates than simply calling the country direct, but you’ll need to get the code for each separate country you want to call.

With O2

O2 have a special Bolt On called International Favourites. For £10 a month you can call certain countries (the list is long) for 3,000 minutes to landlines or 100 minutes to mobile numbers. O2 also offer a £5 pre paid phone card that you can use to call abroad, with landline calls costing 2p per minute and mobile calls costing 9p per minute.

With Vodafone

If you’re on pay monthly with Vodafone then all you need to do is add Call Abroad to your phone plan. This will cost you £10 per month for 75 calling minutes, £15 for 125 minutes or £20 for 200 minutes. If you’re pay as you go you’ll need to opt into Vodafone’s international calling option and you’ll then get discounted rates per minute. Find out how to opt in by checking out the Vodafone website or talking to a Vodafone representative.

With Tesco Mobile

Currently Tesco Mobile don’t seem to offer any special packages or discounts for calling abroad. You can check the Tesco Mobile website for information on price per minute to various countries.

With EE

EE have a ton of options for calling abroad, and you’ll need to check specifically for the country that you’re calling to. They do have a free add on that gives you cheaper prices per minute to each country. Alternatively, you can opt for packages, such as 100 calling minutes to most EU countries for just £6 a month, or £10 a month for 250 minutes. There is also a variety of different packages for different amounts of minutes and texts depending on where you want to call. EE is probably the most flexible operator for calling abroad.

With Orange

Orange will add a Calling Abroad Bundle to your phone plan for £2 a month, which gives you cheaper calling rates to over sixty countries world wide. They also offer monthly packages with different amounts of minutes and texts that you can choose to add each thirty days. The prices of these packages depend on the country you wish to call.

With T-Mobile

T-Mobile will give you a free calling abroad add on if you request it, which will give you cheaper calling rates to 67 countries around the world. Simply ask for the International Pass to be added to your account. They currently do not seem to offer any special bundles for calling abroad, however.

Wherever you want to call, whatever the reason, you’ll need to look at pricing options carefully before picking up your phone. But if you plan things right, then calling outside of the UK needn’t cost you a fortune.

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