How to Call the US From the UK (For Free!)

Olivia Willemin


May 23, 2023
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International phone calls have long been associated with exorbitant fees and significant expense. While technology has come a long way over the past decades in bringing every corner of the world closer to one another, these fees are far from being a thing of the past if you don't know which plans, apps, or tricks to use when making an international phone call.

In this Monito guide, we answer all of your questions and tell you how to best call the United States from the United Kingdom without paying through the nose: we take you through the basics (country code, dialling code, etc.) and tell you the best strategies for calling America for free.

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Rebtel provides a seamless and cost-effective solution for calling the US from the UK, connecting you at affordable rates. With Rebtel, you can enjoy exceptional affordability, reliable connections, and user-friendly features, making it the go-to option for staying connected with loved ones in the US.

What is the Country Code for the United States?

The United States, like Canada and most Caribbean countries, takes part in the North American Numbering Plan, which uses a ten-digit phone numbering system in the format (XXX)-XXX-XXXX, with the first three digits being the area code. 

The NANP also allows it's participating countries to share the same dialling code instead of having specific country codes: all of them use 1, which means a US number will have the international format +1 (XXX)-XXX-XXXX — with the + standing for 00 when calling from the UK.

How Much Does It Cost to Call the US from the UK?

Calls to the United States — or any foreign country — are not often included on British phone plans and are billed by the minute. Most UK providers charge expensive rates, going up to £3.50 a minute to call US landline or mobile numbers. However, those that charge so much generally offer cheaper rates if you subscribe to an international option, such as O2’s International Monthly Bolt On, which costs £2/month and lets you call the US for 2p a minute instead of £3! Some providers don’t require the option at all, like GiffGaff (2p a minute) or Three (3p a minute for pay-as-you-go customers).

Some providers, like Three, also offer international minute bundles, but most of them don’t include them as a baseline. Two notable exceptions are LycaMobile and Lebara, both of which include at least 100 international minutes, including to the US, even on their cheapest plans.

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Another option is using a voice-over-IP service like Skype, whose Skype to Phone service lets you make calls to US mobiles and landlines for 4.6p + 2.2p a minute on a pay-as-you-go basis, with unlimited calls costing £2.4 a month. If you already have a mobile phone subscription and need a cheap add-on to call US numbers regularly, that might be a simpler option than taking out a new phone line.

Free Options to Call the US from the UK

To call the United States for free, you must bypass mobiles and landlines entirely and rely instead on a free VOIP service like Apple’s FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. However, they will require a decent enough connection through broadband or mobile internet, and the person you want to call needs to have the same app downloaded and installed. The biggest downside, of course, is that you won’t be able to call phone numbers directly, which makes it impossible to call landlines — with the exception of the Skype to Phone paying service mentioned above.

If you regularly need to call US phone numbers, the best option might be to choose a mobile plan that includes international calls as a baseline, like those offered by LycaMobile and Lebara.

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

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