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Best Mobile Plans for Overseas Calls

  • Latest bump by Virgin will force people to change
  • Almost all carriers have lousy int'l rates
  • Avoid buying a handset on contract if calling OS
Written by Adam Wajnberg
20/02/2013

 

Virgin Mobile (part of the Optus Network) has just this week announced a massive hike in international call rates, with some countries attracting rates of $25 a minute. Even ‘Group 1’ countries – developed and friendly nations like the US, UK and Canada – will now attract eye-watering $2.00/minute pricing.

Click here for Dodo’s $40 Magic SIM plan – include 100 mins of overseas calls! Or call 1300 192 775

                      mobile international call rates

This hike will hit one of Virgin’s core demographics – international students who are attracted to Virgin’s cheap prices, especially as they’re the cheapest carrier who also bundle in new handsets.

 

If you’re already happy with the phone you have (or you otherwise plan to buy a new handset outright) then there are plenty of other options for SIM-only mobile plans that charge very little for calls made overseas. Some people aren’t even aware that international calls can be cheap on a mobile – pass this guide along to friends still buying calling cards!

Dodo Magic SIM $39.90 – Call 1300 192 775

Dodo’s Magic SIM is part of the “$40 Unlimited” club, popularized by Amaysim. The plan includes free calls, text and picture messaging within Australia, and a whopping 5GB of data. The added sweetener is 100 mins of free calls to 50 destinations (including the big North American and European destinations, as well as China, India, Israel and many more).

Beyond that 100 mins, call rates are still pleasantly cheap. The US and UK are 4c a minute with a 20 cent flagfall. India is only 2 cents! A full table of rates can be found here.

Amaysim $39.90 Unlimited Plan – Call 1300 302 942

Amaysim popularized the full value, no-catch Unlimited plan, and continue to lead the pack when it comes to customer service and ease-of-use.

If you want to make international calls, you can add credit to your account via their website, over the phone or via their app for iOS and Android. This will allow you to call overseas at bargain-basement rates.

For their Top Countries, calls are 6c/min with no flagfall. This includes Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore ,Thailand, UK and USA.

With these bolt-ons, credit can last up to 90 days, and can be used on 25 cent international text messages as well.

A full table of Amaysim international rates can be found here.

WATCH OUT!

 

                                        stop

 

TPG Super Value

TPG’s $80 Home Phone and ADSL2+bundle includes unlimited data, landline calls, mobile calls and international calls to 11 countries- including the UK, USA, Canada, some European countries, India,Malaysia and China (and Chinese territories like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore). Call 1300 106 571 for more info on this plan.

TPG’s mobile Super Value plans can be added with a small discount to their broadband bundles, but can also be had as standalone plans from $18 a month. They’re traditional cap plans – you get some credit and then have to monitor your service to make sure you’re not incurring excess fees – but as cap plans go they’re cheap and generous.

You would think that TPG’s profile when it comes to home phone and broadband, combined with their great value mobile plans would equal great plans for international calls. Big fat NO on that. TPG’s mobile international rates are pretty ruinous, with even the US and UK coming in at a whopping $2.40/minute with a flagfall to boot.

It bears mentioning that Home Phone + ADSL2+ Bundles make sense from an economic and technological viewpoint – the actual line being used for both services is the same, so the ‘bundling’ takes place in the real world and delivers real benefits to the carrier and to the user.

But bundling in a mobile service is often a ‘value-add’ proposition for just the carrier- which usually means it’s a way to extract more money from your wallet. This goes for mobiles, Foxtel and hardware (such as free gaming consoles or modems or handsets). Always make sure to stick to what should be your main goal – get the best value services at the fairest price. If a company is pushing a Bundle really hard, it’s not usually because they’re your mate.

Major Carriers

When we started putting together this article, we really wanted to find at least a few decently priced traditional cap plans with great rates for calls to international numbers. This…has not been the case.

iPrimus, Vodafone and Optus all have woeful rates for international calls from mobiles, without the added benefit of having otherwise cheap monthly rates overall (as TPG does). If you need to calls overseas from a mobile, avoid a pre-paid plan from ANY major carrier.

Conclusion

Dodo’s Magic SIM is the best, because those first 100 mins are free. But Amaysim’s rates are overall competitive, with no flagfall, and better support and service. The rest is just awful – Virgin’s rates are no good, but it seems they’re just playing catch up with everyone else.

Amaysim and Dodo might get squeezed soon to do the same, so keep a close eye on your plan before hitting 0011 on your handset. .

The sad truth is that most major carriers make a lot of money from building plans that will find SOME way to spank you at least once – especially if you want a cheap handset as well. With regulations coming in to make international roaming and some other money-spinners less ruinous for customers, expect carriers to keep moving the goalposts to try and extract more money from other small-print inclusions, like international calls.

So make sure to buy a handset outright, even if it costs you a packet upfront, and then stick with great value plans like those from Amaysim and Dodo. They work better, however you want to analyze it.

 

 

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