In the past it was quite a hassle to call Brazil, and even worse trying to call the United States from Brazil. When I was dating my wife I had to buy phone card after phone card to keep in touch with her. It was a big investment. Once I was in Brazil I had to monitor closely my time from a landline to ensure I didn’t get a huge bill the next month just for calling my parents. There were “callback” services available, but these were often frustrating to use. Things are so much simpler now.
If Skype and other video chat isn’t enough, or the person you’re trying to contact isn’t terribly tech savvy, there are other options. Viber, for example, recently opened up free, unlimited calling from Brazil to landline phones in the United States. Here’s the announcement from Viber’s CEO:
You discovered it! I wanted to give you an extra surprise for making us feel so welcomed in Brazil. Enjoy the free calls to US!
— Talmon Marco (@duras) March 26, 2014
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsThere is a condition, though. In order for this promotion to continue, Viber needs to see 25% growth in messaging using its service in Brazil. I’m fairly certain from what I’ve read that’s 25% weekly growth. Why is Viber doing this? One word: WhatsApp.
Every single English student I have under the age of 20 is using WhatsApp. Instagram and Facebook are still popular with teenagers in Brazil, but WhatsApp is clearly their messaging service of choice. They use it for groups of friends and classmates, and to communicate individually. My daughter uses the audio option to record brief messages and send to friends in the United States, to which they respond in the same way. It ends up working like a really long-range walkie-talkie.
My experience calling my mom via Viber was good. Call quality was acceptable, but the call dropped every 10 minutes, as though it were planned. Here in Uberlândia we use Algar Telecom (formerly CTBC) for our landline and residential Internet service. I’ve discovered that direct calling from our landline to my mother’s house in Missouri costs less than 10 US cents per minute. Still, free is better.
Viber libera ligação gratuita do Brasil para fixos e celulares dos EUA (MeioBit)