Communication is so much more accessible nowadays.
Apart from the email, mobile calls, mobile texting, and landline calls, we have internet apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype that make almost everyone a button click away. All of these seemingly satisfy most if not all of our technology-assisted communication needs.
However, if you are a Virtual Assistant who (1) has a client requiring you to do VoIP-related work, or (2) need to contact a USA-only customer service landline number, then you must have a reliable VoIP App/Tool that would help you do the trick.
In this blog post, I’m giving you 3 simple ways one can go about it. But first:
What is VoIP?
That’s Voice Over Internet Protocol in full. It basically means voice communication that taps internet technologies for added useful functionality. It’s what allows for internet-reliant calling services in popular apps like Facebook Messenger to work. It also makes possible other specific and comprehensive solutions for businesses like custom call-waiting audio (example: the music you hear when GCASH customer service makes you wait).
VoIP-related work positions are jobs that, in one way or another, involve calling: such as telemarketing, lead nurturing, or customer support. Telemarketing is when you call numbers to market your client’s products/services. Lead nurturing is when you interact with potential customers (leads) for filtering out which among them are the best fit for your client’s product/services. Customer support is self-explanatory: it involves dealing effectively with incoming interaction from your client’s customers who are seeking support.
One handy capability a VoIP service allows Filipinos to do is call landline/hotline numbers in other countries, especially in the USA. Sometimes, the only way to contact customer service for a product/service we use is through a USA-only phone number. Paypal has this, so does eBay, SanDisk and many other USA companies whose products and/or services we use.
Okay. Enough with the technical jargon and let’s get started.
Below are 3 solutions that can help you accommodate VoIP clients or call USA local numbers.
1. Use a Free Software-only Service
Rebtel (with or without TextPlus)
Rebtel offers free unlimited calls to USA mobile and/or landline numbers. The recipient doesn’t even need an internet connection to take the call. You can opt to use your own mobile number or, if you need a USA number, get one through the TextPlus app (a separate app/service). If you use your own standard Philippines mobile number, it will appear as [+1] + [your Philippines mobile number] to the one receiving the call in the USA. For example, if your PH mobile number is “09991234567”, then it will show as “+19991234567” when you call. If you use the standard USA mobile number provided by TextPlus, it will appear like a normal USA number when calling. Rebtel also has a website so you can keep track of your account. It has no desktop app.
Rebtel Android app:
Rebtel Apple App Store app:
TextPlus Android app:
TextPlus Apple App Store app:
FreedomPop also offers its own free local USA number with the first 200 minutes calls and 500 texts free. For $10.99/month (approx. P570/month), you get unlimited calls and texts. For the $7.99/month (approx. P410/month) option, you get unlimited texts and 500 minutes of calls. Freedompop has no desktop app either.
FreedomPop Android app:
FreedomPop Apple App Store app:
Call Global by Freecall
This option operates on a credits system. You can do certain tasks that revolve around watching ads, opening the app daily, or sharing the service to your contacts or social media in order to gain credits. Your number appears as [00 + the number with which you registered). You can register using your own mobile number or any you choose. This service is Android-only. After you set it up, you get around only 5 minutes’ worth of calling credits. I’m including the link below but I don’t recommend this one. You may use the link as a reference.
Call Global by FreeCall Android app:
2. Use a Paid Service without a Separate Physical Phone
Skype is a popular choice for those that want a little more convenience for not much money. You can use the Skype app on your phone or the desktop app preinstalled on Windows 10 or downloadable (to be installed) on Mac OS. Calls to USA local numbers are around 1 peso ($0.023) per minute or around P155 ($2.99) per month. The per-minute option is purchased in $5 (approx. P260), $10 (approx. P520), or $25 (approx. P1300) bundles. They call the ability to call local numbers their “Skype to Phone” service. It’s available to try for free for one month.
Skype Android app:
Skype Apple App Store app:
Another interesting pick among the paid options is TextPlus. Texts are free and calls are charged 2 US cents a minute (approx. P1.00/minute). Credits are bought in $0.99 (approx P55) bundles which gets you around 50 minutes of USA-calling each time you buy “load”. Even if you don’t buy load, you can get yourself a free USA number by creating a TextPlus account.
TextPlus Android app:
TextPlus Apple App Store app:
FreeTone technically gives you a semi-random free USA number, but it barely qualifies as free because immediately after you set it up, a 15-minute timer is shown counting down indicating that you have less than 15 minutes to keep this “free” number until you opt for their paid plans: which are as follows:
$3.99 first week, $5.99/week after – unlimited calls to US & CA + no ads + call forwarding
$9.99/month – unlimited calls to USA & CA + no ads + call forwarding
$4.99/month – unlimited calls to USA
$3.99/week – unlimited calls to USA
$14.99 for 3 months (approx. $4.99/month) – unlimited calls to USA
$19.99/yr (approx. $1.7/month) unlimited calls to USA
If you need to avail of their service for a year, their $1.7/month (approx. P90/month) rate is competitive against Skype’s $2.99/month (approx. P155.month).
Find out more using their links below.
FreeTone Android app:
FreeTone Apple App Store app:
Line2 provides a 7-day trial. After the trial, they charge $8.30/month (approx. P430/month) for unlimited calls & texts but it’s billed annually (that’d be $99.6/year [approx. P5,100/year]). You have the option to choose a USA or Canada number or port your number over for free. It includes call forwarding, call screening, and call blocking as well as group calling and messaging. They also offer their Line2 Web Widget which gives you the ability to get texts directly from people on your website. Line2 is available on Mac and Windows.
Line2 Android app:
Line 2 Apple App Store app:
3. Use a Paid Service with a Separate Physical Phone
If you want a separate old-school phone for making USA calls, there’s MagicJack. $49 (approx. P2,530.00) will get you a 1-year unlimited plan that includes a working landline speakerphone that can call USA numbers. The cost to renew yearly is $39 (approx. P2,015).
MagicJack Android app:
MagicJack Apple App Store app:
OBiTALK has offers where there aren’t any recurring fees. Just buy any of their VoIP adapters that fit your needs and be on your way. No yearly or monthly or per-use payment. You can get unlimited calling and texting through Google Voice. Pricing for these devices starts as low as $50 (approx. P2570) for the entry-level OBi200. Buy once and forget.
OBiTALK Products Page:
There’s a perfect-fit choice here for a lot of people. After trying Rebtel both with my own phone number and with a TextPlus-provided USA number, I highly recommend it and would continue using it to contact USA-only customer service numbers like Paypal’s when I need to.
How about you?
Share what VoIP tool you use for yourself or for your client in the comments below.
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