International cell phone forwarding

International cell phone forwarding

While traveling internationally I make calls back to the US. Even more important I want to receive calls made to my US number. It is a little complicated, so for my own memory and anyone else who may be interested, here is how I do it. Or if someone knows a better way– even better!

In the US I have a dataplan with Verizon. It happens that I have a Android Droid 2 on a family plan. That is my normal setup for when I am in the US.
When I leave the US for an extended period, I get a SIM card for the county I’m staying in most of the time. I stick that in a Nexux One. Being in the two-phone club makes me feel cool and them both being Android based keeps all my contacts and everything important all synced together.
I also deactivate my Verizon dataplan. With Verizon, you have to port your number to a non-smartphone to have a plan without data. In other words, numbers on smartphones must have a dataplan, and numbers on dumbphones cannot ever have dataplans. So to deactivate my dataplan, right after I leave the US, my mom enters the following on an old Motorola Razr. This ports my number to the Razr and deactivates my dataplan. It’s the same as if the Razr was a new phone I was activating.
Activate a phone on Verizon:
Turn off the old phone
Turn on the new phone and enter the following
* 228 [SEND]
(Call connects)
Select option 1
Enter my phone number
Enter account password/PIN
(Phone programs itself)
If there is a problem, will be connected to customer service.
If there is a big problem, Verizon customer service is 1-800-933-0204
I also want my calls forwarded to a place where I can get them. What I do is forward my Verizon calls to a Skype number. I have purchased a Skype Incoming number which I guess works out to be $6/month. That is a phone number I own from Skype where I can receive calls.
Verizon will forward calls to a US number for free, mostly. It just uses one ‘minute’ for each call forwarded and SMS can not be forwarded. All the SMS from the time away will be piled up on the dumbphone. I forward my Verizon phone number to my US Skype number (interesting, this is the number people see on their caller IDs when I call them). This can also be done from the phone.
*Note, activating a new phone / dataplan can not be done while call forwarding is active. So change phones first, then set up forwarding.
Activating Call Forwarding on Verizon:
Dial *72 [Number want to forward to AKA Skype number] [SEND]
(Want for beeps)
Interesting pitfall I found out first time through this. When my phone is off, it goes straight to voicemail. When it goes straight to voicemail, it does not “ring” which seems to be a critical part of the call-forwarding-process. So the dedicated dumbphone has to be left plugged-in and turned-on in the US. I don’t think it ever actually “rings” but it needs to be on or calls will just be sent to your US phone voicemail.
Now I have all my calls going to Skype. I have a US Subscription that covers all my US originated forwarded calls and any US calls I make for $6/mo.
Once my calls are in Skype I pretty good control over them. I can answer them in the Skype application (either on my computer or my phone) for free (no more than the monthly fees I already mentioned). Or I can have them forwarded on to my local cell phone number for the Skype rate in that country. In Italy, Skype charges $0.30/min to call cell phones. It is free to receive calls on cell phones in most of Europe, so there is no double paying.
I don’t always keep the Skype application running on my phone because it drains the battery. I always load it up to make a call to the US. If I don’t have it running, I will still get my calls, just at that 30 cents per minute more.
Setting up call forwarding in Skype:
From the Skype application
In the Tools menu, open the Options dialog
Under the Calls section on the left menu, find Call Forwarding
All the options to configure are there.
This gets me set up to receive calls sent to my US number right from my local cell phone and a fixed monthly rate. Now, fixing it all for when I want to come home.
I mentioned before, a new phone can not be activated when call forwarding is active. So before I arrive home, my mom enters the following code into the dumbphone that is currently hosting my US number.
Deactivating Call Forwarding on Verizon:
Dial * 73 [SEND]
(Wait for beeps)
(There will be a message on the screen)
Now in theory, the moment my plane touches down I can reactivate my smartphone with the same code used to change phones just after my departure and it will reactivate my dataplan. Every Verizon person I talked with always promised it would. Except the last person I talked to, when I said it never has, he admitted it probably never would. So I call them up from a land line when I get home and get things working again. Still trying to fill in this missing piece to get my phone working right from the tarmac.
Skype will still be forwarding to the international number. No rush to reset that, since I only use this number for this setup. But I change it to forward to my US number when I think of it, just in case someone has saved the number when they saw it in their caller ID and tries to reach me using it.
In summary, I deactivate my dataplan and forward my US number to Skype and then to my local cell when overseas. I don’t pay for my dataplan when I’m gone, but I pay for credit on my local cell, Skype Subscription and Number. This makes it possible for me to pick up my phone and call home and for anyone to call up my regular old US number and I can answer the call in Italy on my Italian cell phone without either of us paying more for the call than if I was still in the US. I just don’t get text messages until I come back to the US. Also if someone is brave enough to leave a voicemail with my Italian cell phone carrier, I am often unable to retrieve it– but hey its 2011, why are you leaving me a voicemail?
It is a little complicated and not super cheep, but it is important to me to be able to get my calls as someone who is self employed and traveling long-term. I’ll be heading back overseas again soon, so any suggestions for improvements are welcome!

