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Calling overseas to keep up with loved ones can be an expensive business. But it needn’t be if you shop around for an international calls plan as part of your broadband bundle or take advantage of excellent VOIP offers from the likes of Vonage.
Here we’ll take a look at the kind of international calling plans available to help you cut your call costs and bring your nearest and dearest a little bit closer to home.
Phone calls to UK locations don’t much cheaper than those made using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology. You can find a full explanation of VOIP, which enables you to make calls over the internet, at our dedicated guide page.
These are offered as a standalone product that you sign up for separately from your broadband and calls package.
Providers such as Vonage are leading the way on VOIP international calling plans. Below we talk you through what each one offers.
Vonage’s cheap international calling plans start at £4.99 per month. Perhaps the pick of its offerings, however, feature unlimited international calls to select countries and regions of the globe.
Opt for V-Plan US, for instance, you get Unlimited calling to UK, US and Canada landlines and mobiles from £4.99 per month. V-Plan 2 and V-Plan 3, meanwhile, start from £5.99 per month and £6.99 per month and offer unlimited landline calls to 26 countries and 24 countries respectively.
To take advantage of Vonage’s plans, you’ll just need a broadband connection and a Vonage phone adaptor.
Most broadband providers offer ways to help you trim your international calling costs. Often these take the form of add-ons, which you can add to your broadband bundle for an extra monthly charge.
Other providers offer cheaper international calls included in the calls facet of a home phone and broadband deal. That means you don’t have to sign up for any add-ons to get cheap overseas calls.
BT’s Friends & Family International add-on, for instance, lets you call 236 international destinations for as cheaply as 2.5 pence per minute. This is priced not much more than £1 per month.
Opt for BT’s International Freedom add-on for £5 or so per month and you’ll benefit from inclusive calls to 36 countries and discounted calls to a further 199 countries.s.
Plusnet’s entry-level Essentials broadband and calls deal offers inclusive international calls. Sign up and you'll get 300 anytime call minutes per month to 35 top international destinations for no extra charge.
Customers who sign up for The Post Office’s home phone offers benefit from low-cost international calls to a host of countries, including USA, South Africa, Australia, China and a host of European nations.
Under the Post Office’s pricing plans calls made to these countries between 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday and in the evenings between 6pm and 6am are charged at 5 per minute.
Weekend calls between Friday 6pm and Monday 6am to the same destinations are completely free.
Locations included in the Post Office’s offer are:
Countries included in the Post Office’s Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Canary Islands, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan & USA.
Sky Anytime international calls is another plan that offers cheap calls. This features unlimited calls to 20 international locations of up to one hour in duration.
Countries included are Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Rep, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA
Calls to mobiles in Canada and USA are also free with Sky Anytime.
Sky Talk Weekends subscribers qualify for cheap international calls to same locations, but cannot call overseas for free.
Essentials and Plus TV customers can sign up for International Boost and get unlimited anytime calls to the 36 most popular landline destinations including Australia, USA and Europe.
Discounted rates to all other international destinations are also included.
Margot James has underlined the need for broadband providers to pass on the price benefits of Ofcom's recent wholesale market reviews.
Plusnet is running a short-term trial of bundles combining broadband with free evening, weekend and mobile calls.
Ofcom has invited UK internet providers to state their interest in becoming suppliers for the Universal Service Obligation.
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