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Global Communicating: Tactics to Save Fees on International Calls

Global Communicating: Tactics to Save Fees on International CallsGlobal Communicating: Tactics to Save Fees on International Calls
How do you save fees on international calls?

Update: March 12th, 2024. 

International calls have always been essential, particularly in our modern, interconnected world. The call costs can accumulate quickly due to high call rates and roaming charges when you're conducting business with clients abroad. Apart from the fees and associated costs, international calling has numerous other challenges, including time zone differences and complex dialing codes, which cause misdialing and more expenses. Connection quality can also be a problem, leading to lower audio levels, delays, and, sometimes, dropouts.

This blog showcases the most practical tips to help reduce fees and optimize costs for international calls. That way, you can stay connected no matter where the other party is located without breaking the bank.

Understanding International Calling Costs

The costs associated with international calling
The costs associated with international calling

When making a phone call to a different country, you will be charged for it, and the cost depends on various elements: location, connection fees, and per-minute rates. Telecommunications service providers impose these charges and fees, often consisting of the base rate or flat fee, which is typically dependent on the service provider and the caller’s and recipient’s countries. Additionally, there is the per-minute rate, which is the cost based on the duration of the entire call.

Dialing codes can have associated fees, which, if entered incorrectly, can result in additional charges. These codes typically come in the following order: exit or international access code, which can be a plus sign, country code, local area code if needed, and phone number. 

Roaming charges may also apply, which can be charged for incoming and outgoing calls when using a mobile phone abroad. Peak-hour calling can also increase charges, depending on some providers. Additionally, certain providers might add service charges, including surcharges and connection fees.

Understanding how international calling fees are structured can help you make informed decisions, primarily to manage costs effectively. If it’s out of your budget, you can explore other alternatives to save money on global communication.

What About VoIP for International Calls?

The role VoIP plays in international calling
The role VoIP plays in international calling

VoIP is often viewed as the more cost-effective choice over landline and cellular networks, especially for international calls. Several VoIP providers have flat-rate plans, including cheap per-minute charges, along with key features such as support for video calls, file sharing, instant messaging, and other types of multimedia content. There is no restriction on physical location, allowing for making and receiving calls from anywhere worldwide.

VoIP services also offer scalability to accommodate the business's developing demands, such as extra lines and features like call forwarding, conference calling, and virtual phone numbers, without adding more physical infrastructure. Another advantage of VoIP services is that they integrate with other business tools to enhance productivity and efficiency, such as CRM systems and emails.

With the features above, you're probably wondering how much VoIP services cost. Here is a simple breakdown of the charges:

  • Activation fees: A one-time setup fee may be required for a new account
  • Subscription fees: Service providers offer monthly plans, often with fixed costs for a specific number of minutes and other features
  • Pay-as-you-go: You can also find service providers with per-minute charges based on the number of minutes used. This offer is excellent for those who make international calls from time to time, particularly to destinations not included in the subscribed service
  • Hardware: Although numerous VoIP providers don’t require you to add any more devices other than your smartphone or laptop, others may have proprietary hardware that you may be interested in
  • International rates: Although VoIP may have a fixed cost per minute for every call, some countries may have their own specific rate
  • Extra features: While advanced call management tools, call recording, and having a virtual phone number are attractive features, they add more to the overall cost of your subscription plan

Other companies provide Enhanced 911 (E911) services to identify the caller’s location information accurately. It should also be noted that VoIP services may be subject to taxes, depending on your area. Examples include Texas, Florida, and New York. Usage charges, including toll-free and international calls, are generally subject to taxes and fees in most US states. However, E911 involves industry-standard fees, which are separate from government taxes.

