Receiving my text messages abroad
November 24, 2014 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I am rather experienced with handling my communication with my international traveling as I have been doing it for some time. However my current job relies very strongly on text messaging and I haven't come up with a bulletproof solution as to how to receive and respond to text messages seamlessly.

I currently use Skype to handle my call forwarding. Before my plane takes off, all of my calls on my New York phone get forwarded to my Skype-In number which forwards to my Finnish phone number. I can call and receive calls just fine. However it doesn't help with my SMS/MMS.

I've tried Google Voice. GV works great as an independent messaging app, but it doesn't receive texts from my phone. No I haven't switched over to a dedicated GV number, and probably will never do so. If I would this would solve my problems I know, but I have other reasons not to change numbers.

As my phone is with Verizon, I thought I had the perfect solution. Message+. As much as I dislike and do not trust Verizon, this app seemed like my savior. However I cannot get the app to connect to the servers on my Finnish Cellphone. Because it is a phone and not a tablet, it is trying to connect as the primary and not the secondary. For those unfamiliar with Message+, here is a link. They just released a desktop app, which will help tremendously, but doesn't get the messages on my phone.

I recently purchased a Motorola Droid Turbo which has Moto Connect. Also has a desktop app like Verizon, but requires the phone to be currently connected, which won't work for me.

So anybody have a good solution for international text messaging?

The info:

In New York:

Verizon Wireless carrier
Motorola Droid Turbo

In Helsinki:

Saunalahti Carrier
Motorola RAZR i

Two different phones/SIMs.
posted by wile e to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I've read my messages before from Verizon online when traveling abroad. You can send text messages on Skype (but not receive them.) Perhaps some combination of the two would work for you? I'm sure someone knows more about this than me though!
posted by EtTuHealy at 11:20 AM on November 24, 2014

Response by poster: That's a great option the only problem I've found with SMS forwarding apps is that the phone needs to be in service for them to work. I can't do that as my phone comes to the airport with me and eventually overseas. The phone forwarding works as it is done by the carrier and thus works when the phone is offline.
posted by wile e at 12:09 PM on November 24, 2014

Someone sent a wrong # text to my Verizon # when I was in Germany and was able to receive my reply.
posted by brujita at 12:09 PM on November 24, 2014

Are you stuck with Verizon? I have T-mobile and get free texts in many countries, along with quite reasonable voice rates. I've only tried it in Spain but their website has pretty good documentation.
posted by ecsh at 3:21 PM on November 24, 2014

Response by poster: Hmm thank you everyone, but I don't wish to carry more than one phone around with me nor could I spend the few hours departing from and arriving to the airport without my US based phone.

Perhaps I have exhausted my solutions and will need to continue as I have been.
posted by wile e at 4:27 PM on November 24, 2014

You can port numbers in and out of G Voice ($20 to port in, free to port it back out), so you can keep your number. Needing internet service to get texts and calls can be a hassle, though.
posted by momus_window at 4:58 PM on November 24, 2014

Also, it's possible google voice may work better than you think. You can port your number to google voice but forward calls to your verizon phone and your service will be no different. There's a way to make the google voice number the only number you need to deal with; you enter a code on your verizon phone so that your mailbox is switched to the google voice mailbox (and you install the google voice app so you throw the right caller id). I do this myself with an android verizon phone and I've never checked google voice's interface for, oh, the past five months. This would definitely allow you to use SMS where ever you are and be much less of a pain. I understand being trepidatious - I unsuccessfully tried to use google voice exclusively as shortly ago as 2012 and it was clunky. At least in my experience (and I'm running the latest flavor of android, ymmv), it's nearly seamless now.
posted by sweltering at 8:51 PM on November 24, 2014

Does it require actual text messaging? We use texts very heavily at our work, but text messages get messed up between international networks on a regular basis. As a result, we all use Whatsapp for work groups, and that's been a fine replacement for text messaging.
posted by frumiousb at 10:21 PM on November 24, 2014

Response by poster: The Google Voice integration has been a thought of mine for a while, but I am tentative in putting much stock in GV. There's rumors all over the net about GV going away and being integrated into Hangouts. If there was some definitive answers I would be more at ease, but don't want to put too much stock in a system that may or may not be here in a few months.
posted by wile e at 5:07 AM on November 25, 2014

I don't have the full picture because I didn't set any of it up, but I have multiple phone numbers (including toll free numbers) and can text on all of them using and possibly Vitelity. There are multiple supported clients. I use Adium on my computer and Jabber on my phone and tablet. I can have the same number signed in on multiple devices. I have sent and received texts internationally. I wish I had more information, but hopefully this points you in a useful direction.
posted by Shanda at 4:31 PM on November 25, 2014

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