Whether you favor smartphones, laptops, or landlines, VOIP (Voice–over Internet Protocol) providers make transatlantic talk cheap—in a good way. Using them is easy: In many cases, you simply download the software, create a contact list, and click, "call." Plus, most companies (including the three below) post how–to–videos on their sites for first–timers to reference. Ready to reach out to someone?
Works with: Smartphones (Android, iPhone); computers (Windows, Mac).
Calls to U.S. land–lines: 1.8 cents per minute.
Range of service: 70–plus countries, mostly in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
Good to know: Up to three people can video chat on ooVoo for free, and only one of you needs to be an ooVoo user. The others can join the conversation through any Web browser, although there's no cost to download the program.
Works with: Smartphones (Android, iPhone); computers (Windows, Mac); select TV sets.
Calls to U.S. land–lines: 2.2 cents per minute.
Range of service: Worldwide.
Good to know: While the software itself is gratis, Skype charges for features—like group and video calling—that come standard elsewhere.
Works with: Any computer, paired with any phone; smartphones (Android, iPhone).
Calls to U.S. land–lines: 3.2 cents per minute
Range of service: 156 countries.
Good to know: You don't have to download any software to use Jajah. Just type your phone number and the one you want to dial into your browser, and wait for the phones to ring. When you and your friend both pick up, you'll be on the call together.
*Based on calls originating in the U.K.; similar rates generally apply throughout Europe.
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