truly global roaming
February 18, 2010 5:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving overseas for an indefinite amount of time and want to be contactable from various countries. Can I maintain local phone numbers which redirect voice calls and text messages to my iPhone, wherever I am?

I will be back and forth between Australia, the US, Singapore and the UK over the next few years.

I need to keep my existing +61 Australian number (currently on-contract with Vodafone Australia) and I'd like to keep my +1 US number (T-Mobile prepay, with a year's validity). I assume I'd get prepay numbers in the UK and Singapore.

Bonus points for tricks like being able to set out-of-hours calls to go direct to voicemail, having 3G data access wherever I am and this setup not costing me much more than the prepaid SIMs and annual top-up credit in each country.
posted by m1ndsurfer to Technology (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I use for similar uses. I was able to port my Canadian (also +1) phone number to it, I would assume the same would be true for a US number, but I don't know about Australia (or if even supports Australian DIDs). While they are mainly a VOIP provider, they can also do forwarding like you describe. You can set it up to ring certain numbers or go to online voicemail (e-mailed to you) at certain times of the day (or even ring multiple numbers at the same time). If you have good Internet access you can also use a softphone on your iPhone or computer to receive calls. I have no idea if they support SMS. One thing to bear in mind is that you'd be paying per-minute international termination rates to connect forwarded calls to your local phone, and the rates can vary widely from country to country (Singapore looks very reasonable, but UK looks like it can be expensive depending on your provider).
posted by Emanuel at 5:16 PM on February 18, 2010

Looking at the site I'm not sure I understand—do I need to use a SIP client running on my iPhone to receive calls? If so it's no good to me. I want my phone to actually ring, whether I'm running the SIP client at that very moment or not, whether I'm in Wi-Fi or 3G range or not.
posted by m1ndsurfer at 6:33 PM on February 18, 2010 can forward to your local phone number, so no SIP client needed. You can also configure it so that if you're connected with a SIP client it'll use that, and if you're not it'll fallback to forwarding (or multiple numbers at the same time even). It's very flexible.
posted by Emanuel at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2010

Just got word back from customer support and they can't do a Singapore number, so they're out.

Also, I think it wouldn't work for me anyway—I don't want to have to "port" my number in and out of a VOIP provider every time I land in London for a week, for example, which is how I understand it works.

Any more suggestions?
posted by m1ndsurfer at 2:47 PM on February 19, 2010

Ah. That's much better; but two problems:

Does this break outgoing caller ID? (i.e., if I was in London and called a local, the caller ID number they'd see would be that of my SIM, but I want them to see the VOIP number as that is the "public" number they should use to call me in the future).

Secondly, doesn't forward SMS (text messages). I can't understand why not. Surely it's not a technical limitation?
posted by m1ndsurfer at 3:24 AM on February 21, 2010

I still misunderstand; when I call someone from my iPhone handset, I use the iPhone's built-in address book and dialler. Where's the text box?

Any recommended reading/FAQ on how this whole setup works? The site assumes a lot of knowledge.
posted by m1ndsurfer at 10:40 PM on February 21, 2010

Google voice forwards SMS but it seems to be US only for now...
posted by Arthur Dent at 4:32 PM on February 22, 2010

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