People travelling from India to USA, always face the dilemma, regarding ways to call friends and family in US, as well as back home in India. People also need to make calls to hotels, airlines, restaurants and other places within USA. Indian service providers, who give us day- to-day connectivity in our country, charge huge amount of international roaming charges, not to mention other hidden charges associated. You should make a decision regarding your mode of connectivity, based upon factors such as the length of stay, places that you will visit, your budget and your preference to use your cell phones.
If You Don’t Want to Use Your Mobile Phone
If your length of stay is not more than a few weeks, and you are planning to make calls only to India; you could avail an international calling card. Depending upon your calling requirements and duration of stay, you can make a one-time recharge, to enjoy the benefits for days. To call out, you will need to dial local or toll-free number, then you will have to provide an account ID, and then the number you want to call. The problem comes at local end, where you might have to pay additional surcharge to use pay-phones. Let us see some of the best calling cards.
Global Family: At $10 per month recharge, you could make unlimited calls to India; including calls to Indian cell-phones as well. You can use the card to make calls from both cell phones and landlines; and store 10 numbers on speed-dial too. They have a 24×7 customer service facility in case you face any trouble. The card offers connectivity to almost 50 countries worldwide. They also offer ‘pinless-dialing’ facility where you store your usual landline or mobile phone number from where dial from, and then whenever you dial they will recognize your number so you will not have to enter a pin number each time.
Simple Calls: Available with three recharge options of $10, $20 and $50, you can make calls to India at a rate of 1.42 cents per min. The card also provides access to local numbers, though you can only make these calls via touch tone phones. There is no connection fee charged and the card allows you to make calls in over 20 different countries.
Both these options for calls between India and the US are available at callingcards.com. There are some other options here that you can check out.
If You are Willing to Use Your Cell-Phone
If you are staying for some time, and have to make a lot of calls within USA, use your own cell-phone. Then you could opt for an international sim-card. Indian service providers are also coming up with attractive price discounts for trips abroad.
Reliance USA SIM Card: With a minimal amount of Rs.2999 recharge, you will get to make unlimited calls within USA for 30 days, along with unlimited local and international SMS and unlimited data plans. Depending on the amount of recharge, Reliance USA SIM card offers some free minutes for calls made to India. For Rs.2,999 monthly recharge, 100 minutes free calling to India is allowed. You can get a USA number before you start your trip.
Vodafone: Vodafone has issued unlimited international roaming plan for travellers to USA, with its international roaming pack i-RoamFREE. The pack is available at very affordable price points with options at Rs.5,000 for 30-days, Rs.3,500 for 10-days, Rs.2,500 for 7-days and just Rs.500 for every 24-hours. The international roaming pack offers home-like tariffs while roaming in 47 countries of the globe. While roaming in USA, all calls and data are free and unlimited.
Matrix Sim Card: If you are a student, the Matrix SIM Card offers you a special deal. At Rs.1999, you can make unlimited outgoing calls in USA, incoming calls are also unlimited. Plus, you will get 1000 minutes of calls to India, and also enjoy 2GB data.
Voice Over Internet Protocol
This is a viable option, especially for students who have limited money supply. Making voice calls could be exuberant for them. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) transmits voice and multimedia content over Internet. Compared to conventional voice calls, VoIP is a cheaper and effective alternative, according to an article on Deccan Chronicle. There is large number of apps available. You can download these apps and ask your family and friends to download them too; to enjoy unlimited video calls, voice calls, chats and messages.
Skype: This Microsoft app provides video call options, instant messaging and cheap international calling packages. It is compatible in all smartphones, tabs and Mac platforms. You can stay connected with your family, friends, and colleagues from all over the world and perform group chats and video calls. Skype is also widely accepted in the corporate world for its seamless group calls, video calls, and conference abilities. Skype messenger service can be used to share photos, videos, and locations.
WhatsApp: WhatsApp Video Calling allows you to place a video call to anyone using WhatsApp. On Android, video calling is available starting on Android version 4.1. The App is highly popular worldwide, and is soon planning to bring voice and video calls to group chat, according to an article on Independent.