International Calling Charges from the UK: Know Before You Dial

A photo of a girl enjoying international call from the uk

Have you ever opened your phone bill and seen those international call charges stacking up? It’s like a hidden cost that sneaks up on you.

And let’s be real, navigating those different charges from mobile operators and landline providers can feel like a maze.

Often, it seems like you need a degree in tele-economics just to figure it out. Don’t fret, my friend, we know how to make things right.

In this guide, we’ll demystify international call charges in the UK, and break down what the major players are charging.

We’ll also reveal some special money-saving plans, and introduce you to a way of making international calls that won’t break the bank.

So, let’s get going!

Things To Know About International Call Charges

International call charges can be a bit of a mystery if you’ve never delved into the details. It’s important to grasp the basics before making that next call.

These charges can vary depending on several factors:

Destination Country: 

Different countries have different rates. Calling a neighboring country may be cheaper than calling one on the other side of the globe.

Time of Day: 

Peak hours tend to be more expensive. Make sure you know when it’s more cost-effective to make your calls.

Type of Phone Service Used: 

Mobile or landline, your choice of phone service provider also affects the cost. It’s important to know the specifics of your service plan.

UK Mobile Operators and Charges for International Calls

Let’s break down international call charges for some of the major UK mobile operators. These rates can change, so it’s always a good idea to double-check with your provider. 

Here is a summary of the major UK mobile operators and their charges for international calls:

1. EE (Everything Everywhere)

EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator with over 30 million customers, offers international calling plans and add-ons to reduce the cost of overseas calls. 

The Plans are:

The International Add-on:

  • You can get 500 minutes to call up to 5 numbers for £13.03 per month. It means you have to pay just 2.6p for each minute.
  • Make landline and mobile calls in 50 countries including France, India, and the US. You can text 500INTL1 to 150 to buy this pack.

The International Extra Add-on:

  • With this add-on plan, you get 250 international minutes for £26.10 a month, which means 10.44p per minute.
  • Call up to five numbers in 100 countries including Pakistan, UAE, and Kenya. To add this pack, Text 250INTL2 to 150, or call to 150 from your cell phone.

The £2 International Pass:

  • This pass gives you access to discounted rates to call landlines and mobiles from 2p a minute. 
  • It allows you to make calls to 65 international destinations including Australia, New Zealand, and India. Text “CALL ABROAD” to 150 to buy this pass, or call 150 from your mobile.

2. O2

O2, the UK’s second-largest mobile operator, has over 25 million customers. They offer international calling plans to cut costs.

Here are the plans:

Plan Type Features Price Activation
International Monthly Bolt On Discounted UK calls to international mobiles and landlines. Rates: 1p/min (calls). £2 per month Go to My O2, Call 2202 free from your O2 phone or text INTBOLTON to 23336
Big Bundles £30 Big Bundle: 250 international minutes, discounted international calls. £30 per month Call 2202 free from your O2 phone, or Text 30DATABB to 21300
£20 Big Bundle: 50 international minutes, discounted international calls. £20 per month Call 2202 free from your O2 phone, or Text DATABB to 21300
£15 Big Bundle: 50 international minutes, discounted international calls. £15 per month Automatically renews each month.
Rolling Plans £30 Rolling Plan: 500 international minutes, discounted international calls. £30 per month Visit an O2 store or order online to get a free Rolling plan sim
£20 Rolling Plan: 100 international minutes, discounted international calls. £20 per month Visit an O2 store or order online to get a free Rolling plan sim
£15 Rolling Plan: 100 international minutes, discounted international calls. £15 per month Visit an O2 store or order online to get a free Rolling plan sim
You can easily switch to Rolling plans from your existing sim number if you’re already a Pay As You Go user. Just log into your “My O2” account and switch.
If you don’t have a plan, O2 charges standard rates that vary based on the destination, ranging from £0.195 to £1.50 per minute.

3. Vodafone

Vodafone, the UK’s third-largest mobile operator with over 18 million customers, offers various international calling plans and add-ons to reduce the cost of global communication. 

Vodafone overseas plans are:

Plan Minutes Destinations Mob & Landline Price (per month) Activation
International Saver 100 100 100 Yes £5.70 Text INTNL100 to 40506
International Saver 500 500 100 Yes £11.40 Text INTNL500 to 40506
Call Abroad 75 75 212 Yes £11.40 Use My Vodafone App
Call Abroad 200 200 212 Yes £22.85 Use My Vodafone App

If you switch to the Pay As You Go Extra plan, you’ll get 50 extra international minutes for calling 65 countries. To add this feature, call 34443 free from your Vodafone mobile.

4. Three

With over 18 million active users, Three is the fourth largest cellular service provider in the UK. They provide international calling solutions to reduce the cost of calling abroad.

Their International Calling Plans are:

Pay Monthly Call Abroad 100: Get 100 international minutes a month. Valid for 55 destinations. It costs £5 per month.

