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Long-Distance Calls: Free, Low-cost Options

One of the most difficult things we face as immigrants is being away from our families. Until just a few years ago, simple communication with loved ones was an obstacle, making celebrating those special moments difficult. Long-distance calls were expensive and limited to just voice calls.

Thanks to technology, we can now be in contact with our loved ones easier and now have many more options to choose from without breaking the bank! Continue reading to learn more about the current long-distance and international communication options available to you!

Long-Distance Call Packages for Landlines $–$$

Contrary to popular belief, making international calls from the United States to Latin American countries from a landline can be quite inexpensive. In fact, some companies even offer unlimited, long-distance calls to Mexico and other countries around the world within their phone packages.

Prepaid Phone Cards for Long-Distance Calls $$–$$$

Before the advancement of technology, prepaid phone cards were a low-cost means of making long-distance calls. These days, however, they are now regarded as an uneconomical option. Additionally, rates vary considerably from one company to another (from 1.8 to 32 cents per minute) and the terms and conditions, as well as the fees of these products are usually convoluted and difficult to understand.

Cell Phones $–$$

Most cell phone carriers offer data plans to make international calls to Mexico and other Latin American countries from the United States. Depending on the company and the type of plan you choose, the additional costs of these international call add-ons can be as low as $5. Keep in mind that postpaid or fixed plans are usually better because they allow you to control your budget and take advantage of better rates.

Skype ¢¢–$

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Skype, the most popular VoIP (voice over internet protocol) platform, offers two types of service. Skype users can call each other directly for free, as long as they have an internet connection of at least 30 kbps. It also offers the option to make landline and cell phone calls directly from its platform. Call rates on Skype are quite low compared to its competitors and subscriptions start at $2.99 (equivalent to .15 cents a minute if you use 2000 minutes per month).

Google Hangouts ¢¢-$

Like Skype, Google Hangouts provides the option to make free long-distance calls to other users of its platform and also offers low-cost rates to international calls to landlines or mobile phones. These international call rates are considerably lower than those offered by traditional telephone companies and provide coverage for several countries around the world: Mexico ($.01 per minute), Colombia ($.04 per minute to landlines), Argentina ($.02 per minute to landlines), among others.

Whatsapp $0

Whatsapp is one of the largest messaging apps in the world with over 1,500 million users. As long as you have a steady Internet connection, you can easily make long-distance calls to other users of the app. Whatsapp also allows its users to send text messages, images, audio recordings, and video calls at no charge. To use this service, you only need a smartphone, a valid phone number, and an Internet connection.