Are Primus' New International Call Deals Worth It?

Primus has two new phone plans, Passport Easy 50 Countries and Lingo 50 Countries, that offer "unlimited" calls to international numbers in 50 countries. Are they good value? We've crunched the numbers and checked the conditions.

Photo by Mark Garten/UN Photo via Getty Images

Passport Easy 50 Countries is available as a $25 per month add-on for customers who already have a Primus home phone connection. Lingo 50 Countries offers the same service but doesn't require the Primus account, but costs $39.95 a month. You'll also need Primus' dedicated VOIP conversion box, which costs $111.95 if you're not signed up for a contract. You can see a list of the supported countries on the Primus site (most of Europe, the USA and large chunks of Asia are covered).

So what's the catch? Firstly, you're using a VOIP-based service rather than conventional landlines. That's invariably true when it comes to bargain calling providers — the same applies to cheap calling cards — but it could prove a nuisance in practice if you can't get a good connection to the numbers you ring regularly.

You also need a decent-speed broadband connection in the first place; Primus recommends a minimum of 512/128Kbps. Data used for the service isn't counted against your broadband allocation if that connection is through Primus, but will be otherwise. You'd have to do an awful lot of talking for that to be a problem on most reasonable broadband plans, but it's something to consider if you're on a super-cheap monthly broadband plan with a small cap.)

Finally, and again like most other similar products. the free calling option only applies when ringing landlines in the applicable countries. If you need to get in touch with people on mobiles (which is, let's face it, a very likely option these days), you'll still have to pay full calling rates.

So from that point of view, it comes down to simple maths. If you're spending more than $40 a month on international calls to landlines and don't want to spend so much time stressing over the length of the calls, it could be a good option, though I'd go for the no-commitment contract option. If your spend isn't near that level, sticking to existing cheaper options (Skype, using your mobile credit, or calling cards) might make more sense.

Passport Easy 50 Countries

Lingo 50 Countries


Comments

    i recommend checking out pennytel. I set it up for my folks with a voip phone. Never have an issue. Call quality is excellent, and a $20 recharge larges a couple of months or more. They pay a small monthly fee around $5 and pay 8c per call nationally and overseas. Besides the odd internet issue or firmware update for the phone, i havent had dramas from the service. Pennytel customer service has been average in the past. Not sure about now. plus u do need to jump through hoops to get ur credit card authorised before u can add credit. once u do this, its good value.

    Or just get Skype... I mean seriously.. my Fiancee` calls China every second day.. sometimes up to an hour or more each time, our recent $16 top-up hast lasted well over a month already and still we have $5 credit left. It's about 4cents per minute or something ridiculously cheap. Sure, you use broadband too but since we already pay for broadband for home internet and we already pay mobile internet for other things, it's not really much of a cost.

    we use Mynetfone global saver $17/ month for 100 untied calls to quite afew countries. you can byo VoIP box too.

    For international calls you can use any VOIP provider on the planet. voipstunt gives you free calls to simlilar list of countiries for free and it costs only 10 Eurp per year.

    $111.95 for VOIP adapter? I've got mine dual line PAP2 couple of years ago on eBay for $40 with delivery. Many of modern ADSL routers have built in VOIP (SIP) client.

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