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Expats keeping a phone number in their citizenship country (aka MagicJack not working).


JimmyJ

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Buying a dual sim phone was the best thing I did.

I'm not sure about the US but I have been using a SIM only contract on a UK network. However I just realized I'm throwing money down the toilet and plan to switch over to pay as you go, which I'm told will cost me almost nothing. I just need to top up with £5 and send a txt once every 6 months to keep it alive. That's the theory anyway...

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I keep my UK number going in Thailand and My Thai number going when out of Thailand. So which number is used for verification sms both are available. 

Skype is working best, and have for the quality a very good value concerning the price. It´s also possible to buy a USA number with Caller ID ans both way SMS enabled.

I was using google voice ,for awhile I was getting away with just GV but some institutions got wise to this VOIP stuff and claim its not secure enough. One of them , I can't remember who, actually put

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5 hours ago, riclag said:

I started with Ting mobile just to have a USA phone#, to receive txt messages(I could careless about data).Incoming txt to thailand was free,total cost $6 plus tax pm . Unfortunately for me they decided to partner up with Verizon starting in late 2020. Verizon is a CDMA  network and I have a cheap $30 gsm flip phone .

 

Both Ting and Mint are pretty good low cost options for regular mobile numbers.

 

I'm aware of the coming changeover at Ting from them using T-Mobile to using Verizon as their network instead. It's supposed to start at the beginning of 2020, but from what they've told me, they've got all of 2020 to try to migrate their customers over to the new network, which will require them getting and using a new SIM card.

 

Verizon, despite historically being a CDMA network, is transitioning to LTE and 5G networks, and already is using LTE frequencies. Whether the particular LTE bands anyone has on their phone are compatible with the ones Verizon is and will be using obviously is an individual case situation.

 

When Ting first made the Verizon announcement, I too thought I'd have to ditch them and switch to some other GSM network provider. But now after reading more and checking on Verizon's plans, I think I'm going to wait and see how things play out. (Obviously, I have LTE capable phones, but in your case with an old GSM only phone, that wouldn't work.)

 

Verizon, and hopefully Ting moving forward, does have a pay as you go international roaming service that should work for receiving SMS messages and such on their phone when outside the U.S. without having to subscribe to any expensive international roaming add-on.

 

However, for potential new Ting subscribers, one problem I encountered is their system wasn't willing to accept and send a new SIM to either of the mail forwarding addresses I use. So I ended up having to use a family member's residential address, and then have them forward the SIM to me.

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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18 minutes ago, britishjohn said:

Buying a dual sim phone was the best thing I did.

I'm not sure about the US but I have been using a SIM only contract on a UK network. However I just realized I'm throwing money down the toilet and plan to switch over to pay as you go, which I'm told will cost me almost nothing. I just need to top up with £5 and send a txt once every 6 months to keep it alive. That's the theory anyway...

 

These days, I pretty much only buy dual SIM phones...

 

In Thailand, that's easy to do, since many/most of the models sold here and in Asia generally are dual SIM. 

 

But in the U.S. which is the OP's country, dual sim phones are a pretty rare breed, and the ones that are sold there often are gray market international models that come with no warranty/no U.S. warranty.

 

One exception I've noticed to that is ASUS has a U.S. online store, and being mainly an Asian market seller, many of the ASUS models sold at their U.S. online store are the same dual SIM versions as the ones sold here.

 

Samsung, on the other hand, sells U.S. market only versions of their phones because of their hook-ups with the various major U.S. mobile services and as a result, almost all of Samsung new phones sold in the U.S. seem to be of the single SIM variety.

 

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3 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

In my case, MagicJack has a system technical problem affecting many users.

 

All the institutions I deal with have no problem sending the codes to my MJ phone #.

 

1 bank refused me an account partially because they couldn't verify the phone #, but it was a small bank. That's the 1st time I've encountered that issue.

 

Jimmy, MagicJack's mobile app has always been more flaky that their underlying yearly subscription service that uses a USB dongle connected to either a PC or a wifi router. The dongle based service that uses a traditional house phone to give you a U.S. landline in TH or elsewhere is very reliable. Unfortunately, the dongle-landline service takes calls, but not SMS messages.

 

For SMS messages, Google Voice has worked for me for years for 90+ percent of all my U.S. financial SMS needs. Another very reliable and totally free service for both calls and SMSs is the TextNow Android app, which usually works fine in a rare case where GV doesn't for some reason.

