Smartphone apps are changing the way in which we communicate with the world.

REMEMBER a time in the not too distant past, when travelling overseas saw you relying on phone cards and email to keep in touch with loved ones – let alone *GASP* snail mail?!

These days a growing number of smartphone apps are increasingly making the world seem that little bit smaller, and a little less heavy on the money belt.

Originating in Estonia, Skype was the front-runner in opening the doors to more accessible communication, but is now joined by the likes of Viber, which offers free messages and calls with the aid of wireless internet. Rounding this out is WhatsApp, which provides free texting and sending of photos, once the app has been purchased for a small fee.

While certain local companies specialising in international calls have adjusted their global rates accordingly, making them competitive and still relevant, what does this mean for the likes of the bigger phone companies, who once relied on global roaming and the bridge-dividing calls between separated love struck couples and families on both sides of the globe?

What was once something found only in science fiction movies, is here and now and commonplace in the palm of your hand.

James O’Sullivan