If you want to save some money (and you spend a lot of your day in a place with reliable Wi-Fi, such as your office), you might want to sign up for the cheapest cell phone plan available and rely on free call and text apps instead.
Here are seven phone apps with free calling for Android and iOS. They all offer unlimited calls and SMS text messages.
As you’ll soon discover, many of the apps that offer free calling all share a significant caveat—you can only call people who also have the app installed. Often, you cannot make calls to regular landlines or cell phones.
TextNow is one of the exceptions. As long as you live in the U.S. or Canada, you can make unlimited free phone calls to any phone number in either country. If you want to call international numbers, you will need to pay. You can, however, earn international calling credits by completing offers.
Other cool features include voicemail transcripts, caller ID, call forwarding, and you own free inbound number. TextNow is available on Android and iOS, as well as Windows and macOS.
2. Text Free
Text Free was created by Pinger, a company that’s been making free Wi-Fi calling apps for several years.
It’s similar to TextNow, but there are some important differences. Most notably, only Wi-Fi-based app-to-app calls and inbound calls are free. If you want to make outbound calls to a regular phone number, you will need to pay.
Luckily, you can earn minutes for free by watching videos and completing partner offers. If you prefer to pay, you can grab 100 outbound minutes for $1.99. You can use the minutes to call anywhere in the world.
You’ll also be able to choose a real U.S. phone number that you can give to friends and family. The custom number selector lets you pick an area code, then add your preferred combination of characters.
The Text Free app is ad-supported and available on both Android and iOS.
Using WhatsApp to make free calls has some obvious limitations. You can’t call landlines or cell phones; the app can only place calls to other people who have WhatsApp installed.
On the plus side, an increasing number of businesses—big and small—now maintain WhatsApp accounts. This means you might still be able to order a pizza from your favorite restaurant when you get some midnight hunger pangs.
Unlike TextNow and Text Free, WhatsApp also supports video calls and group calling.
The best part about WhatsApp, however, is its userbase. It is comfortably the most popular messaging app in the world, meaning there’s a very high chance that the person you want to contact also has an account.
Once again, WhatsApp is available on Android and iOS. You cannot place calls via the service’s web app.
The imo app is rapidly becoming more popular. Like WhatsApp, it supports audio and video calls, and it works on 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in addition to Wi-Fi. Also like WhatsApp, both the caller and the receiver need to have the app installed in order to make a connection.
imo will encrypt all your voice and video chats, and there is no limit on the number of calls you can make.
Users who like to inject a little fun into their conversations will also enjoy imo. It comes with a massive sticker library that can brighten up even the most mundane conversations.
In addition to Android and iOS versions of the app, you can also install a Chrome extension. It provides all the same features as the smartphone apps directly from your laptop or desktop computer.
Maaii is the most popular free call and text app in much of Asia and the Middle East, including Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. If you have friends and family in those areas, there’s a good chance they’ll have Maaii installed on their device.
If you’re calling other Maaii users, you can make an unlimited number of Wi-Fi-based calls. The app also supports outbound calls to landlines and cell phones, though those minutes are not free. Outbound calls to more than 120 countries around the world are supported.
Maaii does not offer inbound phone numbers for other people to call you. Other noteworthy features include video caller ID, voice and video mail, a location-based friend finder, and group video chat.
The Maaii app is free to download and available on both Android and iOS.
6. GrooVe IP
GrooVe IP is more akin to TextNow and Text Free that we discussed earlier.
You can grab a free U.S. phone number that can receive calls from anywhere in the world, and make outbound calls and texts to any number in the U.S. and Canada.
All incoming calls and text messages are free. If you want to make outbound calls or send SMS, you will need to use some of the free credits. GrooVe IP will top up your credits at the end of each calendar month. If you run out mid-month, you can purchase more credits through the app. You can also earn credits by watching videos and completing surveys.
GrooVe IP is ad-supported, though there’s a paid Pro version that will remove them. The Pro version does not offer any other additional features.
Sure, Microsoft’s app doesn’t enjoy the same market dominance that it once did, but it’s still a big player in the world of free Wi-Fi calling apps and remains popular among business users.
Once again, calls to other Skype users are free. If you want to call landlines and cell phones, you will need to sign up for one of Skype’s payment plans. Numerous plans are available, each of which offers a different number of minutes and supported countries.
And remember, if you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you receive 60 minutes of free calls to any global number every month. Unfortunately, unused minutes do not accumulate between months.
Wi-Fi Calling Is the Future
Apps that let you choose a phone number and make free Wi-Fi calls to other users are becoming quite popular. Indeed, it’s hard to see a future in which these apps do not play an increasingly important role in the cell phone plan landscape. In our opinion, they could easily become the Netflix of the phone call sector.
If you’d like to learn more about making cheap phone calls, check out the best phone plans with unlimited everything.