Swedish VOIP company, Rebtel, offers free and cheap international calls and text messaging. Focusing on personal rather than business calling technology, they offer international calling rates for 222 countries that are several cents cheaper than what most other VOIP providers offer.
- Versatile Options
- International Calling
- Rate Plans
Rebtel uses several different technologies to offer calling features to your international contacts at low prices. First of all, app-to-app calls are free in 50+ countries. If you are calling a country outside of the 'free' list, or you are calling contacts who are not Rebtel app users, you will be charged international calling fees. The following call options can be used to give you the best and cheapest call experience:
- Phone Lines - Your call is placed through your cell phone provider. The Rebtel system keeps you connected through a local number. You will be charged for a standard local phone call through your cell phone plan and any international charges will be charged through your Rebtel account.
- Wifi - Calls are made over your wifi internet connection. You will only pay Rebtel for international rates.
- Mobile Data - Placing a phone call using mobile data will deduct data from your cell phone plan unless you have unlimited data. You will pay Rebtel for the international rates.
- Travel Mode - If you are roaming, turning this on will only connect with wifi. If you aren't concerned with roaming charges, then keeping this option turned off will allow you to use any of the above options to place your call.
Rebtel focuses a lot of resources on its international call service. To ensure low rates, Rebtel generates a VoIP number within your phone's cell network that will connect you to whoever you're trying to call in any of the 222 Rebtel countries. In addition to their cheap international calling rates, Rebtel also has a system in place for users to make free app-to-app calls in 53 of those countries. Unlike other VoIP companies, Rebtel does not use internet connection but instead connects your international voice calls with the local phone lines to ensure your call does not drop.
This is a prepaid calling system; however, each country offers different options. There are $5 and $10 increments or rolling monthly subscriptions. For example, a $10 per month Global subscription offers unlimited phone calls to 56 countries. For countries not on the Global list, there are other options. For example, Uruguay is not included in the Global subscription because it has different rates. For Uruguay, you are offered one-time payments of $5 for 33 minutes or $10 for 66 minutes, or you can enroll in the monthly subscription which gives 100 minutes to any phone number in Uruguay for $10 per month.
- Charges for Certain Countries
- Customer Service
- Not Catered Toward Business
Hidden Fees for Certain Countries
Rebtel only offers free app-to-app calling between 53 countries - the other countries in its network will cost money. Because credit is purchased beforehand, calls may be cut short if enough time isn't available. You'll want to track how much Rebtel credit you have left so to avoid the inconvenience of hanging up, purchasing more credit and then calling back.
Rebtel's customer service is limited to the FAQ section of the website. Users can make comments on the page and receive help from Rebtel agents. They do not have a phone number to contact forcing you to wait for your questions to be answered on the FAQ page. Customers who don't have a lot of tech knowledge or who aren't familiar with VoIP apps may prefer a company like Skype, which offers more support. Rebtel's customer service options are the most limited of all the VoIP service providers we reviewed.
Not Catered Toward Business
This is not a business VoIP service meant to connect to a hard or specialized softphone. They don't offer unified communication add-ons or have multi-line rates. Rebtel is geared towards individuals calling friends or family in another country. To add to the ease of this, they provide free instant messaging with any other Rebtel users. However, if you are looking for a business solution, probably look elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
As far as pricing and rate information, Rebtel is one of the most straightforward platforms for international VOIP calling. There isn't a lot of ambiguous wording to sift through. Fees are pretty straight forward just be aware of the international credits and how much each call will cost. For an individual user, it can be hassle free to use because of the free Rebtel calling app that can be downloaded straight to your cellular device.
In addition, Rebtel doesn't require contracts so you have the convenience of purchasing, switching or canceling whenever you choose.
Rebtel's lack of customer service and tech support is a concern, but its international calling prices are cheap and the apps are easy to use.
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