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International calling for… FooCall

FooCall. Say it slowly, in two parts… Fook. All. Now say that together? Fook All. FooCall. That’s right! International calling for next to nothing.

I’ve used a lot of international calling services, particularly from my mobile phone. For a long time I made use of an array of services that enabled me to call locally and then use an existing balance to call internationally. When I was having to phone venture capitalists and board members in the States regularly, the costs used to mount up at 24p a minute from British Telecom. Calling internationally from a mobile was simply ridiculous. It still is, even with the ‘international’ option on the account, you’re still billed silly rates. I can call America from my mobile at 5p per minute, because I pay Vodafone a few quid a month extra.

I remember thinking ‘ahh, that’s better’. Because instead of £1.50 (or something crazy), 5p sounds good.

Until you realise that it’s costing Vodafone almost nothing. Yes they need to maintain the mobile cell, but if I can call any landline in the UK for ‘free’ (unlimited, fair use), why can’t I call America for a few pence a minute? You know? 2p, something like that?

Well, the answer is that it’s still a good way to garner cash from us all — and we can’t believe it’s not costing £1.50 a minute, so we pay.

And besides that, it’s convenient, right? Pick up your mobile and dial…

No.

It’s almost a fifth cheaper if you use FooCall. It’s even cheaper if you pay a few pounds a month.

Quite apart from the fact that anyone who’s named their company in that manner deserves my business, I’m delighted that they’ve made an iPhone application to make the experience super simple. I’d like to see them deploy on other platforms too.

Let’s have a look at the application:

foocall

This is the main screen. It’s really easy to use. Once you’ve created a free account — that process takes 20 seconds — you can start calling. Literally dial the number you want.

FooCall then calculates a local access point — i.e. an 020 number that counts toward your inclusive minutes. It places the call to the local access number and automatically dials your destination for you.

This all happens in about a second. Within moments you’re connected. Done.

Now let’s talk about rates. By default, it’s 1.2p/minute to the United States from the UK. That’s a pretty good rate in itself. But if you’re calling regularly, you might like to take note of the FooCall FooPlan. It’s £2.75/month and reduces that rate down to 0.8p/minute.

Of course, that’s a popular route. Let’s pick out some random ones from their list:

UK to New Zealand? 1.4p/min

UK to Bahamas? 3p/min

If you’d like to confirm your reservation at The Sanctuary at Parrot Cay on the Turks & Caicos Islands? 13.7p/min.

You can even call Antarctica. That’s 100.7p per minute — but drops to 67.2p if you’re on the FooPlan.

FooCall isn’t just about the iPhone though — you can use their web-based service very easily. Just login, click ‘call’, select or type in your desired number and boom… this screen appears:

Pretty nifty, eh? That’s a unique number for you that puts you straight through to your destination without any messing around.

I particularly like that if I add a contact on the iPhone app, it’s synchronised straight through to the web version of FooCall too.

This is one of those services that, even if you don’t call abroad regularly, you should definitely have sitting on your iPhone — so that when you *do*, it’s easily accessible. Download the FooCall iPhone app from this link — and when you setup your account, you’ll be credited with 50p’s worth of credit to get you started (enough for a 41 minute call to the States!)

Nice work, FooCall!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

11 replies on “International calling for… FooCall”

What if you called America, New Zealand, India and the Bahamas for an hour a week each? Who'd work out better?

(I made that list up… with the assumptions that you've got an American investor, a New Zealand-based designed, an Indian developer and the bank in the Bahamas!)

Foocall does look very cheap. Okay, Skype has some plans but if you simply compare Foocall to Skype rates (just PAYG ignoring the Foocall £2.75/month option) Foocall is definitely cheaper. Take the Canada example – Skype = 1.2p/minute, FooCall = 0.7p/minute.
Should also point out that Skype is pure VoIP, whereas, this new Foocall service is using local dial in numbers, so call quality / reliability should be much better.
Also like the flexibility of the calling options

I can assure you that absolutely every company except the one I am using is charging some type of hidden fee. Skype Out charges a BT minimum charge, a connection fee and is pretty expensive when calling other countries just google the words 'skype rates'. The only company that does not even require a signup, and calculates calls to the precise second (unlike Skype) is http://www.kangatel.co.uk.

Wrong wrong wrong. You can't assure anyone of any such thing and can be locked up for making statements that are that inaccurate. Let's take this service you mention and FooCall in the article above. FooCall is consistently cheaper on call rates. They don't charge connection fees, there are no minimum call charges, they bill per second. Besides Kangatel can only be used on T Mobile, 3 and some Orange services. They also seem to be unable to grasp the concept of inclusive minutes – they are just that – paid for, thus no incremental cost. FooCall and no doubt other services out there beat Kangatel hands down.

Inclusive minutes do cost Merrick. On my Orange package I would be paying 6p, so any rates on top of that might cost me 7p or 8p. The concept of inclusive minutes is in my opinion a con. This is why I prefer services such as Kangatel.

Once again – can we emphasise that this is a ‘Dial-Through’ application. In order to make an international call the application dials a UK geographic number into a PoP, and then forwards the call onto the international destination.

As such it has a couple of major disadvantages when compared against a ‘True VoIP’ application:

– There will always be an element of cost associated with the ‘uplink’ call from the calling phone into the PoP
– Call setup times will be longer than those initiated from ‘True VoIP’
– As calls are routed via PSTN, wide band (HD) codecs can not be used
– The application is next to useless in scenarios where the calling party does not have access to a GSM service with low cost/bundled calls

A solution that offers Voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) will be a better solution for most parties; particularly those that travel internationally or live outside of GSM coverage areas.

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