Save Money by Free Calls

The motivation behind this website is to list a subset of the top apps that allow individuals in the USA and Canada to place free phone calls to landlines using the internet (e.g., Google Hangouts & Fongo).  The apps can be used on numerous devices such as iPads, tablets, and smartphones (e.g., iOS, Android).  Saving money by any means is important in the present age where food prices have surged, in concert with rental fees and the general cost of living.   For example, the folks at Visual Capitalist noted that prices for ground beef and bacon rose markedly (50%) over the past decade.  The cost of communications is high and a source of consternation for many, and thus the need and advantage of free internet calling.

The banner logo for the site describing free phone calls to the US and Canada.
Fongo, Skype, Google Hangouts.

The tradition of paying costly amounts for landline phones and long distance calls is being challenged by internet calling services such as Google Hangouts, Fongo, and Skype.  Indeed, those software programs are used daily by the Canadian administrator of this site.  The information is presented in a clear fashion to hopefully help fellow citizens decrease their expenses.  The goal is to provide tips to help everyone save money, and improve their financial situation.  This is yet another step forward in “cutting the cord”, and reducing costs.

The programs described typically run on devices (e.g., smartphones) where there are numerous other apps drawing on the available memory and space.  To improve reception clarity and overall reliability, it is likely a good option to clear unnecessary programs from the memory while running Google Hangouts and Fongo.  The procedure to do that on certain Android platforms is to double click the home button and tap the sweep icon.  On certain iOS platforms used by Apple, double click the home button and swipe (drag) a given program window upward.  I find clearing unused programs from memory prior to making calls results in an improved experience.  Skype to Go can be accessed via a regular landline and is consequently independent of memory or storage space issues.

Top Free Calling Apps Used by Fellow Internet Users

It is also hoped that fellow internet users highlight their favourite free internet calling tool or approach in the comments section below, to contribute to the broader goal of reducing (high) expenses for everyone.  The apps discussed here use VOIP, or voice over IP technology.   The creator of this website, and individuals placing comments in the section below, are not responsible for any negative issue stemming from the information or programs cited throughout this site.

FAQ Regarding Free Calls and Other Topics

Frequently asked questions (FAQ, and Q & A) answered by the administrator of this site (‘Free phone calls in Canada and USA’).

Q:  Between Fongo, Google Hangouts, and Skype, which program do you prefer?  A:  I actually use all three simultaneously.  I use Google Hangouts for calling, Fongo for its voicemail to email service and phone number, and Skype for Skype to Go.

Q:  How much can I expect to save in a given month by proceeding this route?  A:  The fees for landline and phone services from local companies are extreme, and a conservative estimate is approximately 30-60$ per month.

Q:  How did you obtain a cool domain such as .tech as an internet address?  A:  The company designated Namecheap  offers .tech domains at a decent rate.

Q:  I’m a foreign student arriving in Canada or the United States to enroll in University.  I need a local number to provide to the University administration, on forms, and for every other affair (e.g., medical doctor’s healthcare office).  What do you recommend?  A:  Fongo is a dream come true for such students on a restricted budget, as that company can provide a free number.

Q:  Does the Fongo app need to be running (e.g., on the iPad) for the voicemail to email service to work?  A:  Thankfully the voicemail to email service will continue serving its function without needing the Fongo App open at the time of an incoming call.

Q:  Are there are other quick tips that you can provide to help save money using tech products, and keeping expenses at a minimum? A: It is important these days to have a reliable means of backing up information and photos in case your iPad, tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer fail or crash. An amazing free product for storing photos is Google Photos, which provides unlimited storage if you allow the software to compress the images (degrade the resolution).

Q:  Skype is not a free service, and so why do you have it listed here alongside Google Hangouts and Fongo?  A:  Skype to Go is advantageous for the elderly, who many not be comfortable using a smartphone app, but are well-versed using a traditional landline and phone.  In concert with the 30$/year cost for USA – Canada calling, I decided it was pertinent enough for fellow citizens to know of the service.

Q:  I noticed you constructed this page using WordPress, and managed to get comments on the homepage only.  How was that task achieved?  A:  First, using the latest WordPress release, go to the ‘Pages’ section, click on ‘Quick Edit’ for the homepage file and check ‘Enable Comments’.  Next, go to the ‘Appearance’ section, click on ‘Editor’, and then select ‘Theme Footer (footer.php)’.  Between ‘</nav><!– .social-navigation –>’ and ‘</div><!– .wrap –>’, replace or modify the existing to the following ‘ <?php endif; get_template_part( ‘components/footer/site’, ‘info’ ); comments_template(); ?>‘.  A caveat, note that I do not have comments enabled on any other page, and so it works given this layout. 

Q:  Why is Whatsapp not listed on this site, but Skype is?  A:  Whatsapp allows free calls to fellow users on their system, and the same is true for Skype, but neither provide free calls to conventional landlines.  However, the latter software program features the Skype to Go service, which allows one to access the low-rates Skype provides using a conventional landline. 

Q:  I have a program suggestion or a question to ask, should I send you an email?  A:  I prefer that everyone shares there thoughts in the comments section below in order to garner as much input as possible.  My email is info@freecalls.tech

1 – Google Hangouts

Pros / Advantages

Google Hangouts can be used by Canadians and Americans to make free phone calls via WiFi to landlines and smartphones in those countries.  In other words, there are no long distance calling fees.  In addition, users can connect with fellow Google Hangout members through video, etc.  Furthermore, certain individuals I referred to the service have noted that the free calling works when travelling abroad (e.g., Europe, Asia), in the sense that they can make free phone calls to Canada and the USA.  The clarify of the calls has always been great, and the service has proven stable and reliable.  I should add that the service can be used directly via their website, although I have not personally utilized this option.

Cons / Disadvantages

There is no phone number provided by the service that can be used by landline users to establish contact and to also leave a voicemail (see Fongo).  Furthermore, the caller id is listed as ‘unknown name’, although in certain instances that may be an advantage.

Rating: 4.5/5

Brief Google Hangouts Tutorial & Instructions

A brief tutorial and instructions on how to use Google Hangouts.  The following screenshots were obtained using Apple’s iPad, after downloading the app from the App Store.   Android users would acquire the program from Google’s Play Store.

  • Click on the phone icon identified by the red arrow.
Google Hangouts, Dialing Instructions – I
  • Next, click on the phone pad highlighted in green and indicated by the red arrow.
hangouts instructions 2
Google Hangouts, Dialing Instructions – II
  • As viewed in the screenshot below one can proceed to enter a number and click the green phone icon once completed.
hangouts instructions 3
Google Hangouts, Dialing Instructions – III

The alternate (or concurrent) internet calling programs described here are Fongo and Skype.  Frequently asked questions are described in this section of the site, and the comments section is available too.

2 – Fongo

Pros / Advantages

Fongo is an impressive service that beyond granting free phone calls to landlines for folks in Canada and the United States, also provides users a phone number that can be contacted by individuals with a landline, and importantly allows users to have voicemail.   Those free features are certainly advantageous.  Moreover, the Fongo voicemail service can forward email notifications when new messages are received for free, with an attachment that contains the digitized (mp3) voicemail recording.

Cons / Disadvantages

At this point the only disadvantages I encountered are perhaps all tied to the software in varying degrees, and it is unclear whether the software or the OS (operating system) drives the issue (bugs exist such as the program (on iPad) not registering a missed call).  However, there is a solution for that issue, which is to login to their website and examine the call log.

Secondly, and on a separate note, be certain to check that the ‘Blocked Anonymous Calls’ feature is disabled in the settings, as I missed important calls as a result.  Obviously that feature can be useful in other circumstances.

Thirdly, the clarity is not ideal relative to a landline, but I find it is satisfactory.

Lastly, there may be a lag between when a caller places the call to your number, and when the app receives the cue and starts ringing.  One approach to address this issue is to ensure that the voicemail (if turned on) does not answer prematurely (e.g., after a ring or two).  Admittedly, depending on the usage, in certain occasions it can be desirable to adjust the number of rings to say 1 or 2, if the account is being used merely as a voicemail to email service.  If it is used in the same manner as a traditional phone, consider increasing the number of rings to say 5, 6, or 8.   A screenshot below highlights that setting, and how to adjust the number of rings a caller will encounter prior to shifting to voicemail.  To make that adjustment, the first thing to do is to enter the app and then click settings, and next to examine the ‘Phone Service’ sub-header, and subsequently ‘Rings Before Voicemail’.

Fongo - Numer of Rings
The number of rings a caller will encounter prior to voicemail can be adjusted within Fongo.  Lags can occur, and in certain cases a larger number of rings should be selected.

Rating: 4.75/5

Brief Fongo Tutorial & Instructions

Below is a brief tutorial and instructions on using Fongo’s free voicemail to email forwarding feature and to receive anonymous calls.  As remarked above, the screenshots below were obtained on an iPad, after obtaining the app from the App Store.   Android users can acquire the software from Google’s Play Store.  The program is easy to use for calling after registering, just click the dial-pad.

  • To enable the voicemail to email service visit their main site and click the login button at the top right, or click here.  The following page appears once the information is entered, and click the settings link.
fongo instructions 1
Fongo, Voicemail to Email Instructions – I
  • Next click on the voicemail settings as indicated by the red arrow in the screenshot below.
fongo voicemail to email instructions 2
Fongo, Voicemail to Email Instructions – II
  • Next, fill in the information related to the ‘voicemail to email’ (copy) and ‘Voicemail Forwarding Email’ (email address) entries, etc.
fongo instructions 3
Fongo, Voicemail to Email Instructions – III
  • Follow the steps below to ensure you can receive calls from an anonymous caller id.  Open the app, and enter the settings.   Then click on the ‘Blocked Numbers’ area, as identified by the red arrow.
fongo instructions 4
Fongo, Disable Block Anonymous Calls Instructions – I
  • Subsequently, uncheck the ‘Block Anonymous Calls’ field.
fongo instructions 5
Fongo, Disable Block Anonymous Calls Instructions – II

The alternate (or used simultaneously) internet calling programs described here are Google Hangouts and Skype.  Frequently asked questions are described in here , and also available is a comments area.

3 – Skype

Pros / Advantages

Skype can be employed to call the landlines of Canadians and Americans for approximately 30$/year, and thus it is not free relative to Google Hangouts or Fongo, yet still offers significant savings.  However, it does have a key advantage designated Skype to Go, which may be desirable for elderly folks who still find comfort in using a landline.  A Skype to Go number can be created via their website that can be dialed (local number) using a traditional landline and phone, and the call will be free pending it is within the USA or Canada and the aforementioned package was purchased.

The program likewise features low cost rates for regions beyond those two countries, and Skype to Go can be used to tap into those fees.  In sum, Skype allows one to skip the traditionally high costs for long-distance packages that are provided by landline phone companies.

Cons / Disadvantages

Calls to American and Canadian landlines are not free, although the monthly rate is considerably cheaper than that offered by traditional phone companies.

Rating: 4.5/5

Brief Skype to Go Instructions & Tutorial

Listed below is a brief tutorial and instructions on how to use Skype to Go.  It is rather straightforward to use the service, just login via their website and click on the associated button.

skype to go instructions
Skype to Go is an advantageous feature.

The other internet calling programs described here are Fongo and Google Hangouts.  The administrator of this site uses the programs listed together.  Frequently asked questions are described in this section of the site, and the comments section is available too.