If you are a college student that lived through the COVID-19 pandemic you probably know Zoom all too well. If you were at work and you had conference calls during this time you know the app as well. Yet, if you have been around long enough you know that Zoom was not the first app or online platform that has been used to call or have conference calls with people all over the world. As far as using Zoom to call internationally it certainly could be an option. Would it be the best option that you have out there though? As usual, there are a lot of different variables to consider. Without a doubt, this is one of the most intriguing subjects that we have probably covered on the site thus far. One of the questions that we are going to try to answer is why Zoom actually became so popular. Even though, it was not exactly the top company in its market space before the pandemic.
If you are using Zoom to call multiple people at once and really have that group chat opportunity it may be a great way to communicate. That does not mean that it is going to be the only option that you are going to be able to find out there. Although apps such as Zoom are seemingly free, we are also going to be exploring some of the added costs that you could have by using this app. As with most of all of the content on the site we are going to try and explore multiple angles to give you different points of view. With that in mind then, here are the main topics that we are going to discuss in this particular article:
- How to actually use zoom to call internationally
- Why did zoom become so popular in the pandemic?
- What is the actual cost of using Zoom to call internationally?
- Is this app better with tablets or laptops than with phones?
- Other apps that you could potentially consider
- Using zoom while having your phone run on a foreign SIM card
How to actually use zoom to call internationally
You can do this in a very simple manner. As with many of the other apps that we talk about on the site; the first thing that needs to happen is to have everyone that you want to talk to download the app. When we talk about the usage of other apps on the site one of the main problems that comes up precisely has to do with the fact that many people that you may want to talk to may not be on the app.
Let’s just say for argument’s sake that everyone that you want to talk to has the app on their phone or tablet. So all that you are going to need to do is start a new group, and you are going to be getting a code to access that group. Once you do that you can just give that code to other contacts through the app or invite them directly to the call.
It is one of those things that if you are even moderately versed in digital technology you are going to be able to get fairly easily. Most people do not necessarily need a manual to be able to participate in calls through the app. A big part of that has to do with the fact that the app itself is certainly user friendly.
We don’t really see the need to get overly technical with the features on the site. Yet, the one thing that we do have to mention is the fact that Zoom is a free app, but you can potentially pay for higher privileges. If you are on the free version you are going to be limited to 40 minutes per call. That is certainly something that may not sit well with a lot of people. If that is your case you may want to look into the paid options and how they could potentially fit your particular needs.
Why did zoom become so popular in the pandemic?
There is no way to get around this. If Zoom had no become so popular during the pandemic we may not even have taken the time to actually craft an article about using Zoom to call internationally. One of the reasons why it became so popular was the fact that it allowed for large groups to really gather. It did so in a way that was effective. The reason we mention this last point is strictly because there are other apps that people could have used. However, most of them put a very short limit on the numbers of users that could come into one call or chat room if you will.
What essentially happened is that Zoom became that go-to platform for work and school. This meant that a lot of people that may not have been using it before were essentially forced into the platform. With a lot of word of mouth and key marketing strategies where Zoom would sponsor calls from people on the news and TV shows, in general, we got to where we are today. A situation where we can talk about Zoom as the go-to platform for group calls. It is really just as simple as that.
Of course, the final factor that we would be remiss not to talk about is social distancing. People want to connect not only with co-workers but with friends that they are not allowed to visit during the pandemic. The use of the app then turned quickly into a tool for work to pretty much the only way that you could have a social gathering with a lot of friends involved. Could there have been other apps that took full advantage of the moment? Sure, there probably could have been. Yet, Zoom was essentially the big winner. Now, a lot of people have reported network failures and having their calls hacked into, with adult content being shown on their screens. So, it is not all great news, but it safe to say Zoom was one of the biggest winners of the COVID-19 era.
What is the actual cost of using Zoom to call internationally?
Zoom is essentially a free app, right? So with that in mind, you can use Zoom to call internationally for free! Yet, this is one of those statements that can be tricky. As we mentioned recently, Zoom has a free version and a paid version. One of the biggest drawbacks of the free version is that you are only going to be able to be on a call for 40 minutes. If you go for the paid version you can also obtain other benefits, but the main one, of course, has to do with unlimited calls.
Now, the thing is that you are going to need internet coverage to be able to use Zoom to call. This is essentially the same thing that happens with apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, you name it. What we have said about those apps in some of the other articles on the site is that you won’t get charged by the minute, but you are going to be charged for the data that you use up when you make the call. With that in mind, it would certainly be less costly to make only a voice call through an app like Whatsapp. Even though, you don’t have to share a video of yourself on Zoom either it would not make much sense.
