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How To Make Free (Or Cheap) Internet Phone Calls

Sunday, April 14th, 2013 by | Filed Under: I've Always Wanted To Know...

I Always Wanted To Know:

How to make free (or cheap) Internet phone calls?


Many computers come equipped today with webcams and microphones but how do you use it to communicate? Can you call traditional phones or just other computers? Let’s start by talking about what hardware and software you’ll need and then how to do it.

Hardware you’ll need:

  • Computer with high-speed internet access (cable or DSL service)
  • Microphone for voice chat & phone calls
  • Webcam for video chat
  • Skype software and account (free from )

How to make internet phone calls:  

Before we jump into using Skype, let’s talk about the difference between computer-to-computer calls and calls to land line and cellar phones. Calls from computer-to-computer are generally free and only require that both the person making and receiving the call have the same software program to communicate. Calls made from a computer to a land line or cellular phone do not require the receiving party to have a computer or software, but the person making the call will have to pay a fee. 

The reason to use a software like Skype is the cost. If you make calls from computer-to-computer, it’s totally free and you can communicate with voice and video. Even when making calls to a land line or cellular phone, the price-per-minute is almost always significantly cheaper than using long distance or international phone service on a regular phone. If you want to make a call to a land line or cellular phone, you’ll need to purchase credits with Skype or subscribe to a monthly service plan.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed Skype from,it’s a simple process to call someone. If you want to chat computer-to-computer for free, start by adding the person you wish to speak with as a contact. You can search for contacts by name, Skype nickname, e-mail address or by phone number. Once you’ve found who you want to talk to, you can Add to Contacts to save the address. Click Video Call to place a video call, or click the drop-down button next to Call Phone and select Call Skype to make a voice-only call.

The rates to call a land line phone will vary depending on the place you call. The fantastic thing about Skype ,is you can check the rate to any country by clicking here. If, for example, I wanted to call my cousin in the United Kingdom, it would cost either 2.3c per minute to call her landline, 25.9c per minute  to call her T-Mobile cell phone, or if we were talking a lot, I could purchase a $39.99 unlimited to all of Europe plan. Comparing this to the $1.69 a minute for international long distance to the United Kingdom AT&T currently charges, you can see how much money you can save using Skype.

Need more help? Skype has a fantastic how-to and support site availible by clicking here. Once you start using services like Skype chatting, I know you’ll love it so give it a try today.


P.S. If your microphone’s sound quality is not that great, consider buying a USB microphone. They convert your voice into digital signal versus an analog one, which can eliminate interference sounds. Many come with noise cancellation features or in headset/microphone combos.

Do you have a general technology or electronics question you always wanted to know like “How does a Microwave work?” or “Why do LED’s last so long?” Write me at and your question may be answered in an upcoming “I Always Wanted To Know.” For specific computer support questions ask our writers by clicking here.

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5 Responses to “How To Make Free (Or Cheap) Internet Phone Calls”

  1. Gerald says:

    Phone to phone calls using Rebtel is cheaper than using Skype for computer to phone calls

  2. Leonard says:

    You can make free pc to pc or pc to phone with Google Voice. It will even let you use your existing handset (cellular or landline)to both send and receive calls. You just need to register for a free Google Voice phone number.

  3. Bobbie says:

    If I want to make a call only to someone in my local network (intranet) and not have the call go out to the Internet and back to person calling, what software do I use?

  4. John fowles says:

    I second the recommendation for rebel (Rebel Television)
    I stumbled upon it a while ago it is so much better than Skype because as well as being cheaper (just 1 cent per minute to the UK rom the USA) you are not stuck with having to use your computer’s microphone and loudspeakers just use regular telephones at both ends;
    you set up contacts which will be a local call for you (free of course in the USA) and if you already know your contact’s email rebtel will send an email to them explaining that they can call you back collect at your expense using a relatively cheap locallish access number:(most of my friends in southern England would be given the same London number)
    It was a while before I also discovered that Rebtel have a “Double Dial Call” system whereby they give you a personal local access number that you can use instead of setting up individual contacts and their accompanying individual special local (to you) call numbers, you then just dial the access number first then your contact’s full number including the country code followed by press the hash key “#”(a.k.a, the pound key).
    you will get a monthly call summary showing the balance of whatever credit you have paid in. plus if your friends join and refer to your recommendation you get funds credited to your rebtel account

  5. Keith Monson says:

    If you have an android tablet you can use the Magic Jack app. Even if you don’t have a Magic Jack device. You can make unlimited calls to the US and Canada, both computer to computer and to land and cell phones for free! When you call the person the app issues a phone number (with a local area code so they don’t get hit with long distance charges) they call you back on that number and your android tablet rings like a phone (this also works on android phones but be careful of the data fees!).

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