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.