Business advice: how to save on international calling

The opportunity for your business to grow through expansion into other parts of the world is often too good a chance to turn down – but it can have the unfortunate side-effect of prohibitively high international call costs.

Thankfully, there are several options if you want to slash the expense of your company’s calls abroad.

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Could VoIP services enable you to call for free?

It’s become a lot easier to call many people for nothing since the popularisation of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP services.

There is a wide range of online VoIP service providers, the most obvious probably being Skype, but the most important detail is that they allow you to call others for absolutely nothing – as long as the person receiving your call is also online at the time you call them.

Even if you are only just starting out in business, you may only need a laptop PC or Mac and a Wi-Fi or wired Internet connection to get started – after all, laptops generally incorporate built-in microphones these days.

Services like Viber and WhatsApp allow you to enjoy the same online VoIP benefits when you are calling via your mobile phone.

Override providers are another option – but not as cheap as they were

It wasn’t so long ago when those wishing to make a cheap overseas call could simply use an ‘override provider’. Such companies give you a special ‘access number’ to dial first and once you are connected, you are able to dial the main number that you wish to call.

Sadly, Ofcom’s introduction last year of new rules on non-geographic number charges served to push up the prices of a lot of override providers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that such companies are no longer worth bothering with, but if you are looking for the very cheapest option, you will now probably find greater joy elsewhere.

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Use a business phone provider – or reconsider your current one

You may be reading this having already signed up with a business phone provider, but that doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get the lowest possible international calls. Some providers, for example, offer good international rates but very high monthly service fees, so you should always keep an eye out for any better packages out there.

When choosing a business phone provider or contemplating a new one, consider which parts of the world your firm calls most often – this may have changed considerably since you registered with your present provider. A given provider offering amazing rates in France won’t save your firm much money if you call India much more often and their rates for the latter country aren’t competitive.

There are a lot of other elements that make up the perfect business phone provider for you, all of which can be at least as invaluable as the lowest international call rates. Planet Numbers, for instance, offers international calls to India from just 2p per minute, but has also attracted acclaim for its revolutionary technology that means users don’t need a PIN code or special SIM card.

Pore over the details when looking at a business phone provider

Pay close attention to the ‘small print’ relating to your prospective business phone provider’s charging policies. In what increments will you be billed? What is the connection fee for each call? Does your credit have an expiry date or any daily or weekly ‘service’ charges?

All of these factors may seem minor when considered in isolation, but they can make an appreciable difference over time in the amount that your business pays for international calls – so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the best possible deal in all respects.

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