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Moving to Australia - phone line questions

Moving to Australia - phone line questions

Old Feb 9, 21, 9:44 pm
  #1  
Lizzie Zahler
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Moving to Australia - phone line questions

Firstly, thank you for reading my post and (hopefully!) helping!

I an moving to Australia, I work in America. I will be waking up crazy hours to keep my job in America, and will need my current American phone number to be active, primarily for texting and voice calls. Data is a plus, but I will have WIFI, so am not too concerned about 4G etc.

I have researched cell providers and none offer what I am looking for. I need unlimited voice + text, contacting American phone numbers from within Australia, making it look like I am still in America. Basically I want no one to realize I am in Australia (I wonít be lying to them, but I just donít want them to feel like I am THAT far away!) they need to be able to contact my current American phone number as if I am still here.

honestly Iím not too concerned how much it will cost, I need a simple solution for calling and texting, both from the same American phone number,
primarily over wifi, but potentially tethering from my Australian phone should I be away from the home. I am not tech savvy, and absolutely canít figure out a solution by myself, despite hours and hours of research.

I will also be travelling back to America quarterly, and will need the same phone number to be contactable. So basically it needs to work in Australia and in America, seamlessly so my clients can contact me without issue. I think I will also need American and Australian phone plans?

please help, I appreciate it so so so much!!!!!

Last edited by Lizzie Zahler; Feb 9, 21 at 9:51 pm Reason: Update
 
Old Feb 9, 21, 10:06 pm
  #2  
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1. Does this phone number belong to mobile phone provider? If yes, then T-Mobile allows for unlimited calls/text when utilizing wifi-calling. Otherwise, receiving phone calls is free (you will get charged if someone leaves you a voicemail, so you may want to consider alternate solutions), and outgoing calls cost $0.20/min (I think). I believe sending/receiving text message is also free. You also get free slow data in Australia. You can also activate T-Mobile DIGITS and make/receive unlimited phone calls and texts using the T-Mobile DIGITS app on a computer or another phone. The caveat is #2 below.
2. This move is full-time, correct? (i.e., you aren't spending six months in AU and six months in the US every year) If yes, then it gets a little trickier because T-Mobile has the right to cancel your plan if you don't spend the majority of your time in the US.
3. Do you need this specific phone number? If yes, consider porting your number to Google Voice. Then you can use the Google Voice website to make/receive phone calls and text messages, or you can install the app on another phone and make/receive phone calls and text messages using the other phone's data plan, or you can forward all calls to your Australian mobile phone (I believe it costs $0.01/min).
4. Also consider porting your phone number to (or just getting a new phone number from) Google Fi. Calls from AU to US are free over wifi (otherwise $0.20/min), and texts are free. You can choose either the cheap plan ($10/GB of data) or unlimited data. I believe there is also technically the same kind of "residency restriction" like in #2, but, again, I've never heard of anyone's account being deactivated because of it. (My guess is that if you use a ton of data where it costs Google more than your monthly plan cost, they will deactivate it.)
5. You could also port your phone number to a super cheap pre-paid US mobile phone plan and forward all calls to a Google Voice number (and utilize the stuff mentioned in #3).

Last edited by pseudoswede; Feb 9, 21 at 10:13 pm
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Old Feb 9, 21, 10:23 pm
  #3  
Lizzie Zahler
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Thank you so much for you reply

1. yes sprint currently has my phone number. Dumb dumb DUMB question, but what is calling over wifi? If I make a Ďnormalí phone call, but am connected to my home wifi network does this qualify as calling over wifi?

2. yes full time move, with occasional travel back. 90% of my time will be in Australia.

3. No, I donít need this specific phone number, I can always tell my clients I have a new, american, phone number. It just has to be an American phone number that (preferably) doesnít cost me $0.XX per minute or per text, and that my American clients can contact too. Ideally, given the hours I spend on incoming and outgoing calls it would be some kind of unlimited voice+text situation.

Your point about Google Voice makes it seem as though I can have an American phone number that I use on my Australian phone (through an app) and voice+text would be free if I have an unlimited Australian phone plan? Is that truly the case? Because that is all that I would need!

i seriously appreciate your help. I find this all very confusing, and it kind of feels like thereís too many options, and none of them that Iíve researched myself thus far have satisfied my needs. Thank you!!
 
Old Feb 9, 21, 10:54 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
Dumb dumb DUMB question, but what is calling over wifi? If I make a Ďnormalí phone call, but am connected to my home wifi network does this qualify as calling over wifi?
Calling over Wifi, or officially Wi-Fi Calling, is a feature that if support, allows you to use your mobile service via existing Wi-Fi network instead of your carrier's network. It is a useful feature if you experience reception issues, including no reception.

You will have to activate the feature on your phone for Wi-Fi calling. Connecting to a Wi-Fi network is not sufficient.

Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
Your point about Google Voice makes it seem as though I can have an American phone number that I use on my Australian phone (through an app) and voice+text would be free if I have an unlimited Australian phone plan? Is that truly the case? Because that is all that I would need!
Indeed. Google Voice can reroute your calls to a number you designate. It only costs you to call out.
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Old Feb 9, 21, 11:09 pm
  #5  
Lizzie Zahler
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Ah ok so it would still cost me to call out? That wouldnít work

I donít understand how itís so hard to have an incoming and outgoing call+text ability, for a monthly fee, rather than $x per minute or per text. I want an option where I can pay, say, $100 a month and have the ability to keep an American phone number for incoming and outgoing calls and texts, from within Australia at only that monthly price. Is that possible?
 
