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The History of International Phone Calls

by Louise W. Rice
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International calling technology has changed a great deal over the last few decades. Landlines were the only way to make international calls for many years. Mobile phone networks have largely taken over the market, though cell phone networks are starting to lose ground to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology.

Keep reading to learn more about the different trends in international phone calls.

Landlines

Until the 1990s, landlines were the only way to call someone in another country. There were undersea telephone cables laid around the world in the mid-20th century, at which point it became possible to call almost anywhere in the world. However, international calling using landlines was extremely expensive. The reliability and audio quality of these calls were also notoriously bad.

Until the 1970s, you had to connect to a network in another country using an operator. However, country codes were then introduced that allowed people to call almost any country without an operator. This remained the dominant way of calling someone in another country until the 2010s.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones started to become popular in the 1990s. However, the options for calling someone in another country from a mobile phone were initially very limited. Also, these calls were extremely expensive. However, in the 2010s landlines started to lose popularity. At around this time, the prices for making international calls from a mobile phone began to decrease dramatically. Soon, these calls were about the same price as international calls from landlines. Also, many people began using calling cards with mobile phones to further cut costs.

VoIP

While the prices for calling internationally from a mobile phone have dropped, these calls can still be quite pricey. Many people are using VoIP technology to make international calls. VoIP technology uses the Internet rather than landlines or cell phone networks. International VoIP calls, such as calling to Switzerland, are significantly cheaper than calls made using traditional phone services. Some VoIP providers even allow customers to make international calls at no additional cost if they are calling someone who uses the same VoIP service.

VoIP continues to become more popular as the technology continues to get better. It seems that VoIP is the future of international calling due to the significant savings available. The growing number of fiber optics cables, which can carry Internet signals, also points to an increase in access to VoIP services.

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