It used to be that calling your loved ones residing overseas was expensive. You had to ensure that the person on the other line would be there to quickly pick up the call. You usually spoke rehearsed lines, so you won't waste valuable seconds. Then once you dial the number and talk with the phone operator, you had to wait in queue until you were connected. And even then, the voice quality wasn't that great. There's also a fairly good chance of getting disconnected. Calling someone overseas in the past was expensive, troublesome, and frustrating. Those were the old days.
Today, mobile phones let you call anyone anywhere, even when you're on the move. Sometimes, though, you would have to pay a steep price to call folks in other countries. This is especially so, when you're roaming outside the coverage area of your home network. You need to pay roaming and interconnection fees.
But with the popularity of VoIP, you can now call people from around the world cheap. Sometimes, it's even free. If you're on a mobile phone, there are a couple of ways you can call worldwide for lower costs than your per-minute charges.
First is VoIP. If your mobile phone supports it, you can use a VoIP client to connect to the Internet and call for free. The most popular applications for Symbian, Windows Mobile and iPhone are Fring, Skype Mobile and Truphone.
Fring - Fring is basically a multi-platform messenger. It lets you login to your Google Talk, Yahoo, MSN, AIM, Skype and other messenger accounts, where you can chat with your buddies while connected through WiFi or 3G. Fring even allows you to call buddies on Skype, Google Talk and SIP phones through your phone. One thing to note, you need to have an account with those other providers, too, so you can call and chat outside of the Fring network. Download Fring from www.fring.com
Skype - Skype is the most popular consumer VoIP network, and one added feature is that you can subscribe to unlimited landline and mobile calls. You can also get yourself inbound telephone numbers, so your friends and business contacts can call you from their home country, and you can take the call from wherever you are. On your mobile phone, you can install Skype Mobile on Windows Mobile, Symbian or the iPhone. One disadvantage, though, is that in some versions, you cannot place calls when connected through WiFi (because this will directly compete with telcos). But if you're connected to the mobile broadband network, such as 3G or HSDPA, you can make and receive calls via SkypeIn or SkypeOut for free. Download Skype Mobile from mobile.skype.com.
TruPhone - TruPhone is essentially like Skype, although it runs on a regular SIP network, which is open, and might have better native support for supported Symbian phones, like popular Nokia communicators and E series phones. TruPhone gives you the option of setting VoIP calling as the default carrier, so you can save on long distance charges. The pricing scheme of TruPhone is a bit like Skype, with an unlimited plan, a light plan, and even a pay-as-you-go plan. Download from www.truphone.com.
Another option is by calling using a calling card. The advantage of this is that you just dial a local or toll-free number, and you only get charged the calling card rates, which are usually cheaper.
Calling abroad using your cell phone does not mean you have to spend an arm and a leg for those few precious minutes of talk time with your buddies across the globe. Try VoIP for mobile phones. You might be surprised at how clear your calls are, even if they're cheap or free.