5 of the best international calling and texting apps

Lewis Wake
Tuesday 31 January 2017


Ring, ring. Remember these things? You probably don’t since they were so last century.

Smartphones have completely revolutionised the way we communicate with one another over the past decade, subsequently rendering cord-tethered landlines a thing of the past — for better or worse.

One problem though, making international calls can still be ridiculously expensive.

As an international University, we connect with a lot of people globally, whether they are prospective students or prestigious academics, so getting in touch with them wherever they are could leave quite a hole in our wallets.

Thankfully with our smartphones we can use numerous apps to avoid a large phone bill for international calls.

It is worth noting that some countries, notably China, Brazil, Mexico, and most countries in the middle east, block a large number of Voice over IP calls (VoIP).

Worry not, reader, as here we have composed a list of the best calling and texting apps on the market for iPhone and Android including some international alternatives that can be used to contact countries that block VoIP and Skype.


With a user base of one billion as of February 2016, we have crowned WhatsApp as the definitive choice on this list simply for the scale of its userbase. Whatsapp allows users to send fully encrypted texts, videos, and audio recordings without SMS. All you require is the phone number of the person you’re looking to contact.

iOS | Android




WeChat has the second highest user base of any texting app on the market and is the preferred app of China, where it was started.

It’s essentially a Facebook Messenger of sorts, and as such, it offers a solid video and voice calling feature. This app (obviously) works for contacting people in China.

iOS | Android




Operating much like WhatsApp, Viber lets you call, text and send photos to any other Viber user, totally free. Viber Out provides users with the option to call mobile and landline numbers, so Viber users can call people not using a Viber app.

You can also share your location with others or participate in group calls with up to 40 individual users.

iOS | Android




Messenger is Facebook’s default instant message service. Recently, the necessity to have a Facebook account to use messenger has been made redundant. You can now use Messenger without a pre-existing Facebook account.

If you’ve ever used Facebook, you have probably already used it, and most of your friends may have too.

Messenger functions similarly to Whatsapp. It has also recently included tools similar to Snapchat.

iOS | Android




Available in 15 languages in more than 224 countries.

Need I say more?

I probably should.

Tango offers a straightforward video chat as well as member-to-member calls, voice calls, text messaging, and photo sharing. The app lets you engage in group calls of up to 50 people and requires no more than your phone number, email address, and first name to sign up.

I’ll let that sink in for you.

iOS | Android



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