Is It Worth Using Gmail To Make Phone Calls?

As part of a global expansion of its phone-calling capabilities, Google has lowered the rates for making phone calls through Gmail. How do they stack up price-wise if you want to make calls in Australia?

Australia still isn't an officially supported destination for full-blown Google Voice, so you can't associate a local phone number with a Google account. If you just want to make calls, however, you can do that through Gmail. The feature is being rolled out gradually; if it's been enabled in your account, you'll see a green phone icon above your chat contact list. (You'll also need Google's voice and video plugin, which you'll already have if you're using Hangouts or video chat.)

For calls to Australian numbers, Google charges $US0.02 a minute for landlines, $US0.14 for mobiles and $US0.10 for satellite numbers. Those rates are pretty similar to casual-access VOIP services and would save you money on cheaper calls, but are more than you'd pay for most dedicated VOIP services, which generally don't time calls to landlines. For comparison, Skype charges $0.019 cents a minute for landlines and $0.168 cents a minute for mobiles, which is ever-so-slightly cheaper and in Australian currency.

The call rates above are quoted in US dollars, but you can also buy credit in Euros, UK pounds or Canadian dollars. Those options would probably only be handy if you happen to have a credit card for one of those countries though.

Calling from Gmail now in 38 languages, with lower rates to over 150 destinations [The Official Google Blog]


Comments

    I wonder if they will ever quote prices in cents. $0.019 per minute is much harder to parse than 1.9c per minute.

      Unfortunately, some people don't seem to realise that $0.019 is 1.9c and not 0.019c.

      At the very least, the people working at American telcos struggle with this, as seen here and I imagine that it's something a lot of people would struggle with at a glance.

    Wait...

    If Skype's rates are in AUD... doesn't that make them more expensive due to the exchange rate (which at present is about 1.08, which would put them at about US 2.052 cents a minute)?

    Not to mention their mobile rates are outright more expensive in the first place...

      By the time you've paid to convert US currency, they wind up about even, I suspect.

    GV is free to call locations in the US which is great (I've called my hosting provider twice to work out issues, and it's clear as a bell and fast too) so it'd be nice if those free calls would expand to other places worldwide.

    Buuuut there are plenty of things others miss out on, living in somewhere other than the US.

    Not useful until the Google Voice app comes to iOS.

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