Getting a US mobile number
March 1, 2022 4:43 PM   Subscribe

What is the easiest way for me, an Australian living in Australia, to get a US mobile number? I assume it's some kind of virtual mobile number, but what is the best service/app to use?

I'll need this to be able to receive and send text messages. I don't know how much I will use it to receive or make phone calls, but I'd still like the option.

posted by kinddieserzeit to Technology (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Get a VPN account so you can show that you're in the US, then get a Google account, part of which is Google Voice, where you can text to your heart content, and make telephone calls also. I do think that you've got to pretend you're in US to get phone number with US area code. It's something that Google has done well at, it's got lots of features, great voice mail ET CET.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:32 PM on March 1, 2022

Skype numbers now support this in the USA - - and I've used that from australia effectively in the past
posted by jaymzjulian at 6:08 PM on March 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just tried, and you can't get a google voice number unless you have an existing US phone number to verify it with. I just tried here from Canada, VPN'd to the States, but the VPN alone wasn't enough to prove I was in the US.
posted by cgg at 6:50 PM on March 1, 2022 [4 favorites]

Google Voice is great, but just be aware that Google has gotten a lot more choosy about what they view as an acceptable forwarding phone number needed to set up a Google Voice account. You typically need either a “real” landline (ie not a VOIP number) or a mobile number from one of the “major” US carriers (AT&T, Verizon, or TMobile). I wasn’t even able to get a Google Voice number with my Cricket Wireless account (which is owned by AT&T).

Ideally, you want to try to find a friend in the US who had a number you can “borrow”. You can unlink the number after you’ve got your Google Voice number, but you need it for setup.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:51 PM on March 1, 2022 [1 favorite] has pretty cheap DIDs that support SMS in most US locations.
posted by wierdo at 7:00 PM on March 1, 2022

Response by poster: I am thinking that it must not be possible to get a US mobile number from overseas.

- based on the comments here, not possible via Google
- checked that info about Skype and it seems it's a service available if you already have a mobile number
- I think DIDs are also only available if you have a mobile number already
posted by kinddieserzeit at 10:25 PM on March 1, 2022

No, VoIP providers like, Callcentric, and others will happily sell you a US DID no matter where you are in the world. The (minor) difficulty is making sure they offer one with SMS capability. is particularly easy since they take PayPal, but plenty of other options are available.
posted by wierdo at 10:36 PM on March 1, 2022

Can you use apps like TextMe or TextPlus?
posted by miles1972 at 12:43 AM on March 2, 2022

I use Skype. I have a Skype Number. No mobile phone is required for this.

I use it for my family in the US. The advantages are:
1) When they want to reach me they just call a local (to them) number. I can then answer the call anywhere where I have the Skype app installed, including my laptop or my phone.
2) They can send sms messages to that number too.
3) When I use Skype (the app) to call them their caller-id shows that same number.

I pay monthly for this service.
posted by vacapinta at 1:15 AM on March 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I use a service called line2 for this (I am an American in China). The downside is that a subset of websites will detect that it is a digital number and not allow it...otherwise, it's done what I needed it to do.
posted by wooh at 3:04 AM on March 2, 2022

Google voice, like many of it's products, has consumed most of the oxygen in the room for simple softphone solutions. I use it, and I've used others. If I was to start fresh I would look closely at using toktiv and twilio SMS. This would be both affordable and not a huge pain to set up. OpenPhone, JMP (requires jabber client) textnow (only sms in N. America) have limitations and costs that may work for your situation. There is a whole lot of biz solutions available, but these cost $$, and many technically complex, like using a Vonage API based solution, which are yikes complex.

Getting someone to verify a new google voice number is probably going to be the most quick and free solution that mostly 'just works'.
posted by zenon at 9:06 AM on March 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

« Older Aggro electronic from '99-2000ish   |   Indoor plant identification Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.