Old Feb 9, 21, 11:22 pm
  #6  
Lizzie Zahler
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So Iíve just researched Google voice a little bit, and it seems that it would essentially use the minutes from my Local carrier. So if I was to get an Australian plan that included unlimited international minutes, it would Ďtakeí from those minutes and not cost me anything other than my plan price? (As itís unlimited, for international dialing too), is that correct?
 
Old Feb 9, 21, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
......
I an moving to Australia, I work in America. I will be waking up crazy hours to keep my job in America, and will need my current American phone number to be active, primarily for texting and voice calls. Data is a plus, but I will have WIFI, so am not too concerned about 4G etc.
......
Where is Australia will you be living?
Been to Australia before?

What you wanting is a little unusual. Are AU SIM plans with calls to USA, up to X minutes/$, but they would be from your AU mobile
Over the internet (google, etc) may the best solution
Will not be up to date now. Link--->Prepaid SIM (Data or Voice) - Australia [Open the wiki]
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Old Feb 9, 21, 11:43 pm
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Lizzie Zahler
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Thanks for your response. Yes I am Australian, so have definitely been there before my job is 100% client and phone based, so I need my American clients to be able to contact me on my American phone number, while I am in Australia with hopefully minimal costs to me. Thanks!!
 
Old Feb 9, 21, 11:58 pm
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When I lived in Japan back in 2003-2005, I used 8x8 (known as Packet 8 back then) for this. It was a box that had an Ethernet port to plug into my router and a telephone jack on it. Cost me $20 a month. Had a US phone number that was indistinguishable from any other US number (I chose a 206 area code for my phone, so it was a local call for friends in family in Seattle to call me), calls would ring through on the phone plugged into the device. Had unlimited inbound/outbound calls to the US (as well as a bunch of other countries) included for the $20/month charge. Worked great for my needs.

Given that I had that all the way back in 2003, you should be able to find something similar from a Voice over IP (VOIP) provider. 8x8 is still around, but I donít think they are focused on residential customers any more. Vonage was another big player in that market, I think they are still around. I believe that a lot of these VOIP companies have moved to software based offerings too, which will work on your PC or smartphone.
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Old Feb 9, 21, 11:59 pm
  #10  
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Ahhh! A refugee returning home to safety.
Getting the phone issue to work while you are doing the 14 days isolation may be a challenge.
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Old Feb 10, 21, 12:25 am
  #11  
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Am I missing something?

Just get a US Skype number, install the app on your phone, buy an unlimited US calling plan (cheap). This gives you a US number people can call, and which they see when you call, and costs nothing further.
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Old Feb 10, 21, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
Ah ok so it would still cost me to call out? That wouldnít work
Well...to be exact...calls to the U.S. and Canada is free, but it costs for calls to elsewhere.

Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
I donít understand how itís so hard to have an incoming and outgoing call+text ability, for a monthly fee, rather than $x per minute or per text. I want an option where I can pay, say, $100 a month and have the ability to keep an American phone number for incoming and outgoing calls and texts, from within Australia at only that monthly price. Is that possible?
How about an IP Phone, like Ooma?

Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
So Iíve just researched Google voice a little bit, and it seems that it would essentially use the minutes from my Local carrier.
Yes.

Originally Posted by Lizzie Zahler View Post
So if I was to get an Australian plan that included unlimited international minutes, it would Ďtakeí from those minutes and not cost me anything other than my plan price? (As itís unlimited, for international dialing too), is that correct?
No. A local unlimited plan is sufficient. Your cost of Google Voice depends on the call you dial out.
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Old Feb 10, 21, 4:28 am
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I am not tech savvy by any means but why not just get a Skype subscription and use your current number (or any other you so choose) or even use WhatsApp? Both allow for ďunlimitedĒ calling/texting etc over wifi (need to be in a wifi or using data) Each have their own abilities/options etc, personally for me (I have lived abroad for several years now) although I have a local phone, I still also have kept keep my US phone & use both. I have an unlimited texting plan thru ATT (not sure what current offerings are my plan is quite old now) which I frequently use to receive text from ppl in the US who may not have a world text option or do not use either of these apps etc Whatsapp is a free app and various Skype plans for US are quite cheap. Both allow for video calls as well.

Hope this helps.
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Old Feb 10, 21, 5:42 am
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1. Install Google Voice on your phone.
2. Port your number to Google Voice if you want to keep your current number
3. You'll be able to make/receive calls over data/wifi to/from the US/CAN for free.
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Old Feb 10, 21, 6:31 am
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I second the VOIP and the Skype recommendation. The problem with VOIP is that it is not as mobile. You are tied to a router, any router. Skype however, will allow you to make and take a call from a handset or a mobile phone. Either costs less that $10 month with unlimited voice calls. VOIP does not allow texting. Skype does have a messaging capability but I don't know if the text can go to any cell number.
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