Pay Monthly Call Abroad Unlimited: Get unlimited international minutes each month. Valid for 55 destinations. It costs £10 per month.

Pay As You Go: With prefix dialing, you can save money when you call any of our 25 destinations. Just enter the prefix before calling, and you’ll get a discounted rate for your call. 

5. Giffgaff

Giffgaff, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) utilizing the O2 network, serves over 3 million customers. It offers cost-effective international calling solutions.

Making an international call and sending texts abroad from the UK isn’t included in any of their plans. All international calls are charged and billed on a per-minute basis.

Here is a table of Giffgaff’s calling rates:

Service Cost
Calls to UK mobiles, landlines, and call forwarding 25p per minute
Calls to personal numbers starting 070 25p per minute
Emergency scam hotline, 159 25p per minute
Voicemail (443) 8p per call
Numbers starting 084, 087, 09, 118 25p per minute + Service Charge
Non-mobile 070 numbers 20p per minute

6. Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile, an MVNO operating on the O2 network with over 5 million customers, provides various international calling solutions to lower the cost of international calls.

International Calling Plans and Pricing

Home from Home Countries:

If you’re reaching out to our Home from Home countries, you’ll enjoy affordable rates:

Calls: 19p per minute.

Texts: 6p per message.

It includes numerous European countries, such as Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and others. Additionally, territories like Jersey, Isle of Man, and Guernsey are part of this zone.

Zone 1 Countries:

This zone covers a broader international range beyond Europe, including countries like Australia, India, Japan, the United States, and more.

For other international destinations in Zone 1, slightly higher rates apply:

Calls: £1 per minute.

Texts: 20p per message.

These rates are for paying monthly customers, and charges apply as they are not included in the monthly allowance.

UK Landline Providers and International Call Charges

Most UK landline providers also charge a standard rate for calling international numbers, which can vary from 15p to £1.50 per minute, depending on the country and the network. 

However, some landline providers offer international calling plans or add-ons that can reduce the cost of calling abroad.

Here’s a quick chart of plans and pricings:

Provider Plan/Add-On Inclusions Monthly Price
BT International Freedom 600 minutes to 36 destinations £11.23
Sky International Extra Unlimited minutes to 60 destinations £12
Virgin Media Talk More International Anytime Unlimited calls to 50+ destinations £15
TalkTalk International Max Boost 1500 anytime minutes to 55 destinations £14

Note: Each provider’s plans and add-ons may have limitations. Compare the options and charges before selecting a specific international calling solution.

Can I Make Free International Calls From The UK?

At this point, you might be wondering, “Is there a free option for international calls?” The answer is Yes. With Call4Free, you can make international calls from the UK without any charge as well.

We offer free calls to over 100 destinations, including EU countries, the USA, New Zealand, Nigeria, Canada, Bangladesh,  Australia, Pakistan, China, India and many more.

All you need is a UK landline or mobile phone and have inclusive 0870 call in your packages.

Here is how it works:

  • Visit our website at Call4Free and select the country you want to call. Here is a list of free destinations.
  • Dial any of the following numbers: 0870 498 2222, 0870 498 5050, 0870 498 1212, 0870 498 1111
  • At the voice prompt, dial 00 followed by the full international number including the country code (00+country code + destination number)
  • You’ve reached your loved ones – let the conversations begin!

There are no hidden charges, no contracts, and no subscriptions. You can use our service as often as you like, as long as you have a valid email address and follow our T&C.

Are There Any Cheaper Options For International Calling from the UK?

While free international calls are a great option, sometimes you need more features or want to make calls to destinations not covered by the free service. 

That’s where our cheap option comes in. We offer competitive rates for international calls, often much lower than what traditional providers charge.

Why choose our service:

  • Competitive Pricing: We take pride in providing exceptionally competitive rates for international calls.
  • Exceptional Quality: Our commitment to excellent call quality ensures clear and seamless conversations.
  • Global Connectivity: With an extensive coverage of destinations, our service keeps you connected with friends and family across the globe.

We offer cheap calls to over 193 destinations, including Australian Antarctic Territory, Antarctica Australian Territory, Aruba, Cape Verde, and other countries that are not covered by our free service. 

To avail of our cheap international call plan, you do not need to face any payment hassle using debit-credit card or PayPal. All is needed to ensure the balance availability. Choose from different amounts, starting from 2p/minute.


To save money and prevent any unpleasant surprises on your phone bill, you must stay up-to-date about the cost of international calls.

We’ve walked you through the charges associated with major UK mobile and landline operators. Additionally, we’ve presented two fantastic options for making international calls.

The free service is best for occasional callers and a budget-friendly choice for those with regular international communication needs.

Don’t let hefty international call charges hinder your connections. Switch to Call4Free and start saving on your international calls today.

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