How to Make Cheap Phone Calls to India from USA?

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?

46 Comments

  1. davidson333 on June 4, 2014 at 6:38 AM

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

  2. raju singh on May 12, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    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. Shubham on January 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Has any one heard of Blue Vox, any comments on it.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Nope. Is it any good?

  4. Rahul Jain on March 21, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    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.

  5. munna on April 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    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.

  6. N on February 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

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

  7. GAGAN on October 29, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    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 ).

  8. Pavel Bhowmik on October 29, 2011 at 5:17 AM

    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).

    • Tony on January 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      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

    • Abhinav on January 14, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      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.

  9. pankaj on October 26, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    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)

    • pankaj on October 26, 2011 at 11:47 PM

      and calling quality is unbeatable.
      P.S. viber uses your data plan(3G OR WiFi)

  10. dhawal on October 26, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    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…

  11. Vamsi on October 26, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Hi HSB & Friends,

    I wish you all a very Happy & Safe Diwali…..

    Cheers,
    Vamsi

  12. apitt on October 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    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.

  13. Sanjeev on October 26, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Rebtel.com is a good option too.. 1.79 cents /minute

  14. SIRISH CHANDRAA on October 26, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    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.

  15. Subham on October 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    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….

  16. Vinay on October 26, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    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.

    • HSB on October 26, 2011 at 3:47 PM

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

    • shanny on February 6, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      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

  17. XYZ on October 26, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    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 . . 🙂

  18. Manisha on October 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    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.

    • Sudipta Karmakar on October 26, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      Yes. I faced that kind of problems in August. But it seems google has worked on that. But, its solely my experience.

  19. sairaj on October 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    info is not at all good

  20. Bigmacjoe on October 26, 2011 at 11:04 AM

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

  21. Sumanth on October 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    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.

  22. anshul on October 26, 2011 at 10:42 AM

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

  23. Navin on October 26, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Google Voice s the cheapest. 2 cents per minute..

  24. Romas on October 26, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    Hey calling from gmail is a lot more cheaper than calling from anywhere . It costs only $0.06 per min

    • Prasad on October 26, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      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)…

  25. Sudipta Karmakar on October 26, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    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!!

    • HSB on October 26, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      Google Voice is another good option. Nice tip.

    • aditya on October 26, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      For 10$, you can get 1000mins in IndiaLD. But its only valid for a month.

      • Sudipta Karmakar on October 26, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        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.

  26. Shashad Gujaran on October 26, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    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.

  27. Sundeep Krishna on October 26, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    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……

    • HSB on October 26, 2011 at 9:08 AM

      Thanks Sundeep. Corrected the sentence.

  28. Q on October 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    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…

    • 123abys on October 26, 2011 at 10:55 AM

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

      • HSB on October 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        You have to check if you are going to talk for full 600 minutes?

    • Sandeep on October 26, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      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.

      • Vins on October 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        call qualty of raza.com sucks

        • Sandeep on October 28, 2011 at 7:04 PM

          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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