The overall cost can really pile up if you need a foreign SIM card to call and even more if you are just using your regular plan to navigate the web while abroad. That being said, you could potentially eliminate all of the costs by using the hotel wifi. Which is really great you could talk in 40-minute intervals when using the free version of Zoom. Essentially though, you could do this for as long as you want for free as long as you are in your hotel room that has a wifi connection.
Is this app better with tablets or laptops than with phones?
The short answer would have to be yes. Yet, this is more of a personal answer than something that is more based on fact. What we just mentioned is that using Zoom to call internationally is not the best “portable option”. Just based on the fact that making a video call while on the foreign SIM card would just take up too much data. Now, you could say, I don’t care I am going to buy the unlimited plan. That would be great, but that would not solve all of your problems. Usually, internet coverage is going to vary more from to place than phone coverage will. Overall, we are talking about an app that is not the best mobile option.
As we mentioned in the previous section it really does work great when you are sitting in your hotel room and you have free coverage. Usually, through a tablet or a laptop, you are going to be able to enjoy the video feature a lot more. There is a better chance that you are going to be able to maintain a stable internet connection on these devices. Saying that this particular app works better in tablets and computers than it does on mobile devices should not be taken as a particular knock on the app.
Zoom is more of an app to connect larger groups of people that you are going to be able to see through the app of course. So just trying to do that through a smaller screen is harder and it overall does not make much sense. Using Zoom through your mobile could be a necessity. If you need to use it for work or school and if you are traveling then you are not going to have a lot of options. Based even on their own marketing efforts it is safe to say the app is better suited for bigger screens!
Other apps that you could potentially consider
We have talked about other apps in the past that are going to allow you to make international “calls”. The reason why we quote “calls” is that can we really consider them calls? The answer is technically no. You are essentially not calling since you are not using a phone line. This is a senseless debate, but we just wanted to get that out there to get you thinking. Having said this there is Skype as an option that you could potentially consider. A lot of people are saying that Zoom essentially took what Skype used to do well, which was being a peer to peer communication platform and just modernize it.
These days Skype runs through Microsoft’s servers. Which, means that it is no longer a peer to peer communication channel. So, if privacy is your main thing some people would say switch to Zoom. The problem with that is many private conversations where being hacked. So, it does not look like the “more private” option just yet.
On the other hand, you could go with Telegram, Whatsapp, and all of the usual suspects. If you have not used Whatsapp to video chat recently you may be surprised. In the first stages of the video call option being available for this app, the video quality was usually pretty bad. The audio did not fall far behind and just was not all that great either. They have really stepped their game up quite a bit though. These days you can go through a pretty decent call. The last software update only allowed for up to 4 users on the call. This is one of the areas where it is going to inevitably fall short. At least in comparison to what Zoom is essentially providing.
If you still use Facebook, you may have seen that they have actually tried to update their video chat features. Both in their desktop and mobile versions. This social media platform has actually tried to get their video call feature to be used more and more. The new feature for summer 2020 is looking to allow people to host video calls of up to 50 people. It is going to be interesting to see if this ends up reflecting positively on Facebook’s numbers in the coming months. The main issue is the same one that we talk about with calling through other apps. It is essentially a subscription-based platform. That can limit the number of people that you would be able to connect with.
Using zoom while having your phone run on a foreign SIM card
Should you be using Zoom to call other people while you have your phone running on the data that you got from a foreign SIM card? The answer depends on the type of SIM card that you bought. These days a lot of people are overly accustomed to their unlimited data plans. In many cases buying an unlimited data SIM card, especially if you are buying SIM cards for a whole family is just not a good idea. If you are on a budget you are probably going to want to save up as much data as you can. If not you could end up paying a truckload of money for coverage. Of course, that is the thing that we want to avoid the most on this particular site.
If you have unlimited data, then do as you please! The cost is not going to be a problem. What you could come across though are certain restrictions on speed if you use up too much data. Yes, this happens with most unlimited plans abroad. If you use up too much data the provider could scale back the speed of the coverage that you get. Most apps like Zoom that are video call apps tend to use up quite a bit of data. It may not be something that you have to be too concerned about. Just keep an eye out though to see how much you are spending.
Is Zoom A Good App To Call Home With?
Ok, so after all this is a good idea to use Zoom or not? From what we could gather in recent experiences, it is a good idea in certain specific situations. If you are going to do a family chat where you have a lot of people connected at once great! Are using a larger device?, (larger than your mobile phone) Then it makes more sense. If we had to crown it as the go-to app to make even video calls to people all over the world, we would probably be hesitant to do so.
At this stage, most of the other platforms are safer in that no one is going to be budding into your conversation. Many other apps just make it easier to just call up a person that is your friend. Such is the case with Facebook for example. So, large conversations probably yes, smaller groups or just a one on one call not so much!