A question for some Republic members is, “How does one make international calls?” Republic supports calling and text messaging to U.S. and Canadian numbers only. This is Republic’s word on international service.
Meanwhile, there are third party options for communicating internationally at reasonable and, in some cases, no cost.
If those one wishes to communicate with are also using a smartphone, the most cost-effective (often free) option is use of an over the top (OTT app). Google Duo, Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and, if other parties to the conversation are using Apple devices, even FaceTime are all examples of OTT apps that may be used for communication with anyone anywhere - so long as both parties to the conversation have smartphones, an Internet connection and are willing to use the same app. OTT apps bypass traditional telephone systems.
If one needs to call actual international numbers, then a third party app capable of directly calling those numbers would be an appropriate choice. Google Voice is probably the best known. Skype, which unlike Google Voice can be used over the top, may also be used to directly call international numbers. Neither is free for calling international numbers but both are reasonably priced.
There are also a couple of lesser known services I like Rebtel and Localphone. Why lesser known services? Unlike Google Voice and Skype, which require one to use a separate phone number, Rebtel and Localphone allow for one’s Republic number to be sent as Caller ID. To those you’re calling internationally, the call will appear to be coming from your Republic phone. Rebtel and Localphone are generally price competitive with Google Voice and typically undercut Skype.
Rebtel is a fine option for international calling using a Republic phone. Rebtel is most cost effective when one chooses a subscription. Perhaps, Rebtel’s most attractive feature is its flat rate $10 per month (one may cancel at any time) Global Unlimited subscription for calling to 51 countries as this is written. If your call volume doesn’t warrant a subscription (unlimited or otherwise), you may want to read on as Localphone is probably a better option for you. Getting started with Rebtel is easy:
- Install Rebtel’s app.
- Tap Get Started.
- Grant requested permissions.
- Verify your Republic number.
- You’ll receive a code via text message. If necessary, enter that code, however, Rebtel’s app will likely automatically see it.
- Optionally, enter your email address. Otherwise, tap the back arrow, to the lower left.
- Grant any additional requested permissions.
- Happy Calling!
Rebtel’s app offers three ways to make international calls.
- Phone lines (Using this method (Rebtel’s app dials a local access number then bridges the call to the international number you wish to call. Essentially, this is how an international calling card works with Rebtel’s app automating the process. All one need do is dial the international number they wish to call or select a contact. This method works very well with Republic’s unlimited talk. No data (WiFi or cell) is required.)
- WiFi data
- Mobile (Cell) data
The default is for all three methods to be active and calls are made in the order of preference listed above. One may optionally change the order of preference and/or disable individual methods if they wish but doing so isn’t generally necessary. Nevertheless, if one wishes to do so:
- Tap Settings to the lower right.
- Tap the gear icon to the upper right.
- Tap Call setup.
- To change the order of preference, tap, hold and drag the method you wish to re-order.
- To disable a calling method(s), toggle it off.
Another useful setting is “Intercept International Calls”. This setting allows one to initiate international calls from their phone’s native Phone app. The options are:
Ask (the default), presents the option to place an international call via Rebtel when initiating a call from the native Phone app. Yes, places any international call initiated from the native Phone app via Rebtel’s app without prompting. No, means what it says and won’t place an international call initiated from the native Phone app via Rebtel’s app. Since Republic phones don’t make international calls to numbers other than Canadian numbers, one probably doesn’t want to select this option.
Localphone is also a fine option for making international calls from a Republic phone, particularly if one does not make enough international calls to effectively leverage one of Rebtel’s subscriptions or simply prefers a pay as you go option. Here’s how to get started by establishing an account with Localphone:
- Point your web browser of choice here.
- Click sign up upper right.
- Complete Localphone’s sign up form, then click Create a free account. Be certain to use your Republic phone number. Please note that while account creation is free, you will need to fund your account to make calls beyond the initial 5 minute test call offered.
- Once at your dashboard, click the Internet Phone tab.
- You’ll be asked to verify your Republic number. When done click Continue.
To make calls from their Republic phone using Localphone, one may use Localphone’s app or a third party SIP app. For purposes of this article, I’ll highlight setup of Localphone’s app and Zoiper (a popular third party SIP app).
Use the Localphone App
- Install Localphone’s app.
- Open Localphone’s app.
- Sign in with your newly created account credentials (email address and password).
- Grant requested permissions.
- Happy calling!
If you dissatisfied with Localphone’s app, Zoiper is a good alternative. You’ll still be able to use your Republic number as Caller ID and Zoiper also integrates with your phone’s Contacts or People app.
- Install Zoiper.
- Open Zoiper.
- Tap Agree & Continue.
- Enter the information for User, Server and Password per the table below. For the Username and Server, enter it as Username@Server:
|Localphone||SIP ID||SIP Password||localphone.com|
- Tap Create an account.
- Verify hostname or provider matches Server from the previously referenced table above.
- Tap Next.
- Tap Skip.
- Accept the recommended configuration by tapping Finish.
As they are being placed through a third party service, international calls will not be logged in your Republic online call history. They will be logged on your phone and both Rebtel and Localphone provide online call history similar to Republic.
There are no issues storing international numbers in Android’s native Contacts or People app with the appropriate country code on a Republic phone.