How can I forward my cell phone to wherever I am?

Hi everybody ! Big congrats to the creators of this wonderful site. It helped me a lot in my decision. I have recently decided to make the jump to a nomadic lifestyle. I am from Montréal in Canada and I co-own a business in web development and video production. I leave in May. My apartment is already rented. My first destination is Canaria Island. :slight_smile:

My question today is about cell phone. I currently have a cell phone which I use for my personal and business communication. It’s with Rogers. All my clients know this number and sometimes they call me on it. Even if I’m abroad I would like them to be still able to contact me on the same phone number.

How could I achieve this and not spend a fortune ? Buying a monthly travel kit from Rogers is just way too expensive (about 80-100$ per month). So I’m thinking about some kind of call forwarding from my Canadian cellphone to either a local cellphone/or Skype/or vo-Ip solution.

How are you guys/girls doing it ? Thanks !

This post helped me navigate this morass, with some caveats: skype to local phone forwarding has only worked in some countries, and I had to give up my beloved US number in exchange for a google voice #. Would love to hear other solutions on this…

Check out the Fongo app for Android or iOS. It’s free to use and you can port your Canadian number to them. You can even call local Montreal numbers for free.

I’m currently in Montreal, if you want to meet for a beer feel free to send me a private message!

Thanks to both of you. I think both Google Voice and Skype number are not available for Canadians at this moment. Freedomsurfer, Fongo looks great. Are you using it ? Do you know what is the difference between Fongo and a Vo-ip service like Vonage ? (apart from the cost !)

Did you find a resolution to this?

If you have a Canadian phone number, go with Fongo. It’s awesome. I’m walking in the streets of Split, Croatia, talking on my local 514 phone number and it really works. You just need a prepaid SIM card for internet access. You can even do texting and very cheap international phone calls.

That’s awesome.

What provider are you using for data? are you planning on switching back to rogers when you get home? Assume that’s not going to be an issue once you return?

Not planning to go back home soon. But no, I think I will stay with Fongo.

Provider for data depends on each country. In Croatia a good one is T-Hrvatsk, it will cost you 11 euro per week for unlimited data and no contract.

I found limitations with all the current solutions. I want to be reached when when internet is not great for voip dialing, so I want forwarding to my local number. I get a prepaid sim card for phone minutes at each airport when I arrive in a new country. I get 3G/4G internet, but often in rural areas this doesn’t work too well but regular phone services still does.

Google Voice: Doesn’t work internationally, so can’t use to make calls outbound. Doesn’t receive direct forwards to local number (must forward to skype, then have skype forward to local non-US phone number, introducing very long ring delays.) Pros: can send and receive texts with in chrome extension, is very handy.

Skype: Only works as a voip app. Can forward to local phone. No texting. Calls out appear with weird phone number you can’t be reached at.

Ringcentral: App doesn’t work outside of USA, requires app/internet to work, expensive. Kinda expensive ($20-30/month, pricy if I just use forwarding to local number, plus per minute forwarding.)

Grasshopper: App doesn’t work outside of USA, requires app/internet to work, expensive. Kinda expensive ($20-30/month, pricy if I just use forwarding to local number, plus per minute forwarding.)

Vonage: Supposedly the app works outside of USA, but still requires app to work, and I hate talking to their clueless sales people make you negotiate to get a price from them. I got them to $29/month.

What I used to use: Google voice #. Forward to skype. Use skype to forward to local phone number. Set google voice voicemail answer time to a long time. Turn off skype voicemail. Calls eventually ring the local phone (but the caller has to wait forever) for about one or two rings before going to voicemail on google voice. I get notifications in my google voice chrome extension, along with incoming texts, and I can text out there. Again, google voice app doesn’t work internationally for texting or making phone calls, so it sucks in many way.

What I use now: voip.ms (also Anveo is very similar) to host a phone number, voicemail, and forward to my local phone number wherever I am in southeast asia. It is very inexpensive, but it is very technical and you have to read a lot to sort out what to do if you are not quite familiar with voip technicals. I don’t use a softphone app, but that can also be used to avoid paying for local phone minutes + forwarding minutes. I get emails with voicemails and text messages in them. There is a mobile webpage for texting. There is also an app I haven’t used yet.

Twilio can also be used but you have to program it. Voip.ms is very technical, but you don’t have to do any programming.

[I feel this is relevant enough to the conversation that it meets the community guidelines, especially as my project is more “sharing something I built to make my life better” rather than a big commercial project, so, here goes…]

Something I’m working on is nomadphone.com - it’s designed to let you have one or more numbers ‘back home’ (US, EU etc) and then will route calls to your local cell.

At the most base level, it’s Google Voice with International, except… (drumroll) it also handles a bunch of annoyances for DNs, like:

  • if someone calls you during your sleep schedule, it can play a message explaining you’re unavailable, but still give the caller the option to hit a button and have the call go through, if its an emergency. Otherwise, they get to leave a VM
  • does a bunch of magic to ensure calls go through to your local sim (tries multiple times if the first call doesn’t go through, supports multiple numbers, lets you hear your audio quality before you accept the call in case it’s a bad connection, etc)
  • handles text messages too (initially, inbound only, but v1.1 roadmap includes bidirectional SMS)
  • Optionally transcribes your voicemail and can search both sms & voicemail for ‘trigger words’ you define and then have it place a call (i.e: a vm of ‘Bob, all the servers are down, this is a crisis and everyone is panicking. Call me urgently’ could see the word ‘urgent’ if you’ve added that to your list, will result in the system calling you to say something urgent needs your attention, even during your sleep time)

And a few other nice things. I’m toying with the idea of adding a VOIP client option for those who have solid enough data and don’t want their minutes used, maybe with a nice fallback (ie: for an incoming call to you, try your VOIP client(s) and if those fail, then call on your regular mobile number)

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