How to Make Cheap Phone Calls to India from USA?

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 46 Comments

How to Make Cheap Phone Calls to India?

There are several ways, it’s just the matter of preference, convenience and cost.

I used to make phone calls to India using Calling Cards.

It used to be $0.25 cents per minute.

Then came Reliance and they made it really easy with quick dial options. I believe now you can call India for less than  8 cents per minute.

Vonage World Calling Plan

Vonage World Plan is very convenient to call India. It’s just like dialing a local number within USA.

Vonage recently introduced Vonage Extension.

make phone calls to india

Flickr Credit – faceme

With Vonage extension, I can use my cell phone, but still use existing Vonage landline to make phone calls to India.

I know students who have Vonage connection in their apartment. They share Vonage monthly bill. Total cost per month is around $34.

How to Call India from USA

  • 011 – US exit code; must be dialed first for all international calls made from the USA or Canada
  • 91 – Country Code for India
  • area code – 2 – 4 digit codes
  • phone number –

To Dial  Landline in Delhi

  • 011 – 91 – 11 – 12345667

To Dial Cell Phone in India

  • 011 – 91 – 93211-12345

Warning

While making phone calls using your landline or cell phone, make sure you first dial your calling card number or have Vonage world calling plan.

If you dial the number directly, you will be billed the regular expensive rates. Like $1 per minute.

That’s what happened to a new student who came to Fall 2011. His phone bill was over $500 (his experience will be posted soon).

I have listed 2 ways to make phone calls

  • Calling Cards (or Reliance)
  • Vonage World Calling Plan

Vonage might be cheap option to make phone calls to India. But, it might not be cheap for everyone.

Do you know other ways to make phone calls for cheap to India?

Comments

  1. I use Smartgroshen app,
    simple, good quality of voice and sync with your phone contacts. Get 0.5 euro
    at start.

  2. How to make cheap calls from India?
    It’s cheaper than you think! Want to talk with your family or friends? Don’t want to pay a lot? Try Smartgroschen – the smart app for chat and calls.

    Call any directions from India at low cost or make cheap calls to India – no matter where you are.

    You can also try to call from tablet, because with Smartgroschen you don’t need a simcard.
    Try it for free – you have free 0,50 EUR top-up at the start!

  3. Try Obihai Box. (50$) It is a voipbox, one end goes to internet and other to normal landline phone.

    Configure it for google voice account in USA and send it back to India (home).

    Calling from India to USA numbers and USA to India landline (via gtalk) will be free forever. No charges for anything.

  4. Union Telecard (bharat mata card) is good. I call to different countries and their rates are good. the best thing is that card do not expire. for india from USA 2 cents per minute and there are no hidden charges, no tax and you really get all the minutes. you can use the card after one year of inactivity also.

  5. Try Google Voice. 2 cents/ Minute to both landline and cellphone in India. It charges only if the calls get connected.

  6. Viber is the best way out,just install it fromr the market place on both the phones ,you want to use for calling and go beat every single plan for calling.. As its free of cost .2nd option is install skype on both the phones and enjoy video callong ( skype application is available at all market places free of cost,so u need to jst download it from there ).

  7. IndiaLD is the best option according to me. It allows a call rate @ 0.01$/min, which is the lowest of all the calling cards I have encountered. Although it does not allow rollover of extra minutes, it is pretty cheap compared to Google Voice (which I used for the first month) for the frequent callers (0.02c/min compared to 0.01c/min).

    1. IT is Tricky , you need to pay Tax above this .
      they did not mention it !

      Phone cards are better , as you don’t have to Pay Tax

    2. Hey ya you are correct, Even I am using India- LD and I found it as the best cheapest and economical option to call to mobile/ landline to India and with $10 per month billing period it gives 1000 minutes to call to India which is pretty economical for everyone I believe rather than some others who usually charge you $14 for the same minutes.

  8. If you have “viber” back home. How about using it? its free of cost and calling is absolutely free. VIBER(for iOS, ANDROID, BB OS)

  9. i would like to acquaint everyone with vonage the calling minutes to international number is 3000 minutes in a month..so be cautious as in US nothing is unlimited..there is limit everywhere…

  10. I use reliablecom.com at 1cent/minute. I have been usenig it for over 2 years now.
    The current offer for Diwali is at 0.5cent (half a cent) a minute.

  11. I use Google Voice from a smartphone. Cost of calling India is $0.02/minute. Local subscriber minutes are also consumed. But you need to be connected to the Internet which is not a problem since you are either at home or university.

