There are thousands of reasons to make international calls, catching up on friends and family, coordinating with foreign business partners or making travel plans. And there are maybe even more reasons why Whatsapp and co. won’t do the job.
Despite common perception, social media and messenger apps did not kill the international phone call.
Most carriers are neglecting normal calling features and concentrating on data plans and digital services, so even a short international call can, under circumstances, cost you a small fortune.
We took a look at , an international calling app offering affordable , to see how it performs.
How it works
The app is freely available on , the , Amazon and Huawei marketplace. On Google Play it has an average 4 star rating and 4.3 on the App Store, so the majority of users are quite happy with the performance. I checked a few of the lower ratings, they mainly had technical issues, and the developer had responded to most of them, a good sign.
Installation and UI
The installation is simple, there is a registration process after the installation is complete and the app only asks for access to your contacts and microphone. You can deny access to your contacts but it would deprive you of a lot of user comfort and without the microphone you can’t make a call.
The interface looks like a typical dialer pad on a phone, a clean design with everything you need within a click or two. You can buy calling credit with PayPal or a credit card direct from the app, and your balance will be updated in real-time.
I have to praise the developers for putting some thought into flow and functionality. The app functions like a native phone app, just open it and use it the same way you would make a normal call on your phone.
One feature that I really liked was that when you click on a contact, the app shows the costs for calls and SMS under the phone number(s), so no guessing on the costs before the call and no unpleasant surprises after the call.
Apparently the app uses VoIP technology, that means you will need a decent internet connection to make any calls, but the person you are calling doesn’t need any internet connection and can be using a mobile or landline phone. According to the website even 3G connections will work, we tried it in different situations and didn’t encounter any problems but we do have a pretty good net coverage around us. Nevertheless I doubt that there will be any problems with modern connections.
In case you do not have any access to an internet connection you can use KeepCalling access numbers to make a call. They have access numbers in nearly 40 countries, in a few cases the number can only be accessed with a landline phone, which isn’t really a problem for travellers or locals alike.
Who is it for?
The first group of people that would come to mind are expats. People who want to keep up with family and friends back home, especially with the elderly (or stubborn) ones that are not avid smartphone users. But I noticed that despite all the modern communication tools and methods, the good old phone call is still worth a lot.
After loading credits on the app and calling a few friends abroad to test it, I started putting the app to practical use. I have a few trips coming up, so I called the hotels and asked a few questions before booking, then I called a small shop that I found on the internet to see if they had what I was looking for and then called a local restaurant to make reservations and ask for the best way to get there from the hotel.
I liked the app, it is user friendly, has a good design and is well thought out.
The calling rates are very competitive, transparent and no extra costs are hidden somewhere in the darkest corners of the internet.
The website offers a few practical extra features like monthly plans, access numbers, virtual numbers and caller ID.
Since the balance never expires on this app and there are no monthly “maintenance” costs then it does no harm to have it ready, just in case. You will be surprised how often you start making international calls when you have the chance.