International calling rates have become more economical as many phone services transition from traditional landlines to more advanced VoIP technology, but they can still add up quickly. It pays to shop around between different service providers to find a package that most closely aligns with your business’ calling patterns. We looked at the top providers and compiled a summary of what you can expect to pay based on a hypothetical business example to help you compare.
Our research found that based on average usage, Vonage offered the best international calling rates. Most businesses that make international calls will pay less overall per month with Vonage, even when combined with their slightly higher monthly service fee. Click here to learn more.
What is a VoIP Telephone Service?
Where outdated landline technology relied on the physical copper wires from your local phone company, newer VoIP technology takes advantage of your business’ high-speed internet connection to convert voice into data. If you’ve used the voice features of a web-based messaging app such as Skype then you’ve used VoIP technology before. But while Skype and other similar apps are typically only used through your computer, there are other services, such as Vonage, Nextiva, RingCentral, Phone.com, and 8×8 that leverage the same technology on a larger scale and through VoIP desk phones.
Because traditional landlines used physical copper wires, their international calling rates used to be approximately commensurate with the distance between the two phones they were connecting. But with the emergence of VoIP technology and its use of your business’ high-speed internet connection, the physical distance between the two phones is no longer a contributing factor to the cost. This means that VoIP international calling rates are generally much cheaper than they used to be through a landline.
Per Minute International Calling Rates Comparison
We compared the per minute calling rates from Vonage, Nextiva, RingCentral, Phone.com, and 8×8 to 15 of the most common calling destinations for small businesses below. As you can see from the table we found that per minute costs varied widely by provider and that Vonage and Phone.com were the lowest priced on average.
|Mexico||From $0.01||From $0.17||From $0.039||$0.02||From $0.03|
|Australia||From $0.03||From $0.06||From $0.039||From $0.031||From $0.03|
|Brazil||From $0.02||From $0.06||From $0.039||From $0.026||From $0.11|
|China||From $0.02||$0.09||From $0.039||$0.03||From $0.02|
|Colombia||From $0.05||From $0.08||From $0.049||From $0.033||From $0.05|
|Dominican Republic||From $0.04||From $0.07||$0.16||From $0.04||$0.12|
|France||From $0.02||From $0.05||From $0.039||Included||From $0.04|
|Germany||From $0.02||From $0.05||From $0.039||Included||From $0.11|
|India||From $0.02||From $0.10||From $0.042||$0.04||From $0.059|
|Israel||From $0.02||From $0.06||From $0.039||Included||From $0.01|
|Japan||From $0.05||From $0.08||From $0.039||From $0.043||From $0.06|
|Puerto Rico||From $0.01||Included||From $0.039||Included||From $0.03|
|South Korea||From $0.03||From $0.07||From $0.042||$0.04||From $0.03|
|UK||From $0.02||From $0.05||From $0.039||Included||From $0.15|
For the purposes of this comparison, please note that we assumed a subscription to the lowest priced monthly package for each provider. Some service providers include international calls to select destinations in their monthly service fees, although you may need to subscribe to a higher priced package to receive this.
For example, if you subscribed to Vonage and made the majority of your international calls to the UK, your monthly costs might look like:
- $39.99 monthly fee
- $0.02/minute x 2,400 minutes = $48
- $87.99 total
Depending on your particular calling needs, a higher priced monthly package may result in a lower overall monthly cost if it includes international calls to the destinations that you call the most.
Monthly Service Fee Comparison
Another factor to consider when comparing the international calling rates of different VoIP phone service providers is what the monthly service fees are and what they include. Depending on your particular calling needs, you may find that a higher per minute rate is offset by a lower monthly fee for the line. Similarly, a higher monthly fee for the line may include a lower per minute rate to the international destinations that you call the most.
$39.99/ month per user for 1-5 users
$29.99/ month per user for 6-9 users
$24.99/ month per user for 10-20 users
$19.99/ month per user for 20+ users
$34.95/ month per user for 1-4 users
$29.95/ month per user for 5-19 users
$24.95/ month per user for 20-99 users
$21.95/ month per user for 100+ users
$34.99/ month per user for 1 user
$24.99/ month per user for 2-19 users
$21.99/ month per user for 20-99 users
$19.99/ month per user for 100-999 users
$9.99/ 100 minutes
$19.99/ 500 minutes
$29.99/ 1000 minutes
$24.99/ month per user for 250 outbound minutes to the US and Canada and $0.029/ minute thereafter
Up to $79.99/ month per user for unlimited minutes to 8x8’s top 40 calling countries
Some service providers also include international calls to select destinations in their monthly service fees, although you may need to subscribe to a higher pricing tier to receive this. Again, depending on your particular calling needs, the higher monthly fee may be offset by what you save on per minute fees for international calls.
For example, using the numbers from our Vonage example above, here is how they would compare against Nextiva:
|2,400 Minutes to the UK||$48.00||$120.00||$93.60|
|Total Monthly Cost||$87.99||$154.95||$128.59|
As you can see, even though Vonage’s monthly fee is higher than Nextiva’s and RingCentral’s, their overall monthly cost is significantly lower once international calls are added in because of their lower per minute rates.
Virtual Phone Numbers
If you’re located in the United States but do most of your business in another country, virtual phone numbers are another option to save costs. Virtual phone numbers forward incoming calls to your personal mobile phone or internet-enabled device and make outbound calls from those devices appear as if they’re originating from the same number. They differ from VoIP phone services in that they generally offer a more limited set of features for a lower price.
When you subscribe to a virtual phone number service, most service providers allow you to choose a phone number that’s based in another country. By doing this, your inbound and outbound calls will be “local” to that country — even if it’s on the other side of the world.
However, there are two important considerations to make before choosing a virtual phone number for your business:
- Because your phone number will be local to another country, this may confuse your local customers; and,
- Because your phone number will be local to another country, any calls to and from your local customers will be charged international rates.
For example, if you do the majority of your business in the UK and choose to have a virtual phone number that’s based in the UK even though you’re physically in the US, your local customers might think that you’re actually based in the UK. Also, any calls to and from your local customers will be charged at the international rate from the UK to the US.
How to Save on International Calling Rates
Now that we have talked some about costs, the question is, how can you keep them as low as possible for your business? Here are the steps you need to take to ensure your business is paying as little as possible for your international calls.
- Evaluate your business phone system as a whole. International calling rates are only part of your total phone costs. You may be getting good international rates but paying more than you need to in monthly service fees or vice versa. And if you’re still using a traditional landline, it may be best for your business to switch to a VoIP phone service.
- Be willing to leave your current provider. Odds are that you already have a business phone provider. However, they may not be the best provider for your specific needs. If you make a lot of international calls and truly want to cut your costs, you have to be willing to switch to a provider that can make that happen. The short-term inconvenience will be more than compensated by the long-term savings.
- Find the provider that offers the lowest total rates for the destinations you call the most. Different phone providers will have different international rates for different countries, and some may even include the destinations you call the most in their monthly service fees. Audit your business’ calling habits and match the results up with the provider that best supports them.
- Always read the fine print and ask questions. Some phone providers advertise great international rates and plans, but when you read the fine print there may be conditions, restrictions, or introductory offers that quickly increase in cost. Do your due diligence and make sure you know what you are signing up for.
International calls are a necessary expense for your business. However, by understanding how international calling rates work and shopping around until you find the best match for your particular needs, you can significantly reduce your international calling expenses.
For most businesses that make international calls, Vonage will offer the most economical option. Their slightly higher monthly service fee is offset by their cheaper per minute international rates, which adds up to a lower overall cost. Click here to learn more.