International Call Services Review
Why Use International Calling Services?
The top performers in our review are Phone Power, the Gold Award winner; Broadvoice, the Silver Award winner; and 8x8, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a service to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of ten international call services.
As the world gets smaller and more interconnected, international calling is a reality for many business owners. Finding an affordable and reliable way to place these calls is becoming increasingly important. Voice over Internet Protocol, better known as VoIP, is a data device that transmits real-time audio over internet servers rather than using standard or mobile telephone networks.
VoIP is flexible medium that can offer a solution to most consumers, though the plan and service you choose will depend on your needs. If you are looking to use this service for placing mainly domestic calls for your business, than you may be interested in the Business VoIP site, but if your needs are more personal, than you may be interested in looking at our VoIP site.
The Best Way to Make International Calls
Many people are familiar with messaging and voice over systems like Skype, but the offerings of these systems do not stop there. These international calling systems work over high-speed internet connections to help you place calls and offer some of the best international call services out there. These networks transmit real-time audio steams, allowing you to place calls from anywhere that has an internet connection. One familiar name in this type of call services is Vonage.
There are many benefits to using an international calling service for your business or personal needs. These systems offer significant savings over traditional phone lines and provide the flexibility that allows these systems to grow with your business.
The Best International Call Services
If you frequently make international phone calls, paying by the call can cost your company. Old international phone services used to connect you to their server and then dial the number in the country you wished to access. New systems that operate over internet servers have offered a way for you to cut out this intermediary and directly call numbers in other countries without the high international call rates. These systems allow you to purchase international calling plans that, for one flat rate, allow you to place calls to certain countries.
Internet-based international calling services conveniently have the ability to sync with the data systems you already have in place. Since these systems are data based and operate over the internet, they can sync with your contacts and email accounts. This allows you to have messages sent to your email, giving you the ability to check them no matter where you are.
To provide fair comparison between different international calling plans, we evaluated the base monthly international plans that each service offers. The prices for these services typically range from $15 to $30 dollars. Some of the services do provide additional features beyond the basic international calling plans that can added for additional fees.
International Calling Services: How We Tested, What We Found
A significant area of international calling services is the ability to place international calls to multiple countries that are clear and not dropped. To test these services, we obtained basic international calling plans from each company and placed calls to different countries. When placing these calls, we gauged the level of clarity and feedback from the line. We also measured the rate at which calls were dropped by the services.
When we conducted these tests, we found that Phone Power and Broadvoice scored best overall, 8x8 did exceptionally well in testing as well but was missing certain features and levels of usability. The rest of our Top Ten Reviews did well, but not as well as these top three.
Whenever possible, Top Ten Reviews evaluates all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences you would have as a typical consumer. For the International Call Services site, we obtained a trial of each service directly from the company.
The companies had no input or influence over our test methods, nor was our methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. In addition, results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
What Is Important When Selecting an International Calling Service?
When deciding which plan is best for you, things that you will want to consider are what your budget is and what the costs of the plans are, what options and country plans the service provides, and what features for phones and scalability the service offers. The type of plan you pick will depend on your needs. For additional feature information and recommendations, read our articles about International Calling Services.
Making Cheap International Calls
Your budget will play a large role in what service you choose for your business. If you are placing a high volume of international calls, cheap international calls may be a main decision point when you are deciding which service to use.
All of the services we reviewed offer some form of international calling options, and some of the services we evaluated provide free international minutes with their basic plans. For example, Phone Power offers low-cost domestic plans with 60 minutes of international calling included. This means that if you are not placing a large volume of international calls per month, this plan might be a better option for you.
If you do make a lot of international calls per month, you should look for a plan that offers unlimited international minutes to countries that you frequently call. One service that does this well is Broadvoice's Unlimited World plan. This plan offers unlimited calling to 28 countries in Europe and Asia. If the country you need to call isn't on this list, you can upgrade to the Unlimited World Plus plan for only a small amount more per month, which gives you unlimited access to a total of 75 countries.
The type of contract you get is another important thing to consider. You may like the option of month-to-month rather than being locked into something long term, or you may prefer long-term contracts that offer monthly savings.
Many services offer the month-to-month option. For example, ITP has a global plan offered on a month-to-month basis. These short-term plans allow you flexibility as your business needs adjust.
Features provided for international calling include such things as extra lines and mobile capabilities. While not all of these features may be important to you or needed for your business, others of them may play a key role. 8X8 offers many standout features, including conference calling. You can add on other features with this service for small fees, which is a good option if you need a plan with basic features but want the ability to expand as needed.
Verdict & Recommendations
The best, most efficient International Calling Services we found allow you to place calls internationally and easily without the hassle of using third parties. They provide quality sound and do not drop your connection mid-call.
Phone Power and Broadvoice both offer easy-to-use platforms and exceptional call quality. Customer service was friendly and willing to help, earning these services our top two spots in the lineup. Another strong performer was 8x8. This company performed well in both usability and call quality. It lacks detailed world plans but offers add-ons that enable you to call certain countries. 8x8 excelled in customer service. This company offers a personalized touch that we didn't see in any other international call service provider.
One notable service that fell short of the top three but still had standout features was ViaTalk. This service was easy to use and setup only took a few minutes. We recommend this service if you do not have a lot of experience using international call services.