Our recommendations are dedicated to helping you find the right product at the right price. We may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and when you make a purchase. Learn more
With most mobile phone plans offering unlimited calls within Australia, many of us pick up and dial without giving a second thought to the cost.
Not so with international calls. If you want to get on the blower to someone outside Australia, you might be in for a rude shock when you get your next bill. Shopping around for a plan that will give you the most bang for your buck depending on where you want to call will make it easy and affordable to connect with people outside Australia.
Whow are all these mobile providers? Should I go with a familiar brand?
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are Australia’s only mobile networks, but there is a huge array of mobile providers that operate using those networks. They’re called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). There are hundreds of MVNO plans to choose from with varying inclusions and premiums, so it pays (literally) to shop around. When it comes to international calls, many of the smaller providers like amaysim, Labara, Belong, Boost Mobile and TPG offer super competitive prices too so they are definitely worth a look.
Can I call anywhere?
Each mobile provider has a list of the countries that are included in each deal. There’s a group of around 20 standard countries that are covered in most unlimited plans including New Zealand, UK, India, USA, Ireland, Greece, Thailand and Singapore. Standard plans usually feature unlimited calls to those nations and allow time-limited calls such as 10 to 30 minutes for example, to other selected destinations. Before selecting a plan, check the provider’s website to find out who they cater for.
Should I go for unlimited or capped international plans?
Plans that offer unlimited international calls to certain countries are usually a little more expensive than plans that have capped rates. Depending on the provider and the package, if you want to place a call to a country outside the core group, a cap of 60 to 300 minutes or a dollar amount such as $50 of credit may apply.
Can I call international mobile phone numbers?
If the best way to reach friends or family overseas is on their mobile phones, look for providers that specify that their rates include calls to both landline and mobile phone. The great news is that even some of the most inexpensive plans have this option, but they may only offer it for selected countries, so confirm beforehand.
Are texts included?
If you want to send texts internationally, check with your provider. Some plans include SMS as part of the unlimited international call features, but most don’t. If it’s not included in the unlimited deal, they may allocate you a dollar value such as $5 worth of texts to international destinations each month.
Is this going to cost a lot?
Not necessarily. You could land yourself a mobile plan that includes international calls for as little as $20 a month. That said, you need to check what’s included in terms of the countries the plan covers, minutes and call rates. If you look at what’s on offer right now, there are $30 to $40 per month mobile phone plans that include very competitive international call inclusions.
What are the international call rates?
Prices vary from telco to telco and country to country. If you’re not on an unlimited international call plan or if you want to chat with someone not in your provider’s unlimited call country group, familiarise yourself with the associated call rates before launching into a marathon catch up. If you’re calling an overseas landline, rates start from a couple of cents per minute. Generally speaking, prepaid options are cheaper than postpaid – for example, calling a mobile phone in New Zealand could cost you anywhere between 20 cents and $1.03 per minute postpaid depending on the carrier, and between 8 and 10 cents a minute prepaid. Then again, calling India could set you back more than $2 a minute so it’s definitely worth looking out for unlimited call packages that include the country or countries you’re more likely to dial in to.
With all the chat apps available, why do I need international calls on my mobile?
The answer is you probably don’t. Apps like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messenger, Skype, Zoom and Viber can connect you via video or audio anywhere for free via the internet. However, if you want to be able to reach and speak to people overseas regardless of whether they have smart phones or are connected to Wi-Fi, a competitive mobile phone plan with international calling inclusions is worth it.
RELATED: How tradie saved $800 on power bills