Internet Calling

Internet calling (commonly referred to as VoIP) allows users to call other people via their computer. These calls can either be PC to PC calls or PC to phone calls. By using the Internet for your phone service, long distance calls are free and international rates are cheaper than a calling card.

international calling with PC

Free Internet Calling

Make free calls using your computer

One of the best parts about using Internet calling is that you can reach anyone, anywhere in the world. 

There are several different ways to make Internet phone calls, and your Internet calling capabilities are largely determined by what provider you choose. There are many free Internet telephone services out there on top of many paid Internet telephone services...but the real question is, "What’s the difference?"  As a consumer, you want to know which providers can fully replace your home phone service, and which providers are more suited towards incidental and occasional use.

Most free Internet calling services can only call other computers (PC to PC calls). Some of the free Internet calling services can call landline phones (PC to phone calls), too, thus improving their connectivity.

Some free VoIP providers, such as iEvaphone, are available through applications on websites and some (like TutiTalk) require you to download software. A downloadable Internet phone service is probably the better of these two options, as you don’t have to visit a provider website every time you want to place a call.

No matter which type of Internet calling service you use, all free Internet calling services need a computer and Internet connection in order to function. If you don’t have a computer or you’re attempting to call someone who does not own a computer, Internet calling is probably not the best calling solution for you.

Free VoIP providers can be great if you just need to deliver a short message or you call infrequently. But if you make calls often and have conversations that last longer than five minutes, a paid provider is a better choice. View some of our Residential VoIP providers.

Please note: most free Internet calling providers cannot support 911 calls. However, if you select a paid Internet calling service, 911 is often included (listed under E911). Check with your provider on how to ensure your E911 is set up correctly.

international calling with VoIP

The Dirty Little Secret of Free Internet Calling

Some things to be aware of with Internet Calling

While many free Internet calling providers offer free calls, their fine print limits users to a certain amount of talk time to the public network (usually, calls between users on the same network are free and not counted towards this). After the allotted amount, the call is cut off. Other services only allow you to place free calls to users on the same network. For example:

  • Freebuzzer offers only 2 minutes of free Internet calls
  • Tuitalker offers 3 free calls per day with their 3 for Free plan.
  • iEvaphone offers 4 calls a day; or a duration of 24 hours on a single IP.
  • Lumicall offers free calling from their website to any user with Lumicall.
  • Call2Friends offers a specific number of free time (measured in seconds) that depends on the country you are calling.

Furthermore, some free Internet calls also may make you listen to advertisements that you hear or see before your call is connected. Other free Internet calling providers very likely charge for international calls, too. So while you may be able to get free calling without paying for a service, your free calling is severely limited.

calling via a computer

Paid Internet calling providers

Paid Internet calling providers require stable Internet access and sometimes hardware purchase or software download -- or both.

Subscription-based Internet calling

Paid Internet calling providers usually offer flat-rate monthly fees for their service which is much lower than the prices with the telephone company. In return, you get unlimited calling throughout the US and Canada. Not bad for Internet phone calls.

Per-call based Internet calling

Some Internet calling providers, such as Skype, charge a credit in order to allow international phone calls. Rather than signing up for a monthly subscription, users can choose to add Skype Credit. The amount of credit you add determines how much talk time you have.

The drawback with Skype Credit and similar credit-only providers is they operate similarly to a free provider: all their Internet phone calls are PC to Phone-based calling. You must use Skype on your PC with the credit plan; with the subscription package through Skype, you a phone number and call forwarding to your traditional phone - it’s a subscription-based VoIP service.

phone with Internet

Long Distance and International Internet Calling

Internet Calling offers affordable rates for your local, long distance, and international calls.

Many residential and business VoIP providers permit unlimited long distance calling (if you are not on a Pay As You Go or Metered plan). Because VoIP uses the Internet to make and receive calls, calling long distance is entirely cheap. 

International calling is usually heavily discounted as well: most countries have low per-minute rates. Check with your provider to see what type of international calling rates they offer. Business providers like Jive offer their subscribers a $0.03/minute calling area that includes select countries, while residential providers like ITP have global calling plans that allow for unlimited calling to the USA, Canada, and over 70 countries.  

But in the end, the bottom line is this: if you want to replace your local home phone service with a cheaper service and maintain the same level of service, an Internet home phone provider may be for you.

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