Can I get a local US number that redirects to an international number?
September 22, 2008 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I need to have a local US number that redirects to an international number. It doesn't have to be toll free. It should be able to redirect to a landline or a mobile phone. Any suggestions?

I work overseas and sometimes travel, but most of the calls I get come from the US. I want to know if there is a service, a cost effective way to get a local line in the US that automatically redirects to my landline in Chile or my mobile phone. If I redirect it to a mobile phone, it should also keep working even if I travel with that phone to a different country. I'd greatly appreciate any recommendations. Thanks!
posted by carofowler to Work & Money (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could setup an account with a VOIP provider like CallWithUs, deposit some money into your account, buy a DID (incoming phone number) for whatever area code you want, and set the forwarding on that line to be the international number you want. The toll charges and monthly fee to have the incoming number would be deducted from your balance. They have really low international rates too, so your balance wouldn't be depleted too quickly.
posted by dcjd at 7:43 PM on September 22, 2008

I know Vonage can do this the other way around - local number overseas to call a US number.

If you have access to a US credit card and street address, perhaps you could register a standard Vonage number in the US, and take your Vonage box back home to Chile?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:10 PM on September 22, 2008

I did that with Skype, get SkypeOut and forward your number.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:35 PM on September 22, 2008

Best answer: If you get a SkypeIn number (a local US number), you can then redirect that number to anywhere you are - be it to a landline or to your mobile phone.

For example, I have a local number in Sweden that my relatives use to call me. If I'm online with Skype (which isn't all that often), I can pick it up there. If I'm not, it will redirect to my mobile phone number, and it rings on my mobile. You can do the exact same thing, except that you would get a local US number instead of a Swedish number. It's also really easy to change the call forwarding to whatever number you want, so you could tailor the call forwarding to whatever number you want, at any time.
posted by gemmy at 8:40 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

skype does all. skype is god. all hail skype.
posted by docmccoy at 9:33 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yea, another oversea'er with skype. Skype in number forwarding to my foreign cell phone number.

But the part not mentioned above, is that you also get a ToGo number. This is a number that you can set up in whichever country you are in (note you cannot move it once you set the country), so that you can call a local phone number (i.e very cheap or free depending on your phone plan) and then pay only 2cents a minute to the US from your mobile!

The worst customer service award goes to Skype and I would leave them if there was a better option, but right now there is not. Cheap and easy.
posted by wile e at 10:58 PM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can Grand Central help here?
posted by Citrus at 6:44 AM on September 23, 2008

Can Grand Central help here?

I wish. Grand Central doesn't allow forwarding outside the US. I've still waiting for it to open up, but not yet. Like everything Google, it's going to be in beta forever.
posted by wile e at 8:15 AM on September 23, 2008

Best answer: When I was living overseas, I used United World Telecom for a number of services, including call forwarding and callback/dial-around. Looks like it's six cents a minute to forward a call to Chile, or about 25 cents if it goes to a Chilean mobile.

I never had a problem with them (though I actually purchased through a small-time reseller). They were much more reliable than Skype In.
posted by toxic at 9:14 AM on September 23, 2008

Response by poster: This is awesome. Thanks everyone! I didn't know skype did that. very cool. But yeah, toxic is right. as much as i love skype, im afraid they're not too reliable and i'm also afraid they might cease to exist some time soon! does anyone else have a non-voip option to recommend?

Also, if i do use skype, do i always need to be signed on for the forwarding to work (as in, if i go out, my computer needs to stay on and signed into skype for the call to be forwarded to my cell phone)?

Thanks everyone!
posted by carofowler at 3:34 PM on September 24, 2008

if i do use skype, do i always need to be signed on for the forwarding to work

no, not at all. I'm hardly ever signed in, and the forwarding works fine all the time.

As for reliability, I've never ever had any problems, and I use it at least twice a week or so. There have been days with poor reception, but they are few and far between. It's not like you have to pay a lot for a year's subscription or anything. I think you can pay for three months of a SkypeIn number for $18. Then add 10 dollars worth of credit, and see if you like it.

To be honest, I was a bit puzzled at your worry about them going away soon. Last time I logged on, there were 13 million+ people logged into the Skype client alone. I don't foresee them going anywhere in the next three months, at least. I may be wrong, I guess, but I honestly don't see it.
posted by gemmy at 5:51 PM on September 24, 2008

Response by poster: Hi gemmy, thanks for your tips. I definitely think that I'll give SkypeIn a try. My worry, i guess, stemmed from the fact that not too long ago they were in some trouble because their business plan didn't seem to be working out too well, and then how so many people were confused about why ebay would buy them and speculated that they might get rid of them, etc. But I guess that it has been doing a lot better, which makes me ecstatic because it's a really useful service!

Thanks again everyone for your great ideas. You were all really helpful!
posted by carofowler at 4:21 PM on September 25, 2008

I'm looking for something similar, but I want to keep my existing US phone number.

Too bad Skype doesn't obey the "Number Portability" guidelines from the FCC. If they did many people would jump to them without second thought.

Gizmo is the best solution I've found so far. $35/year to keep my number and have it forwarded on, or delivered to a voice mailbox.

* Gizmo: Can I use my existing number for Gizmo Call In?
* FCC: Local Number Portability
posted by seanorama at 5:43 PM on April 1, 2009

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