32 Responses to International cell phone forwarding

  1. Marc says:

    Seems like a pretty good system.

    I took a quick look at Google Voice again (which i tried to use when i was in the UK last year), and it looks like it can forward incoming calls to google talk now. I’m going to try that out.

    GV might also be able to get your SMS messages delivered, but i’m not sure on that one.

  2. Chris says:

    You can find an Android Market app that does SMS forwarding, which should work fine since you leave your phone on. I’ve used that once, when I first switched to Google Voice.

    When traveling I generally use to forward my GV calls to a US number, which then forwards them to another local cell phone number. Skype should accomplish the same thing, for probably the same amount of money.

  3. I just want to say I am new to blogging and honestly loved you’re web page. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You amazingly come with incredible article content. Appreciate it for sharing your website.

  4. I absolutely love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you make this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own personal blog and would love to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Many thanks!

  5. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  6. It can be mostly extremely difficult to come across well-informed visitors on this niche, and yet you come across as like you are familiar with the things you’re raving about! Regards

  7. We merely need to reveal to you the fact that I am beginner to online blogging and genuinely admired your post. Quite possibly I am prone to store your article post . You literally have stunning article writing. Get Pleasure From it for swapping with us your blog report.

  8. We merely hope to inform you you the fact that I’m really new to writing and totally adored your post. Very possible I am inclined to bookmark your article post . You certainly have fantastic article posts. Delight In it for sharing with us your url article.

  9. Chi Sourlis says:

    If your interested in a polygamist life style check out sisterwives We would love to have you.

  10. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply great and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  11. It’s practically extremely difficult to find well-aware parties on this issue, yet somehow you come across as like you realize what you’re revealing! Thank You

  12. It’s actually mostly close to impossible to see well-qualified individual on this matter, then again you look like you comprehend what exactly you’re covering! Excellent

  13. Might be practically close to impossible to find well-educated readers on this subject, even though you appear like you comprehend whatever you’re revealing! Appreciation

  14. Kali Kaplin says:

    Might be almost extremely difficult to find well-advised men and women on this issue, nevertheless you look like you fully grasp which you’re talking about! Gratitude

  15. This is a topic which is near to my heart… Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?|

  16. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  17. Shawn Shelp says:

    It is actually mostly not possible to find well-qualified readers on this theme, however you look like you know which you’re posting on! Appreciation

  18. Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

  19. It truly is almost extremely difficult to see well-educated visitors on this subject, even though you appear like you comprehend exactly what you’re talking about! Regards

  20. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  21. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  22. We just want to tell you which I am fresh to having a blog and extremely enjoyed your website. More than likely I am inclined to store your webpage post . You undoubtedly have stunning article writing. Value it for share-out with us your domain write-up.

  23. You’ll find it almost not possible to come across well-qualified women and men on this area, but you appear like you realize which you’re writing on! Gratitude

  24. It really is near not possible to see well-advised men and women on this issue, nevertheless you appear like you comprehend the things that you’re posting on! Regards

  25. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  26. It truly is nearly extremely difficult to see well-qualified parties on this niche, still you appear like you realize which you’re writing about! Appreciation

  27. Opal Bullard says:

    Highly helpful suggestions you’ll have said, thanks for setting up.

  28. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.|

  29. Unquestionably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  30. Yes! Finally someone writes about %keyword1%.|

  31. Hello I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by mistake, while I was searching on Askjeeve for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome work.|

  32. broadband says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *