How to Make International Calls in 4 Easy Steps

Aug 31, 2022 Data, Talk, Text

It’s true that no matter where you are in the world, you’re only a phone call away. However, while international phone calls are easy to make, they may cost you a pretty penny. Unlike calling your friends and family at home, if you want to make an international call, expect to pay more for the privilege.

Luckily, there are several options for how to make international calls with cost-effective calling plans. So, how much is international calling, and how can you keep your costs down? Here’s what you need to know.

Do International Calls Cost Money?

We all know the answer to this question is yes, but how much do international calls cost? To put it plainly, there are no flat fees for making international phone calls. Several factors influence how much you pay, including where you are calling, your carrier, and any special calling plans you have. Costs also vary based on whether you use a landline or a cell phone to dial into family and friends.

The per-minute system is the most expensive way to make a call. This is exactly what it sounds like — you’ll be charged by the minute if you don’t have an international calling plan. Prices can range from a few cents per minute to several dollars per minute, which is why it’s critical you know the costs prior to dialing.

If you’re looking into how to make an international call from the U.S., many carriers offer special plans that allow you to call certain countries like Canada or Mexico for a flat monthly fee. Users who sign up for certain plans may also receive discounted calls from their landlines and cell phones to countries otherwise not included in their plans.

Ultimately, making an international call from the USA largely depends on who your carrier is and what you have signed up for, so make sure to shop around and speak to different carriers.

Before making any international call, pre-check the associated costs, so you don’t get hit with an unexpected bill. Another option is calling cards, which are available to help you negate the high costs of international calls.

Glossary: International Calling Codes

Let’s cover some basic information about international calling. Every country has its own two- to four-digit code. Entering this code tells your carrier which country you are calling after adding in the “+” exit code. Part of how to make international calls is being aware of various country codes.

Here’s a rundown of the international calling codes for some major countries:

  • United States (USA) +1
  • Canada +1
  • Mexico +52
  • United Kingdom (UK) +44
  • India +91
  • Vietnam +84
  • China +86
  • South Korea +82

If you’re not sure which country code you need, chances are your carrier has a database detailing every country. You must enter these calling codes before calling an individual or business in your country of choice. Type in the wrong code, and your call will not go through.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make International Calls

If you’re wondering “How do I make an international call?”, here’s your quick and easy guide. Once you know the correct format, calling family and friends is easy. Making an international call from a landline requires you to dial using the standard international calling format.

The standard international calling format is:

  1. International dialing prefix
  2. Chosen country code
  3. Area code
  4. Local number

Knowing how to make an international call from a cell phone can be confusing, but the only real difference is the international dialing prefix is replaced with the “+” sign (which should be the same button as the zero).

Let’s go through these steps in a little more depth:

Step One – Enter the International Dialing Prefix

The international dialing prefix is designed for international calls made from landlines. These vary based on the country you are making the call to.

Most countries use the standard “00” as their international dialing prefix, but some exceptions exist. For example, if you are making a call from a landline in the U.S. to another country, the dialing prefix is “011”.

If you are using your cell phone to make the call, you just need to enter the “+” sign to get started.

Step Two – Plug in the Country Code

The next part of an international number is the country code. Every country has its own code, so you must look up what it is before dialing. For example, if you wanted to call India, the country code is 91, whereas Mexico is 52.

The country code never changes regardless of the number you are dialing. Hence, if you are making regular calls to a destination, memorize the country code to make future dialing faster.

Step Three – Add the Area/City Code

The area or city code is a method used by countries to break up a different country into areas to route calls correctly.

Every country will have its own systems for area codes. For example, if you wanted to call Beijing, China the area code is 86. If you wish to place a call to a friend in Mexico City, Mexico, your area code will be 52.

Step Four – Enter the Local Number

The fourth and final step is to enter the local number. Each country has its own systems for the number of digits in a local number. Local numbers in the U.S. are a standard seven numbers, but other countries may have as few as five digits or as many as eight.

So, let’s look at an example of what your international call might look like. Let’s say you are placing a call from New York City to Morelia in Mexico.

  • International Dialing Prefix – 011 (or “+”)
  • Country Code – 52
  • City Code – 443
  • Local Number – 123-4567

Your number in full to place this call would look like this: 011-52-443-123-4567.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to make international calls, are you looking for a provider offering affordable international calling plans?

enTouch Wireless is the top provider of free government phone services. We offer affordable plans with free international calling that enable you to stay in touch with the people who matter most.

We’re committed to keeping people connected, no matter what. To learn more about whether you qualify for a Lifeline cell phone plan, contact enTouch Wireless today.