Even since the advent of the internet, international communications have been limited to email and text for all but the richest individuals. Previously, international voice and video calls have been prohibitively expensive, and an unrealistic option for anyone not on a generous company account. Now however, thanks to mobile technology and a range of software and apps, anyone can enjoy face-to-face conversations with loved ones, clients and colleagues around the world.
The most popular programme used to make free-of-charge video and audio calls world wide is Skype. Available as software for your laptop or PC or as an app for your smart phone, Skype allows users to connect with anyone who has the same software installed, wherever they are in the world. Registering is easy and the programme is simple to use – making it a great option for anyone wanting to contact elderly, less tech-savvy relatives around the globe.
In the aftermath of Skype’s popularity, a whole generation of free to use video calling, audio calling and messaging services are emerging for mobile phones. Apps such as Viber, WhatsApp and Talkatone are free to download for iPhone or Android, and offer different takes on the same concept – a simple, cost-free way to contact people around the world. Have a browse through the different programmes available to find the one that’s right for you – some are better for conference calling and business use, while others are more fun, informal and sociable, ideal for contacting family and friends.
As well as apps and programmes allowing you to call anywhere in the world for free, the tough competition between mobile phone networks has led many to offer great deals on standard international calls. Particularly useful for business customers who don’t want to have to rely on their clients having voice software installed, these tariffs represent some great savings. Those on monthly contracts can opt to ‘add-on’ an international bundle to their monthly rate, while many will find pay-as-you-go sim card deals surprisingly good value for money. For example, where pay-as-you-go users used to face astronomical charges for calling abroad, now many networks have cheap calls to India, Pakistan, Africa, Eastern Europe, America and more as standard features on their tariffs.
Thanks to new innovations in mobile and computer technology – plus healthy competition between different mobile networks – it’s now easy and affordable to keep in touch no matter where you are in the world.