VoIP providers and their international rates

Businesses looking for international calling, along with other vital features and fair pricing, may want to look into the following VoIP providers:

  • Ooma: Ooma offers different plans for international calls, including unlimited and bundled minute plans that enable users to call more than 60 countries for a fixed rate. Monthly fees for these plans vary between $4.99 and $17.99. Additionally, calls between Ooma systems are consistently provided at no cost, regardless of geographic location 
  • OnSip: This provider offers free calls to more than 20 countries when purchasing their unlimited plan, priced at $18.95 monthly per user. These countries include the United States, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, and more. For other countries, OnSip applies special international dialing rates
  • 8x8: For voice, chat, and video calls, 8x8 is a good option, offering services in over 55 countries. Virtual number support is accessible in over 100 countries worldwide, and prices start at $24 per user, which will be billed annually. The service already includes unlimited voice calls to 14 countries. For other countries, the rate is $44 monthly for each user
  • Net2Phone: Besides the monthly service fee, Net2Phone's robust VoIP international calling bundle allows users to communicate with business partners and customers in more than 40 countries at no additional cost. This functionality facilitates uninterrupted communication with contacts across countries without incurring additional expenses.

Before subscribing to a VoIP service, check the service provider’s international presence and whether they cover the countries you usually call. Also, dive into user reviews to determine call quality and connection reliability, especially for international calls.

Choosing the Right International Calling Plan

How to choose the right international calling plan?
How to choose the right international calling plan?

Saving money on international phone calls is not limited to a VoIP subscription. A more important step that you should take is to select the service provider carefully. Several telecommunications companies now have international calling plans with discounted rates to attract new and existing customers, specifically those who frequently make overseas calls. 

Bundled minutes are best for making calls up to a specified limit with no additional charges; flat rates are generally charged per minute, often regardless of the call destination; and subscription plans include a fixed monthly fee, suitable for those who want a consistent monthly cost.

Look into the following areas to help you choose the service provider and plan suitable for your needs and preferences:

Your calling habits and usage patterns give you a clue about the best plan that matches your international calls' duration, frequency, and locations

Focus on the country you call the most. If you require a more diverse range, pick a plan that covers the destinations of your international contacts
Contract terms should be evaluated thoroughly, including fees, penalties, and plan changes, before you sign an agreement with a service provider

Before subscribing to a plan, always read reviews, especially about hidden fees. Additional features like call waiting, conference calling, and call masking can improve your communication experience. However, they can increase your total subscription cost and may not be worth it, mainly if you don’t frequently utilize these extra features.

The Cost-Saving Benefits of Wi-Fi Calling for Travelers

How does WiFi calling save money for travelers?
How does WiFi calling save money for travelers?

Saving money on international phone calls doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be as simple as connecting your smartphone to a Wi-Fi network. You can reach your connections without cellular data, often generating high roaming charges. You avoid charges because you’re connected to Wi-Fi since calls are routed through the Internet, not the cellular infrastructure.

Consider time zones and off-peak hours

You can find telecommunications providers with varying rates for peak and off-peak hours, which can substantially influence the overall cost of international calling. Often, reaching the recipient during peak hours can lead to higher per-minute charges. Therefore, you may want to check the provider’s time-sensitive rate structure to determine the best time to call.

Utilize calling cards wisely

Calling cards run on a prepaid system, meaning you purchase a specific number of minutes or amount in dollars in advance. Knowing the predefined parameters lets you control your budget and removes unexpected charges. Call cards may be for you if you don’t want monthly commitments and constantly need an Internet connection.

Consider other ways to communicate

Today’s modern world offers plenty of choices, like instant messaging platforms such as Telegram and WhatsApp, along with Zoom, Google Meet, and other video conferencing apps. Some may say that email communication through Gmail and Outlook is outdated but remains relevant in business. Of course, let’s not forget about VoIP services like Skype and Viber, as well as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and many other social media platforms that allow calls and video calls.

Conclusion

Saving money on international phone calls is possible with the simple tips above. You have several options, such as selecting the right service provider, using apps, and subscribing to VoIP services. You can also opt for Wi-Fi calling while considering time zone differences and off-peak hours to reduce call costs for expanding and strengthening your relationship with your international business contacts.

Additionally, costs can be optimized, and efficiency can be increased by deliberating alternative communication methods and selecting the most suitable calling plan. Implementing these strategies simplifies the management of international calling expenses, thereby facilitating uninterrupted cross-border communication.

Equipped with the best tips on saving fees, it is now important to choose the best VoIP provider for your business. To do so, read our reviews and compare providers. Additionally, we publish insightful blogs about the business phone system industry.

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