Lowest cost calling options to Australian mobiles (SIP and other VoIP-based trunking) – using virtual DID numbers in Australia
Australia first had telephone service introduced in 1879.
20th century saw deregulation and establishment of Telstra. Other corporations entering the Australian telecom market were Hong-Kong PCCW, Optus and AAPT. Australia has undersea cable connectivity with NZ/Hawaii (620 Gbit/s),Fiji,Guam,Japan,Indonesia andNew Caledonia.
Telstra, Optus, Vodafone,Orangeand Hutchinson are the main mobile carriers in Australia.
Businesses frequently need to dial Australian mobiles to speak to their partners and to stay in touch with their clients. This can be expensive. Let’s look at some of the per-minute rates available for calling mobile numbers in Australia.
1. An obvious first choice is to use Skype. However, the disadvantage of Skype is the lack of breakdown. Skype charges you one rate to all mobiles in Australia without breaking down to networks. This averaging out does not work to your advantage. It will cost $0.24 per minute to dial Australian mobiles – not cheap at all.
2. Looking at the calling cards in the United States and the UK, we get some lower rates. Union Telecards, a well-known prepaid provider, offers $0.18 per minute to “Australia cellular” as they refer to it. Again, they do not break down by network. One rate to all mobiles.
3. Broadvoice, Vonage, Lingo and other residential VoIP providers in the US have a similar $0.18 rate per minute to Australian cellular networks.
4. A heaper alternative could be to use discounters that offer granular pricing with per-network breakdown. Companies such as MDV, FVoice, VTI and DIDLogic.com may have more attractive rates to Australian networks because they charge differently depending on which carrier you are trying to reach.
– Hutchinson$0.08 per minute
– Optus $0.09 per minute
– Telstra $0.10 per minute
– Vodafone $0.09 per minute
– Brisbane,Perth,Sydney,Canberra,Melbourneand all landlines $0.009/min (below 1c)
To achieve these rates, some knowledge of VoIP is required to setup a SIP-based PBX like Asterisk, FreePBX, Elastix or Freeswitch. Alternatively, you can use a hardware ATA like Linksys or a softphone such as Counterpath’s X-lite or the free Linphone for PC.
iPhones are also capable of supporting SIP calls via Linphone, Acrobits, Bria and Fring apps.
When you use these SIP trunking solutions, some VoIP providers also allow you to transmit Caller ID to Australian mobiles – people will be able to call back on your actual Australian number when you call (didlogic.com allows custom Caller ID; MDV, VTI and others also do)
Yet another option is to setup a virtual local number (DID number) in Australia and forward it to your SIP-based device or you other landline number. When you setup a virtual number in Australia, you can use it for economical (and even free) call forwarding to your current location.
It is also worth taking a look at US or UK DID number that you can use to forward calls to your destination in Australia. Many virtual numbers in USA and United Kingdom can be purchased for as little as $0.50 per month at various DID exchange websites. If you setup PSTN forwarding for that local UK number, you can call Optus, Hutchinson, Telstra,Orange and Vodafone mobiles in Australia from your home or mobile phone while making a local call.
Some of the things to look for when choosing your VoIP provider for DID numbers:
– Unlimited minutes
– Reliable service
– Call waiting and caller ID
– Virtual fax capability
– Call forwarding
– Buy and setup online
– Edit your ring-to and follow me settings
– Free Skype forwarding
– Asterisk and Vicidial supported
Not all carriers will satisfy all requirements at the same time, however, the important things to do before making calls are to research per-minute rates first, and to make sure call prices are broken down to a specific network. This will help you achieve significant savings on your outgoing calls to Australian mobile numbers.