There are a ton of apps that utilize your phones internet connection and allow an alternative, free method to call phone numbers with or text somebody with without the long distance charges, using your phones data plan, minutes or text limit. I’ll be going over the top four apps and programs that allow this to function.
If you want a more personal, one-on-one call your options expand to include WhatsApp, LINE and WeChat.
WhatsApp is meant to be a replacement for texting or instant messaging, and it does not charge you for cross country messages, but it does have a free call option in the app as well. However, this is a 1 year trial period and after the year is up you either buy the app or move on to a different alternative.
WeChat is completely free for as long as you use it and completely dominates China and SEA as far as usage. It allows free, internet-based calling, texting and messaging, works on more mobile and desktop platforms, allows more recovery if you lose your phone or change your number, and even has ‘app-within-an-app’ technology that allows you to track your mail, use Facebook Messenger or even use your bank from within WeChat.
The next big competitor is LINE – often called a direct competitor to WeChat or WhatsApp, I’d say LINE, while the least popular in SEA is the best option of these. LINE offers a type of in-app Facebook which shows status updates, profile changes and the like and is more secure than WeChat. It offers calling to phones as well and as long as you’re connected to an Internet connection these calls will be completely free.
The biggest and baddest competitor for long-distance calling is Skype. While you need to buy Skype credits here to perform long-distance number-based calling, as long as the person you want to call has an account and is near a device that can run it. When expanding to include landlines or mobile phone numbers, you will need to buy Skype credits but after that it is completely free – no random charges.
It also offers the most stability, outages of service are incredibly rare and any issues are often caused by your internet or computer and not the program itself. Call quality is clear no matter what you’re calling to – landline or mobile.
For the intent of gamers, Skype can also be used to perform a group call with up to 25 people all over the world for free as long as they have an account, with the only limiting factor being your internet connection’s speed. This is great if you just picked up a game account for League of Legends or FIFA coins and want to play with your friends that aren’t exactly in SEA.