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As we prepared to leave the United States, we searched the ends of the internet for high quality options to make free international calls from Thailand in order to keep in close contact with friends and family back home.
Google & Talkatone to Make Free International Calls from Thailand
We ran through them all, and one option that really jumped out at us was Google Voice paired with an app called Talkatone (available for free in the App Store and Google Play). The benefit of these services paired together is that you can make free international calls from Thailand as well as receive international calls using your smartphone or tablet when connected to a WiFi or 3G/4G connection. The beauty of this is being able to make and receive calls without using any of your cell plan’s voice minutes…even to land lines! Another major plus is the ability to send and receive text and picture messages free of charge. We have used this wonderful pair to quickly handle important business back in the US, but more importantly as the perfect tool for staying in touch with friends and family. In order to set up Google Voice, complete the following steps:
Prior to Traveling Abroad
- Sign up for a free Google/Gmail account here.
- Visit google.com/voice and click “Get a Voice Number“.
- Click “I want a new number“.
- Add a forwarding number. Use your current phone number, but if you have already cancelled your service then ask a friend or relative to allow you to use their number temporarily. Google will call this number and have you enter an onscreen code into your phone’s keypad to confirm that you’re a legitimate user. No worries as you will have the option to change this number later if you’d like.
- Create your personal pin number to be able to access your Google Voice preferences while using any phone.
- You’re done. Go download the Talkatone app for your smartphone and/or tablet device and link it to your Google Voice account to enjoy free calling! There are some innovative features including the option to have your voice mail delivered via email in text format, the ability to screen or record calls, or to have certain incoming numbers be forwarded to different phone numbers.
*Note – Calls are currently only free to US and Canadian phone numbers using this option. To check rates for other countries please see this table. See the below list for options to make free international calls from Thailand to anywhere.
Other Options to Make Free International Calls from Thailand:
- Line App – Free Line to Line calls, text and picture sharing.
- KakaoTalk – Free Kakao to Kakao calls, text and picture sharing.
- Viber – Free Viber to Viber calls, text and picture sharing.
- textPlus – Free textPlus to textPlus calls, text and picture sharing.
- Skype – Free Skype to Skype calls, Free video calls, and messaging.
- magicJack App – Free calls to U.S. and Canadian numbers, or to any magicJack number.
In addition to the above options, it is very important that you bring an unlocked GSM quad band phone that takes a removable SIM card. This enables you to use SIM cards from service providers abroad. CDMA phones can only be used with one service provider and will not work overseas (i.e. Most Verizon Wireless, Sprint, MetroPCS, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular phones). A quick eBay search for your specific phone will usually turn up some useful phone unlocking services. It’s best to do this before departing on your trip so that you can immediately purchase a new SIM card upon arrival at your foreign destination and quickly establish a line of communication.
If you are not able to unlock it prior to leaving, or if you already live in Thailand and are having issues unlocking your phone on your own simply visit your local electronics store for assistance. Have a CDMA phone? No worries! A GSM phone can easily be purchased at these same electronics stores. Most major shopping malls in Thailand have entire floors dedicated to electronics!
Are we missing anything? What method do you use to make free international calls from Thailand to friends and family back home?