Cheap International Calls: Prepaid Phone Services vs Free Mobile Apps

7th November 2022

Everyone’s looking to save money on international calls these days and for good reason! Individuals and business owners alike can save serious pennies by using prepaid phone services or free mobile apps to drive down the costs of connecting overseas. But, which option works best for you?

If you want to make cheap international calls from the UK, you’re really spoilt for choice. But why would you choose to pay for a service when there are free options available? The answer might surprise you.

In this guide, we’ll look at prepaid phone services and mobile apps and weigh which route to cheap overseas calling might suit you best.

What are prepaid phone services?

Prepaid phone services, like those offered by Planet Telecom, let you make cheaper calls to international lines through access numbers. All you need to do is enter the access number, a PIN of your choice, and the international number you’d like to call.

You’ll then connect to your overseas contact at a cheaper rate than you’d expect from a landline and mobile carrier. To pay for this service, you simply load up your account and PIN online, e.g. from your own Planet Telecom dashboard. It’s a great way to keep track of your spending when you need to reach international clients or friends based overseas!

Business owners can use dynamic PINs to keep security up to speed or assign different PINs to different users in the same office.

You might not even choose to use a PIN – with CLI recognition, an international access system can recognise the number you’re calling from and accept your prepaid credit.

It’s thought that business owners could save up to 96% on costs currently incurred through international calling! There are big savings for individual callers, too – and all you ever need to do is prepay your credit and call that access number to get started. Any line, any time – it’s super flexible!

What are free mobile apps?

The clue’s in the name, and chances are you already use one or two of them! WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Line, and Telegram are all mobile services that let you call overseas without needing to pay per minute.

So, how does this work? It’s all down to data. These apps allow you to call international numbers through mobile data or WiFi. If you connect your smartphone to your home or office broadband, you can make a call overseas to any number that uses the same app and is connected to data.

These apps are popular because they’re free to use – providing you have a reliable data connection, there’s no reason why you’ll have to pay for any minutes you’re on a call. You can also install most of the popular international mobile apps across iOS, Android and Windows phones regardless of model.

What are the pros and cons of prepaid services?

While you have to pay to use a prepaid phone service to some extent, the costs are much lower than you’d expect through your landline or mobile network. The only real drawback is that, yes – you will have to pay to call – we’re being completely transparent, here!

Beyond that, using prepaid services are extremely easy to use. Just top up online, dial the access number, enter your PIN, and the number you want to call. Providing your telephone carrier covers you for 08 numbers, there will be no extra charges on top of your prepaid rate.

With that in mind, always check your landline and/or mobile tariff before you pick up the phone. Planet Telecom offers access numbers starting with 08 prefixes – and while most mobile and landline packages should cover these lines to some extent, it pays to be careful and check. If you’re covered, you can expect a cheap overseas call from the UK that won’t drive your monthly bills skywards.

Prepaid services aren’t reliant on spotty internet connectivity, and won’t require whoever you’re calling to use the same apps as you. It’s the quickest, easiest way to call abroad, and it’s certainly a massive saving over traditional tariff rates.

What are the pros and cons of mobile apps?

Mobile apps such as WhatsApp are instantly appealing because they’re free to download and set up. Providing your recipients are using the same apps and are connected to the internet, you can chat for free. You can also download apps in a flash – there’s very little setup required.

However, there are some drawbacks. As mentioned, whoever you call needs to use the same apps as you, and needs to stay connected to the internet. In circumstances where you may not expect steady data connectivity, this option isn’t always viable.

There are also some concerns over services such as WhatsApp switching you back to standard call rates mid-conversation if your internet drops out.

Beyond this, there’s also the fact some mobile apps aren’t supported in all overseas territories. Services such as WhatsApp, owned by Meta, aren’t available to download and use in China, for example – meaning if you wish to call a Chinese number, your options start looking limited.

What’s the best option for cheap international calls?

While you will still have to pay for calls overseas through a prepaid service, there’s no risk of you reaching out to an incompatible app, and you don’t have to worry about staying connected. Beyond this, Planet Telecom makes sure that all international rates supported are competitive and better value than what you’d expect to pay through mobile and landline carriers.

With prepaid calling through Planet Telecom, you can also access detailed call reports and support from a dedicated account manager. Therefore, you’re never in the dark when it comes to connecting for less overseas.

While mobile apps can offer free calls outright upon download, they’re not as reliable as prepaid services that provide voice clarity and steady connections. Both options have their pros and cons – it’s time to consider which route offers you the best value for money and the best quality in service!

Planet Telecom is pleased to offer flexible, affordable prepaid calling overseas that cost less than you’d expect. To find out more about our cheap international calls, take a look at our access number services online, or contact us directly to take full advantage.

Now’s the time to start saving money on international calls – whether for family, friends, or business!