Call India Using VoIP

The term 'VoIP' refers to a type of technology that allows voice calls to be routed over the internet. VoIP does not refer to a singular type of internet-based calling service, but rather a general class of services all of which use the internet, instead of normal telephone networks, to complete calls.

Because of this wide variety, how you use VoIP to make an international long distance call to India depends on the type of VoIP service you have. Each type of VoIP service uses it's own 'dialing' procedure.

Actually, VoIP 'dialing' methods don't necessarily look like normal dialing you are used to with a mobile or landline phone. So, a more accurate term might be 'connection' methods. But for simplicity, we'll just use the term 'dialing', even though there may be no actual dialing involved.

To complicate things further, many VoIP providers support more than one 'dialing' method, which means you may have a provider who uses 2 or more of the methods we are about to describe here.

On this page, we recap the main approaches for making an international internet call using VoIP. You will need to check directly with your VoIP provider for specifics.

The term VoIP stands for 'voice over IP' where IP means 'internet protocol' which is a very basic communications method which helps make the internet work.

VoIP largely relates to using the internet to make voice calls, but it also enables a range of web-enabled communications tools, such a text chat, video calling, screen sharing, file sharing, and many other advanced capabilities. For our purposes here, we'll just focus on the voice part.

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4 Ways to Make a VoIP Internet Call to India

In general, there are four main ways to make international VoIP calls to India. In the particulars, there are actually many more than four, but most are some variant of these main types.

  1. Calling card VoIP - Here, you use a regular landline or mobile phone to dial into your provider's VoIP network, much the same way you would when using a calling card.
  2. Web-activated VoIP - With this type of service, you initiate a call via your computer, but then to talk on your regular telephone
  3. Internet phone service - Here you use a VoIP-enabled phone that works much like your regular landline phone, except it connects through your internet connection, not your phone jacks.
  4. VoIP softphone - This is the most common type of VoIP service and focuses around ways of making calls from your PC (or web-enabled smartphone) either to other PCs (or smartphones) and to regular landline or mobile phones.

Below is a review of how these VoIP calling approaches work. Check with your VoIP service provider for specifics on how their service works and what, if any, equipment you will require.

To learn more about VoIP, visit our VoIP calling guide or consult with your service provider.

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1. Calling Card VoIP

From a dialing perspective, this VoIP approach works just like a calling card dialing to and from normal phones. It does not involve either a PC or an internet connection.

To use a calling card VoIP service, you dial a local access number or toll-free access number that connects you into your VoIP provider's network. Then, as necessary, you dial your account number, PIN, or other identifying information.

Once you have been verified onto your provider network, you dial your destination phone number in India (and your call will be connected.

You can use this kind of VoIP service to call India from any landline or mobile phone, including payphones. Since calls are originated and terminated using normal phones, it does not require a PC or an internet connection (as shown on the home page).

FYI - the VoIP part of this type of service is in the long haul transport of the call; the part that gets it from one country to another. It otherwise originates and terminates on normal phone equipment.


  • None - just dial from any regular landline, mobile, or pay phone

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2. Web-Activated VoIP

With 'web-activated VoIP' (aka 'web-activated telephony'), you initiate calls from your computer (or, sometimes, via SMS messages or other means), but then talk on your telephone.

Basically, it works by you giving your provider two phone numbers to call - your own phone number and the phone number of the person you are calling. Your VoIP provider then 'dials' from their VoIP network back out into the regular phone network to connect to you and your party.

To use web-activated VoIP, you go to your VoIP provider's website and enter your phone number and the India phone number you are calling (the 'origination' and 'destination' numbers, respectively). These can be either landline or mobile phones. Then you click 'dial' (or similar) and the VoIP provider takes over by dialing both numbers independently from within their VoIP platform causing both phones to ring at roughly the same time. Once both you and your India party answer your phones, the connection is made and you begin talking as normal.

The 'web-activate' part of this type of VoIP can happen in a variety of ways - via a PC as described above, but also through other means, like via SMS messages and so forth. Any means that basically allows you to get the origination and destination numbers to the provider.

Like calling card VoIP, the VoIP part of this type of service is in the long haul transport of the call.


