Updated April 2014
Yes, you really can make free phone calls using the Internet! Free internet phone programs let you make free phone calls, sometimes only to the US and Canada, using special software.
The free phone call applications I list below are available in four different forms:
- PC to phone programs are ones that can make a free call from your computer to a real telephone number so you don't even need a telephone yourself.
- App to phone software are ones that make free Internet calls from a mobile device to a real number. These services support making phone calls to any number, even landlines and mobile phones that aren't using the app.
- PC to PC Internet calling is when a computer makes a free phone call to another computer.
- App to app services run entirely on mobile devices and results in phone calls that can only work if the recipient has the same application installed. This method can not be used to call landlines or other mobile phones that don't have the proper software.
No matter how it works, it's a free call!
To make a free call using an Internet phone, you might have to download free phone call software or use a soft phone from an Internet phone provider website.
Important: A free Internet phone can not be used to make a 911 or similar emergency call. If you need to call 911, use a traditional land-line or mobile phone, or a VoIP telephone service that's approved for 911 use like Vonage.
1. Google Voice
Google Voice is the very best way to make free Internet phone calls. With Google Voice, you can make free calls to an actual phone number, PC to PC calls, and free PC to phone calls.
Google Voice is much more than a way to make free phone calls on the Internet. Google Voice is primarily a way to manage the phone numbers in your life and can be used to intelligently route incoming calls to your free phone number provided by Google Voice to any other phone you have. With Google Voice, you can also get free SMS, make a free conference call, and get free voice mail services.
Free calls you make with Google Voice must be to numbers in the United States or Canada.
Google Voice is available as a mobile app (as pictured here) that works with Android, BlackBerry, and iOS users, as well as a web app that works with other mobile devices.
Free phone calls with Google Voice are limited to three hours. However, you can continue to make a free call to the same number over and over again.
magicJack is an app to app and app to phone mobile application that offers a real phone number that can be used to make free Internet phone calls.
Not only can you call other magicJack users for free anywhere in the world, but you can also call any regular telephone number in the US and Canada, even if they don't use the magicJack app (like landlines).
The contacts that are already in your phone will display in the magicJack app, which makes calling existing contacts really easy.
magicJack users also get free voicemail.
iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users can use this app in addition to Android devices. There are no desktop programs available.
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is a mobile application used primarily for sending and receiving text messages. It can also be used to make free Internet phone calls to other BBM users.
BBM is available for Android devices and the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. BlackBerry users have BBM installed by default.
After installing the application, users are given a unique PIN that's used as a username. Contacts add each other to their BBM address list using this PIN.
Internet phone calls made with BBM are not restricted in length or by any other means, however they can not be made to landlines or non-BBM users.
PC to PC and app to app free Internet phone calls are available with Viber.
Viber works with many different devices. The mobile application can be installed for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Bada, and Nokia users.
Software can also be installed to a desktop computer to make free Internet calls with other computers and mobile devices. This works with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
The app scours your contact list on your mobile device to find other Viber users, which makes it simple to know who you can call for free.
Messages and video can also be sent through Viber to any other device that has it installed, be it a mobile or desktop version.
Facebook Messenger is the messaging service from Facebook. It can transmit text messages and make free Internet phone calls from PC to PC and from app to app.
To make free Internet calls using Facebook Messenger, both recipients need to be "friends" on Facebook and have the correct application installed.
To use a computer to make calls over Facebook Messenger, a plugin needs to be installed. For Android, iOS, and Windows Phone users, the Facebook Messenger mobile application must be installed.
Facebook Messenger can also transmit text and video in addition to voice.
Facebook Messenger does not support calling real phone numbers like landlines.
Tango is a free service that can make free Internet phone calls via app to app.
If you're running a Windows computer or have an iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone, you can install Tango to call other users for free.
New Tango contacts can be added by searching through your existing address book. Anyone who has Tango installed will show up as a friend. You can also find Tango users that are currently positioned around you by their location.
Tango can make video calls and send free text messages to other users as well.
Skype is a popular messaging service that can make free Internet phone calls between several different desktop and mobile platforms.
Skype can be installed on: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Kindle Fire HD, PlayStation Vita, and Windows Phone. Desktop versions are also available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
Because Skype works on both desktops and mobile devices, any variation of communication is allowed - PC to PC, app to PC, app to app, and PC to app.
To create contacts with Skype requires recipients to already have a Skype account. You can find a user in the public Skype directory by their email address or phone number. You can also add contacts directly if you know their username.
Skype supports not only Internet calling but also video calls and text messages to any other Skype users.
If you're a Yahoo! user, you can use the mobile or desktop application to make free Internet phone calls with other users.
Windows and Mac desktop users can install Yahoo! Messenger as well as iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android devices.
Video calls, instant messages, and SMS texts can also be sent using Yahoo! Messenger.
Note: As would seem obvious with a Yahoo! product, the installer tries to change your default home page to Yahoo!, but it's not hard to disable this before setup completes.
Free app to app Internet phone calls are allowed with ooVoo.
It can be installed for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch mobile users as well as Windows and Mac desktop users.
Voice calls are only free if they're made with other ooVoo users. This applies whether the user is on a computer or using the mobile app.
In addition to voice calling, oooVoo supports instant messaging, video chat, and file transfers.
Note: If installing the desktop software, ooVoo tries to add a toolbar to your computer, but it's easy to deselect and avoid installing.
10. Vonage Mobile
Vonage Mobile uses your existing mobile phone number to connect with other users to make free Internet phone calls, text messages, and video calls.
The Vonage Mobile app uses the address book you've already built on your phone so you can easily call anyone that's an existing contact, given they're a Vonage user.
Your contacts that are already using Vonage Mobile will appear in a dedicated section of the app so it's easy to know who you can call for free.
Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users can download Vonage Mobile.