Going abroad for leisure or traveling for work and study and need to find out the cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone? With so many options at our fingertips today, it’s easy to get lost and confused.

If you’re going abroad for just a short while, then maybe making cheap international calls might not be so important to you. But if you’re heading overseas for the long haul, then knowing how to make cheap international calls from cell phones can not only save you a quick buck, but connect you better and faster than conventional methods.

Not sure what is the cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone? From international phone plans to VoIP providers, we take a look at 5 of the cheapest ways to call internationally from a cell phone.

The Cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone: 5 solutions

Solution 1: Getting a local SIM card.

For many of us, this is the default solution. When traveling abroad, prepaid data SIM cards can keep you connected at cheaper rates for a variable sum.

Some local SIM cards are data-only SIM cards, while others allow you to make calls and send text messages just as you normally would. With a data-only SIM card, you can use mobile data to make calls via VoIP providers like Skype and WhatsApp without incurring ridiculously high fees. With a regular SIM card, you have a certain number of text messages and minutes worth of calls.

There are some problems with this method. If you’re a frequent flyer and foresee yourself hopping from country to country often, you will have to get a new local SIM card each time you do. Local SIM cards typically do not cost much, but the figure can quickly skyrocket if you’re crossing borders often.

Then there’s also the problem of regulation. Local SIM cards can get you cheap international calls, but it can also be a cheap fix for phone hackers to access personally sensitive data. In countries where the sale of local SIM cards isn’t as tightly regulated, you run the risk of getting a fake SIM card that jeopardises your mobile security and online privacy.

Solution 2:  Use a VoIP provider like Viber and WhatsApp

VoIP providers like WhatsApp are cost-friendly ways to make cheap international calls

We’ve already talked about how VoIP providers help you make cheap international calls by taking advantage of the internet instead of traditional phone lines, and they are no doubt a cheap, if not the cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone.

Most app-based VoIP providers like Viber, WhatsApp and Telegram also come with a lot more benefits you’ll miss out on if you settle on a local SIM card. A local SIM card often just allows you to make just cheap international calls – that’s it. With a VoIP provider as versatile as, say, Telegram, you’ll not only be able to make cheap international calls, but also use the app for a wide variety of functions like conducting polls, community messaging and more.

Because VoIP providers rely on the internet rather than a conventional phone line, they only work if you have a WiFi connection or mobile data. This might not be a problem if you’re in a country with great public WiFi coverage or cheap, readily accessible mobile data. But if you’re not, using a VoIP provider without a local data plan can rack up some serious phone bills.

Another problem was VoIP providers is obviously privacy. Many of these apps tout themselves as safe, secure platforms for personal and business communication, but the recent spate of privacy scandals should ring some alarm bells.

Solution 3: Use an Override Provider

Before the days of Google Voice international calls or making calls with WhatsApp and Skype, Override providers allowed people to call abroad using any phone by ringing up an “access number” accompanied by their recipient’s phone number.

There are two things you’ll need to take note of If you want to use this method:

  • Using an access number to make international calls is relatively more expensive compared to other options here, but it’s still cheaper that directly calling an international number
  • There isn’t a prepaid credit option for this. To use an access number you’ll need to link up your bank account directly. Charges can vary but users are often billed on a monthly basis based on their frequency of use.

There’s clearly little reason to use an override provider nowadays, given that there are so many cheaper, more flexible and versatile options out there to make cheap international calls today.

Solution 4: Use your telco’s international phone plan  

If you’re with a multinational telco or simply find it too much of a hassle to set yourself up with the other options, check with your telco to see if they offer any international phone plans for making cheap international calls. Take note that is may not be the cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone though.

There are some clear benefits to this. For one, you won’t need to take the risk of purchasing a faulty or fake local SIM card. Plus you can also call and text without WiFI or mobile data. If your telco has a presence in the country you’re planning to visit, you’ll also be able to easily access customer service and do things as per normal, since everything is on the same platform.

Solution 5: Use a second phone number

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone but also keeps your privacy and peace of mind safe, getting yourself a second phone number is your best bet.

A second phone number is often the cheapest way to call internationally. While a local SIM card can cost anywhere between just 10 USD to more than 50 USD (plus top-up charges every month or so), a second phone number will only set you back for fifth of that figure.

With a second phone number with the same country code of the country you’re visiting, you also wouldn’t need pricey international phone plans or override providers to make cheap international calls.

When you use a second phone number overseas, you also keep your actual phone number safe from falling into the wrong hands. In some countries, you might also need a local number to sign up for public events, promotions and much more.

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Here’s where Phoner comes in.

Make the cheapest international calls with Phoner's second phone numbers.

With Phoner, you have access to unlimited phone numbers from around the world that you can use immediately without needing to get a new SIM card or phone. Whether you’re frequently hopping from country to country or simply going abroad for short while, our numbers always have you covered. Use them for as long as you like, and change them as often as you want.

So that’s our quick look at the cheapest way to call internationally from a cell phone. Get Phoner now and start making cheap international calls from your cell phone today!