  12. for raza.com thats an advantage…u can enroll in 2 plans…one is monthly 2000 mins for $9.99 (+tax)….other one is 1000 mins for $ 9.99, which doesnt expire..ie..u can use those 1000 mins over as long as u want..and when ur balance goes below 200 mins, it will auto recharge through ur card. The pinless dial is also a big advantage…u can have local US numbers assigned against numbers in India..so that when u dial the local raza number, ur call will be directly connected without u having a need to dial the India number seperately….

  13. Try OOMA. Its basically a modem which you can install back home. Connect the modem to any cordless handset. The modem requires a working internet connection to function properly. After that you are free to make as many calls as you like. Costs about 40$ a year. Yes… A YEAR!!! You parents/relatives/friends can make calls to US as though they are local calls. They wont be charged a buck. Have been using it for a couple of years. Its amazing.

    1. I have heard good things about OOMA. I will post a review, if I decide to try that.

    2. Hi Vijay,
      Please provide more information on OOMA, I am a graduate student in US. Can I buy one OOMA set and send it to my parents in India and would they be able to use it and there calls to USA would not be charged?? It will be really helpful.

      Thanks,
      Shantanu

  14. I use India L D calling card on my phone. 1.4 c/min. Monthly plan. No roll over of mins. U will get 500min for $5 per month. If you need more minutes you can top up and buy the minutes in 100s ( 100min, 200, 300min . .) at the same price that you are buying the minutes for the first time. They also have quarter plans. its $0.25 / 60min (no matter if you use 5 min or 59 mins, they will deduct $0.25/ 60min.
    And please correct this line.
    “It used to be $0.25 cents per minute.” either make it as $0.25 or 25 cents . . 🙂

  15. Google voice is a great option indeed. Only problem is many times call won’t go through or you’d hear phone ringing while the party you’re dialing won’t get any ring at all.

  16. Go for Reliablecom.com They have a bumper diwali offer…4000 mins for just $20…no commitment, pinless and good quality calls.

  17. Dial91 is pretty cheap and I guess it is the cheapest option. Its $0.0147 per min i.e. with a $10 you can speak for 680 minutes. I have been using it from past 1.5 years and its really good.
    It also has an iPhone app which can be used as VOIP.
    Thanks.

  18. relaince icall is 1.25 cents per minute from us to india…..comes around 60 paise per minute real cheap…

    1. I tried calling from Gmail, but something seems to be wrong, as the opposite person is not able to hear me, but I am able to hear as well as see that person (for video call)…

  19. Well, it might not be a first choice for many of you, but it works perfectly for me. Since I have my laptop all the time (you can understand the situation for a grad student), I use Google Voice. $10 recharge for 500 free minutes to India, all US calls free, no validity restriction. And I don’t have to call much either, because most of the time my calls are like, “Hey dude come to Skype” or “Mom/Dad, can you come online in Skype?” etc and the rest part of the conversation is free :). And, since I don’t have any “girlfriend” to chat with for hours, its pretty cool for me. I’ve used the first $10 for almost 2 and a half months. There is no hassle of dialing this no, that no and fear of getting charged insanely. Man I love this!!

      1. Yes. IndiaLD is a good option if you call too frequently using your cell phone. Some of my friends are using that too. But the validity restriction makes it infeasible to people like us who don’t need that much minutes. Also, u gotta dial a large number for each call. Moreover, one big advantage in case of google voice, anywhere if u find a computer terminal with internet and a mic, you are ready to go.

  20. You can also use VOiP for calling friends and family back home. There are various options like Skype, Action VOiP, etc. but make sure your internet connection is good enough. Voice clarity on Skype is amazing if you have a good internet connection.

  21. dear hsb ,,,,

    go through this statement again ..
    ” Vonage might be cheap option to make phone calls to India. But, its easy to use and hassle free.”

    but should be replaced with Moreover……

  22. You can also try Raza.com and pinless these are also cheap …… very cheap..

    If you are yet to buy a phone go for boost mobile it has a 10$ plan with monthly unlimited calls to india,UK,aust etc…. and there is no need for accesss nuimbers etc…..

    This is good but u have to have a boost phone…

    1. You can also try pidipompi.com and Pinless, spedd dailing.
      $5 for 6oo minutes for one month validity.

    2. Yup, I too feel Raza is a good option. Its just $10 for 1000 mins for India(Cell phones only plan). Also there is no validity. If you enroll for auto pay, 1st time they give 500 mins free and next time onwards 10% mins free… Additional advantage is Pinless dial setup.

        1. I dont know about that. I recommended many of my friends and none of us has a problem. Problem might because of signal tower.

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