Best VOIP for Home 2019 - International Calling Services, Plans
We spent 30 hours testing different VoIP international call services to find the best fit for families or small businesses. We placed calls to several different countries, including to the middle-of-nowhere in Australia, so we can recommend the best services that won’t drop your calls. Our pick for the best international call service is Phone Power because it had the highest call quality among the services we tested. This provider also offers three tiers of international calling plans and a wide variety of useful features. Plus, it’s easy to use and has excellent customer support.
With affordable month-to-month plans and 87 covered countries, Phone Power offers clear calls, reliable connection and the best set of features available in an international call service.
Broadvoice is Phone Power’s more business-oriented sister company which offers a cloud-based PBX and the same network of reliable service for international calls. It is our pick for small business owners.
8 x 8 Solutions
All of 8x8’s plans are customizable for you or your small business. They also offer spectacular customer support for a truly personal experience.
Phone Power is our pick as the best international call service because had the best combination of call quality, features and customer service. The company’s three plans differ only in price and how many countries are covered.
Its basic World Plan gives you unlimited calling to 28 countries, with Canada and Puerto Rico considered as domestic. It’s about five dollars more per month to upgrade to the World Plus plan, which ups the number of covered countries to 75. The World Premium plan gives you access to unlimited calls to 87 countries.
In our tests, Phone Power calls were clear and never dropped. The customer support was prompt and helpful. We’re especially impressed that every feature is included across all of Phone Power’s World plans, and those features are top-notch, including a softphone (which is software that allows you to make internet calls from a computer or mobile device), a free second line, conference calling, call forwarding and a lot more that some other international call services charge extra to add.
Phone Power World plans are available on both a month-to-month and contract basis. While signing a one- or two-year contract can save you some money compared to paying month to month, Phone Power does charge a relatively high cancellation fee for breaking contract.
Best Value for Small Businesses
Broadvoice is Phone Power’s more business-oriented counterpart. Both are owned by the same parent company, and both offer similar services. Broadvoice offers three levels of international plans to choose from – World, World Plus and World Premium – which allow you to make unlimited calls to 28, 75 and 87 countries respectively.
One thing we like about Broadvoice is that all levels of plans come with the same features, so you don’t have to upgrade or pay extra for access to things like conference calling or a softphone. These plans are available both with one- or two-year contracts and on a month-to-month basis. Contracts can save you a little money versus the month-to-month payments, but be advised that Broadvoice does have a pretty high cancellation fee.
Broadvoice uses the same international calling network as Phone Power, so the two have comparable call quality. Calls are clear and reliable, and in our tests, we never had a dropped call. We also appreciated the online account management, which is a great feature for small businesses. The online platform is particularly user-friendly compared to other calling services. The quick and easy setup make Broadvoice an especially good option for small business owners who have little IT experience.
Best Customized Service
Most companies we reviewed have a selection of specific international calling plans, but 8x8 offers only customized plans. This does mean that you have to spend a bit more time choosing which parts of their service offerings to include in your own plan, but it pays off because you only end up paying for the features and services that you need.
The Unlimited extension gives you unlimited call time to a few countries, including Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and a handful of European countries. The Global Extension ups the covered country count to 40, which is fewer countries than either Phone Power or Broadvoice, but still a great option if those 40 countries cover the areas you need to call.
The customized service does not stop with a custom plan. During our testing, we were also paired with an account representative who replied to our inquiries in less than one business day. We found the company’s live chat help efficient and knowledgeable and also appreciated the numerous user guides, manuals, FAQs and YouTube tutorials.
There are a variety of ways to use 8x8, and all of them are easy to set up. A softphone is included in your plan, and 8x8 provides a mobile app for both iOS and Android, so you can make VoIP calls from your smartphone. Call quality was a little less clear in our tests with 8x8 than it was with Phone Power and Broadvoice, but it was still higher than average.
Best for Conference Calls
If you need an international call service for conference calls, the VOIP.com World Plan is the best choice.
This service lets you call 55 countries, and the basic calling plan includes about 1,200 minutes. You’re charged international calling rates if you go over the limit or call a country not on the list. We liked VOIP.com for conference calls because its calls sound clear and it’s easy to set up. You can download softphones to your desktop without incurring an extra fee – other services charge $10 for a softphone. This is another easy way to facilitate international conference calls without having to worry about equipment.
If you want an international call service that’s easy to install, VOIPo 1200 is the best choice.
You plug the VOIPo adapter into your phone set or a phone set you purchase through the company. After you connect to the internet and wait 10 minutes, you’re good to go. It was one of the simpler installations we saw. VOIPo has good call quality, and we even had good luck when contacting isolated locations. The plan we looked at only includes 40 countries and has 1,200 minutes. One drawback of VOIPo is it doesn’t offer a mobile app or softphone options – you need to use a third-party for each of those features.
Why Trust Us?
Old fashioned international calling services that charge you per call are costly. With VoIP technology, you can get more international talk time for less money, which makes these types of services great if you spend a lot of time on the phone with people in different countries – whether your needs are personal or more business oriented.
In addition to the 30 hours we spent researching, making international calls, asking customer service representatives setup questions and evaluating the pros and cons of various features and service specifications, our team has years of experience with VoIPs, making international phone calls and posting our opinions on the internet. We want to help you and your business thrive and grow without unnecessarily expensive international calls, and our expertise can help you find the best international call service.
How We Evaluated
First, we researched the best options for international call services and narrowed down our selections to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services, which transmit real-time communications via the internet. We chose VoIP because it's more affordable and flexible than traditional landlines or mobile contracts. Instead of charging flat monthly rates, landline and mobile services often use per-minute rates, which add up quickly. Then, we scoped out the options and picked the most promising 10. We reached out to each service and arranged a trial period to perform a few tests.
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We designed our tests to mimic usual consumer use; we set up each service and made a bunch of international calls, judging each call for quality and marking instances of dropped calls, sound distortions, feedback, delays and other issues. During our tests, we also evaluated the resources available to aid with setup and troubleshooting, and contacted customer service to gauge the timeliness and helpfulness of the replies. Our hands-on testing, combined with thorough product research, formed the framework for our overall evaluations.
How Much Does an International Call Service Cost?
The average monthly rate for an international call service is $20 per month. However, you can lower that price by signing up for a one- or two-year contract instead of paying month to month. In most cases, signing up for a longer contract results in lower monthly payments averaging around $15. Beyond contract terms, it is important to factor in the cost of necessary upgrades or applicable fees. Most of the services we tested do not charge setup fees, but some do. Likewise, most services charge a fee of $50 to $100 if you break your contract term.
What to Look For
Call clarity is extremely important for any call plan. Our best picks all have great call quality so you don’t miss out on important information. The next most important thing to consider is budget. Many of these services offer basic plans on a month-to-month basis that allow you to add additional services as your needs expand and change.
As with any phone plan, consider the features you or your business will need and use before you make a decision. Also make sure that the countries you need to call most often are part of your plan. For a business, features like extra lines and conference calling might be beneficial, though you might not care about these if you’re just calling friends or relatives. One feature we found particularly useful is a companion mobile app that allows you to make and receive VoIP calls on the go.