Rebtel (or How I Call to the States for Free)

I’d like to talk to you about the best money saving trick I have: free international calls. Mobile to mobile. After initial setup, no computer is needed, no apps installed, nothing. Are you interested yet? Good, stick with me through this one.

Rebtel is a Swedish company that has been around since 2006. It is a mobile VoIP call back service. You give Rebtel the international number you want to dial, and they give you a local number to call instead. If you simply call and talk to your friend like that, Rebtel will charge you a ridiculously small amount of money for that international call. Now, if you are calling a friend, have them sign up for Rebtel and call you back, and you will be connected for free! Does this sounds confusing? Let’s take it step by step and explain it thoroughly.

Step 1: Sign Up

You will have to register for the service: I appreciate using my my referral link but you can choose to you can sign up without it. Besides the normal name and email information, Rebtel will ask for your phone number. You will have to verify ownership of that number, so Rebtel will give you a call and ask you to accept to using that number with them.

The cool thing is that you can add more numbers to you account. Simply go to Settings > My account > Manage phones and add other phones you will want to use, like your house phone or work number. You will select which one of those phones you want to be the default one, I recommend your cell phone.

Step 2: Add Contacts

Rebtel will ask you to add your friends’ numbers to “My contacts” list. Add numbers of the people you want to call internationally. Rebtel will recognize by itself if you are calling a landline or a mobile line (it was never wrong with my contacts), and it will show you the price of that call per minute.

Rebtel will give you a local number for each number you want to call. Save that number in your phone and instead of calling your international friend on his/her number, use the local number Rebtel gave you. This concludes your need to use a computer for Rebtel. From now on, you can forget about it and simply call from your phone, smart phone, dumb phone, land line, whatever you use.

Step 3: Calls

As I mentioned in the beginning, there are two ways of doing Rebtel calls.

a) Normal call

You will dial the local number Rebtel gave you for your friend. You will be charged for that local call according to your operator’s fees. Rebtel will take over the international part and charge you for it. You can check their rates here. After you register, you will be given 5 free minutes to try out the service. (Disclaimer: There is a short list of excluded countries, so check it out.)

The friend you are calling will not see the call is coming from you, though. Rebtel will issue a number that will be local for your friend, and display that number. If your friend is one of those people that do not answer unknown numbers, you might want to text ahead of the call and warn your friend of what’s going to happen.

b) Free call

Have your friend sign up for Rebtel. That way, after you call them, you will have the chance of switching your call to a free call. This is how:

  1. You call your friend on a local Rebtel number.
  2. Your friend answers the call.
  3. Your friend hangs up, but you do not. Stay on the line and wait.
  4. Your friend calls you back, using the number that was displayed on their screen. It is a local number for them, too.
  5. You will hear a Ding-ding sound which will notify you that you have been connected!
  6. Talk!

Both you and your friend are now calling each other at the same time. That means you will both pay for the call to your operator based on how they charge local calls, but the international part of the call is – completely free. Rebtel will not charge you anything nor will it take away your free test minutes.

Over 15 Million People Use Rebtel

So there it is. I live in Croatia. Both my landline and mobile phone provider offer a plan with free local calls. My friend lives in the States. His mobile phone provider offers him free calls too. So, we call each other on local numbers and use Rebtel’s free call option and sometimes spend more than an hour talking on our mobiles phones and we do not pay a dime.

I have been using this service since 2007, so about 5 years now. Whether you have a business and need an affordable way of calling your clients or you are trying to maintain a long distance relationship, Rebtel can help. They have apps for most of mobile OSs you could play with and they offer an international text messaging service, too. If you decide you do not like it, you can always cancel your account. I just somehow have a feeling you won’t. 😉


Ivana (Ivy) Gutierrez

Our Executive Editor Ivy is a graduate student at University of Zagreb where she is studying Communicology and Journalism. She is interested in PR and all things digital. More information is available on her website <a href="">Ivy's ink drops</a>.

Terms and Conditions

Copyright ©, 2008-2019