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Last updated: 20 May 2020
Remember the days of racking up your parents’ phone bill by calling your classmate’s landline? Or using all your credit just to ring your crush and say hey?
Well, calling has come along way since those costly days. But do you still compare mobile phone deals
to get the best package to make all those calls? Do you even need all that?
Here we look at some of the best apps to call over WiFi for voice and video calls. And the best bit? It’s free.
App-to-App or App-to-Number – What’s the Difference?
There are two functions of apps that allow for free calling over WiFi. Some require both parties to have the app, whilst others allow users to make calls directly to contact numbers – including landlines and business lines – which means you can be more flexible when choosing an app best suited to your needs.
WhatsApp is the most popular app by user numbers. It not only supposedly offers one of the best connections, but also works no matter where you’re located (bar certain country restrictions – more on this later). It just uses your regular phone number and address book - simple. You can both voice and video call for absolutely free to anyone else with the app – just be sure you edit their contact details to include the country code otherwise the number may not show up in your address book.
Another popular app and very similar to WhatsApp, Viber automatically searches your contact list so you can instantly see who you can call for free. You can also make group calls to include over 30 participants, so there’s never been a better way to keep the squad connected. It also offers the option to buy credit and call phone numbers, meaning the other party doesn’t necessarily have to have the app for you to make use of it, and you’ll always be notified beforehand if it’s going to cost you anything.
An old favourite and tried and tested, Skype is one of the world-leading video calling apps – we even guarantee many of you still use the word Skype interchangeably with video calling! You can call anyone in the world through the app or directly via a number, but just be mindful that, like Viber, you may have to buy credit to call certain numbers. You can also group call which is why it’s no wonder it’s a staple in business video conferencing. All that’s needed is an email address - easy.
A hugely popular app for calling over WiFi, though perhaps that’s due to there being over 2 billion Facebook users. While the connection on Facebook Messenger isn’t as good as other apps (and it has been known to drain a battery!), we can’t fault how practical it is. It’s one of the easiest and most reliable ways to get in touch with anyone, anywhere - as long as you’ve got a good WiFi connection.
Haven’t heard of Imo? Well it’s gaining popularity. Currently Imo only works if both users have the app installed, but it does offer some fun additions. Our privacy is important to us and Imo, like WhatsApp and Viber, is encrypted. You can also install an Imo extension on Google Chrome, meaning you can access all the same information from your laptop or computer. We’re watching this space.
The number one messaging app in China. Why though, with all our options, would we use WeChat in the UK (unless we had friends or relatives in countries where apps like Facebook are blocked)? Well, due to China’s high population, WeChat has a lot of users – and in the app world a high user count means higher quality. Setting up your contact list can be a little tiresome, and you can’t yet call independent numbers, but WeChat does claim to have HD video calling as well as a voicemail feature, and it’s free. Give it a go.