It’s incredible to think of how international communication has changed in the space of just a few decades. Your father or grandfather may have gone abroad and you may not have heard back from them until they re-entered the UK, whereas these days, if you didn’t hear back from them after a day or two, you would probably send out a search party!
Not only has it become quicker and more convenient to keep in touch with those overseas, it’s also more affordable – as the below five communication methods demonstrate.
The granddaddy of video chat apps may have been joined by some heavyweight competitors in recent years, such as Google Hangouts and Apple’s FaceTime, but it remains ubiquitous, with a quarter of Millennials outside China using it. Communicating with another Skype user is free, although you can also make calls to landline telephones and mobile phones when you buy credits.
Texts can be expensive, and international ones even more so. Apple knows this as well as it knows how widely used, its products are, which is why it introduced iMessage so that the owners of Apple devices could send free messages to each other over the web. Naturally, the use of this feature does depend on both you and the person with whom you would like to communicate having an Internet-connected Apple device on which the iMessage feature is also activated.
If you would like all of the advantages of iMessage but with the additional benefit of being able to communicate to and from non-Apple devices such as Android phones, WhatsApp Messenger could be your saviour, with the ability that it gives you to send not only text messages, but also the likes of images, video and user location information over the Internet. One minor downside of the app is that it requests a phone number for the initial setup process, although there are ways to use WhatsApp without a phone number or SIM.
International SIM cards
One of the definite upsides of today’s globalised world is the ability that it gives you to visit almost any major town or city in the world and purchase a SIM card that you can simply place into your mobile phone, meaning that you can immediately start making both local and international calls for mere pennies. International SIM cards are, however, perhaps becoming less relevant in the emerging era of similarly ultra-affordable international calling accounts.
International calling accounts
Just imagine being able to call various overseas landline and mobile numbers from any UK phone for a few pennies… and when we say ‘pennies’, we mean just a single penny in some cases. International calling accounts have truly redefined just how cost-effective and convenient global calling can be, and you don’t even need to buy a SIM card or remember a PIN to take advantage of one. Planet Numbers provide cheap international calls, for more info click here.
Yes, there are other ways of communicating with people abroad – such as social media, email or even good old ‘snail mail’. But in today’s hyper-globalised age, you really do have little excuse for failing to make use of the cutting-edge international communication technology that is not only now widely available, but also more cost-effective than even many of the more traditional options.