How to make International calls (almost) for free
As many of our regular customers already know, Cellular Abroad has highly recommended a calling and text app called WhatsApp for several years now. While used by 1 Billion users worldwide, WhatsApp has still not penetrated the market very much in the United States or Canada. In fact, according to Statista, an online statistics portal that follows consumer trends, only 16% of US cell phone owners use this app whereas in Germany over 60% of users have downloaded this app. So what exactly is so special about WhatsApp? WhatsApp is a FREE app that you can download on your smartphone and call, text, and send pictures and videos to anyone worldwide for free using data. By data we mean either Wi Fi, for example the free Wi Fi you get when you go to a Starbucks or the mobile data from the cell phone towers when you are away from home….or a Starbucks!
For travelers, this is great news because the most expensive calls and texts are typically international ones back home.
How Do I get WhatsApp?
You can download WhatsApp on your Android, Apple or Windows phone simply by following this link from the WhatsApp website or by going to Google Play if your phone uses an Android operating system or the iTunes store if your phone is an iPhone. If you have never downloaded or used an app, we realize that this might sound difficult or even intimidating but, the efforts of doing so are definitely worth it. If you have never downloaded and app, here is our recommendation. To download the app, have a friend, family member or someone from a cell phone store help you download the app. Once you have the app on your phone, you will not have to download it again. You can have someone show you the basics of how to use the app or, you can read this “how to” in order to learn how to download and use WhatsApp like a pro.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
We must admit, telling our customers about an app about how to make free international cell phone calls and texts when Cellular Abroad offers solutions to make international calls and texts must seem counter intuitive – and in many ways, it is as we will certainly lose revenue with many customer. In fact, if you could rely exclusively on free Wi Fi, you will never need to use Cellular Abroad or Verizon, AT&T or anyone else for that matter again. Having said that, until Wi Fi, especially international Wi Fi, is convenient enough to completely drop service that relies on an cell phone towers, most international travelers will agree that best option is to find an affordable data solution – which we have – but first, here is something else you should know.
Keep in mind that the other party needs to have downloaded WhatsApp on their smartphone as well in order to be able to communicate with them. Chances are, your overseas contacts have already done this but in the United States and Canada, you may have to send them a copy of this article. In addition, if you are trying to contact a restaurant or a hotel, this app will not help you as the app only works on cell phones. To call landlines or friends and family that do not have WhatsApp, we recommend you use an other app that many of you are already familiar with which is, Skype. When speaking with Cellular Abroad customers, many travelers assume that Skype only allows users to make free calls from computer to computer (or from smartphone to smartphone). This is not the case. You can call any number with Skype. The caveat is that you have to pay a few pennies per minute in order to do so. So, our recommendation is that along with downloading WhatsApp, you may also want to download Skype.
In a few years, all phone calls will be transmitted over the internet. The fact that your phone number “happens” to start with a 212 or a 310 area code or that the country code starts with a 1 will be about as relevant as your license plate number starting with a 7 as opposed to a 2. Your phone number will be like your personal ID and, in terms of cost, whether you call next door or to China will be the same thing in terms of cost. For now, you can still use the old fashion way of making a phone call, that is, without using data but, almost everyone will agree, especially after years of being ripped off by your cellular provider that being able to make free international calls is a bit of poetic justice