- 1. WhatsApp
- 2. Skype
- 3. Viber
- 4. Facebook Messenger
- 5. Hangouts
- 6. WeChat
- 7. LINE
- 8. Telegram
No more exorbitant communication costs! With these eight applications, you will be able to communicate with your friends and family (SMS, calls…) for free from anywhere in the world.
You’re probably wondering how you can stay in touch with your family and friends without having to pay a high price. Indeed, when you travel abroad, making international calls and sending SMS with your plan can be ridiculously and unpleasantly expensive. So that you don’t have to worry about that, we’ve compiled a list of the best calling and messaging apps for iPhone and Android smartphones. Rest assured, you won’t go home with a €1000 phone bill.
WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging application in the world. It is used by more than a billion people, and for this reason, it is in your best interest to install it on your smartphone, since many of your friends/relatives already use it. The application, whose usage is tied to your phone number, allows you to call, text, take pictures, send videos and record audio without texting. That is, everything is free, all you need is a WiFi connection.
WhatsApp also offers group chats, ideal for organizing a trip between friends of different nationalities for example. WhatsApp is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.
When you think “travel” and “contact”, the Skype reflex is quickly imposed. Need to make an emergency conference call when you’re abroad? The Skype application lets you do just that. Skype works perfectly to make video calls, including group calls, voice calls, instant messaging, screen sharing and file sharing. Quite complete then. The app is free if you have a WiFi connection. Skype is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Skype also offers a subscription system without commitment particularly interesting for the most talkative. For example, a plan to call the US with unlimited minutes, landlines and mobiles costs €3.60 per month. Skype credit costs 2.1 cents per minute. Prices differ by country (check out all the plans available on the Skype website).
Working a bit like WhatsApp, Viber allows you to call, text and send photos and videos to any other Viber user, completely free of charge. Viber was initially launched in direct competition with Skype. The only catch is that in order to communicate with your loved ones/friends, they have to be among the current 400 million unique users. The app is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
If not, Viber has launched Viber Out for that matter, which allows you to call people who are not using the Viber app. It is a system of calls to landlines and mobiles that is cheaper than a standard operator, and is based on the price of a local call. You can top up your Viber Out credit and then use it to call almost anywhere in the world. A call to a mobile line in France will cost you 7.5 c / min and a call to a fixed line will cost 2.0 c / min.
4. Facebook Messenger
The “independent” application of Facebook, Messenger, is one of the most popular messaging services. Very convenient to use, it allows you to send a text, audio or video message (which can be read either via the mobile application or directly on Facebook on computer). Messenger tells the sender if the message has been read, and allows you to send content to single contacts or groups.
Facebook Messenger is available on all devices, namely iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Hangouts (formerly Google Talk) is less famous and less glamorous than the other apps listed here, but it is still an effective instant messaging tool. You’ll easily find Hangouts in your Gmail box on your desktop, allowing you to send messages, photos, videos and other files (including GIFs). Good to know, Hangouts allows video calls with up to 10 participants.
Launched in 2011 by China’s number two web company, Tencent, the WeChat application is the second most popular instant messaging application behind WhatsApp. WeChat’s popularity comes from China, but the application is also popular in some Asian and African countries, such as Congo, Malawi and South Africa. Free, WeChat also offers its users many bonuses available for small amounts, such as “stickers”, images to exchange in a conversation. WeChat is available on iOS and Android.
LINE and WeChat are similar in their functionality. The LINE application is a bit like the “world’s largest avatar network”, offering countless emojis. It allows you to send text messages, images and videos with “stickers”. Other features of the app include games and a payment platform. LINE is available for free on iOS and Android.
Telegram offers much the same as WhatsApp or Viber, except that it pioneered end-to-end encryption. Telegram is a secure messaging application that allows its users to confidentially exchange text, audio, photo and video messages in an encrypted manner, i.e. unreadable by a third party. Since then, WhatsApp and Viber have followed suit. The only drawback is that the application is not widely used in the world (just over 100 million users), so you’ll have to convince your contacts to download the application for free, on iOS and Android.