  • Generally, a PC or smartphone (e.g., iPhone) with internet access is required, but some services allow call activation via SMS or other methods

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3. Internet Phone Service

With VoIP digital phone service, you install a device that enables you to connect your regular telephone (or a specialized VoIP phone) to your internet connection.

The connecting device or adapter comes in several varieties and may be called an 'ATA', an 'analog telephone adapter', a 'VoIP phone adapter', an 'internet phone adapter' or something similar. In most cases, what it does is that it splits your broadband internet connection between your computer and your new VoIP service.

Since voice calls are relatively low 'bandwidth', you will generally see no impact on your internet connection - unless you are using a dial-up connection, in which case internet phone service probably isn't a good fit for you.

Once installed, the ATA device VoIP-enables your regular landline phone and/or specialized VoIP phones. It depends on the service, but generally speaking, the result is that you will have converted your home phone from one that works over telephone networks to one that works over the internet.

To use this type of service to make an internet call to India, you would dial the destination India telephone number more or less as you would from a regular phone. The call will be automatically routed over a VoIP network to India via your internet connection. At the other end, your destination party will receive the call on their regular phone as they would normally.

Once in place, you don't need to dial special access codes or PINs. However, in some cases where you maintain both your original landline service and the new VoIP service, you may need to designate which calls get routed over what service.

Internet phone service is known by a variety of other names, including 'digital phone service'.


  • Internet connection, preferably broadband
  • Internet phone adapter (may be supplied by your provider or you may to buy separately via Amazon or other source)
  • Set up time to install and connect the phone adapter

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4. VoIP Softphone

VoIP softphones, which work from your PC or web-enabled smartphone, are the most common kind of VoIP service.

Generally, this type of VoIP service allows you to make 2 kinds of calls:

  • PC-to-PC calls where the call remains on the internet the entire time
  • PC-to-Phone calls where the call originates on a PC, but terminates on a regular landline or mobile phone

In many cases, you can make completely free international phone calls using the PC-to-PC option (as long as both parties are using the same VoIP softphone software). Rates for the PC-to-Phone option are not free, but costs are sure to be much lower than normal landline or mobile phone rates.

To set up a VoIP softphone service, you need to download and install a software program from your VoIP provider's website. If you want to talk via a headset or other device, you may also need to buy that, too. You can also buy a specialized USB and other VoIP phones, among other equipment if it suits you.

Once you have the pieces in place, you can create an address book with the telephone numbers of the people you want to call in India and elsewhere.

How to make a VoIP call to India

To make calls, you open the VoIP softphone and clicking on the person you want to reach. Your VoIP provider routes the call to India and your party can answers - either on their computer using the same VoIP service or on their regular landline or mobile phone if you have bought a paid service plan that allows outbound calling to regular phones.

These types of VoIP services are often free for most in-network calls (i.e., calls to other people on the same VoIP service), but they charge you for dialing to or receiving calls from regular landline or mobile phones that are 'outside' the VoIP network.

As well, these types of services are usually not cross-compatible. In other words, you can't speak to a person using VoIP Service Y if you are using VoIP Service X.


  • Personal computer or web-enabled smartphone
  • Internet connection, preferably broadband
  • VoIP softphone program (downloaded and installed from your VoIP provider's website)
  • Set-up time to configure the software and create an address book
  • USB or similar headset for your computer (optional)

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If you have problems, please check directly with your VoIP provider for support. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to assist you.

VoIP Notes

  • The above overview is a simplified look at the options. In reality, there are numerous flavors of VoIP calling - and many VoIP service providers offer two or more of the above calling options. As well, the VoIP field is evolving rapidly - both in terms of the technology and companies involved - so you will need to look at the specific options provided by any potential vendor to assure they will work for you.
  • VoIP calling services use the internet to complete phone calls. In some cases, internet calls may not deliver the same level of call quality as normal telephone service. This is because the internet operates in a shared environment whereas telephone networks are private and designed for high performance and reliability. In many cases, you won't notice a difference, but performance can vary by location, by carrier, and by time of day, among other factors. VoIP call quality is improving all the time and is generally adequate for many purposes, but it may not suffice for critical business or other calls.

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