 

Over the course of many years here, I've run into a very few entities, but that included one small bank recently, where they and their system would only accept a traditional paid mobile service from a recognized U.S. mobile carrier. In that case, I have relied on both T-Mobile's $3 a month pay as you go service, which is easy to get and maintain, and the aforementioned Ting number, which isn't so easy to get. But both support receiving international SMSs here.

 

PS - Bottom line, I would definitely rely on MJ's paid dongle-based landline service for providing a quality and reliable U.S. landline phone in TH.  However, I absolutely would NOT rely on MJ's Android app as a reliable method of receiving U.S. banking or other important SMS messages on an ongoing basis.

 

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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3 hours ago, Banana7 said:

I use MJ as a land line by using its box, connected to a router into the internet. Worked ok today. 

 

Yep, as I explained above, their landline phone-dongle based subscription service is an entirely different platform than MJ's mobile app.

 

When you pay for the MJ landline service, you're supposed to get free use and access to their MJ mobile app as well that includes SMS capability. Unfortunately, in my considerable experience with them, the MJ app is nowhere near as reliable as the MJ landline-dongle service.

 

I wouldn't rely on the MJ mobile app as as a reliable U.S. banking SMS solution at all....

 

 

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5 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

Can you make and receive voice calls from the US as well as texts?

Sometimes speaking to cs at a bank or cc company they want to call me on the # I have registered with them, so that ability is essential.

 

The free TextNow Android app (along with Google Voice) will cover about 90+ percent of your U.S. SMS (and calling needs).

 

But in my case and for others, I'd also recommend getting and maintaining one of the low-cost regular mobile carrier services like Ting or Mint or others, just to have as a backup when TextNow or GV aren't accepted.

 

I've also run into a few situations where even T-Mobile's $3 a month prepaid service wasn't accepted, and the institution wanted a more traditional mobile service number like Ting, Mint, etc.... For me, that's getting just TOO FUSSY.... But if you want to do business or have an account with those particular kinds of entities, you gotta play by their rules.

 

 

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5 hours ago, riclag said:

Sending code to Voip# and email imop are going to become a thing of the past.

Doubt  e mail will due to phone reception in many areas being non existant in the UK. I have  e mail notification in the UK just set  up with credit  card  company this  week, I asked about  it and they said yes, and they said remove my  mobile  number from their list  and it would  automatically go to the  e mail instead.

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2 hours ago, dimitriv said:

 

https://www.callcentric.com/  has US phone numbers for $1 a month, for $1 month extra you can get text messages also.

Yes, I have several internet  phone services google voice and talktone. Unfortunately  Bank of America,Synchrony Bank doesn't consider internet phone services viable for sending verification codes

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34 minutes ago, gunderhill said:

Doubt  e mail will due to phone reception in many areas being non existant in the UK. I have  e mail notification in the UK just set  up with credit  card  company this  week, I asked about  it and they said yes, and they said remove my  mobile  number from their list  and it would  automatically go to the  e mail instead.

The OP was talking  about USA  phone service providers . Some institutions in the USA will only txt security codes. That was another issue in the OP 

Edited by riclag
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2 minutes ago, NCC1701A said:

Prepaid T-Mobile account in the USA. $3 a month. Works great in Thailand for USA banking and others. It roams on AIS. No problems.

I have one cheap smart phone with that T-Mobile SIM card in my safe. I only take it out when I do on line banking.

 

 I'm not being a wise guy but I can't find a current source for a $3 a month plan by Tmobile that allows roaming outside the usa ,correct me if I'm wrong. When I called in July CS said they only offer that in the USA

http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/pay-as-you-go

https://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/t-mobile-plans-1325063

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2 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

I have the TM $3 a month service. There's no international specific add on for it. It's simply pay as you go. As you noted, when in TH, it will roam to one of the Thai networks. And then if your TM line receives a SMS from the U.S. while abroad, they'll charge you the per message rate for that against your account balance.

 

Receiving incoming SMS messages from the U.S. while in TH is cheap. Receiving or making calls while on international roaming with TM is NOT!

 

1316903252_2019-05-3110_36_54.jpg.08df71ec0465da1b607cb489d4b9bbf0.jpg

 

T-Mobile stores sell the starter kit for this company:

https://www.ultramobile.com/paygo/

 

I looked and th Ultramobile site shows 25 cents/minute for roaming calls in SEA.

 

Apparently it's the same price - $3/month for 30 minutes - but the roaming charge is a fraction of the T-Mobile charge.

 

I'm hoping I'm understanding this one correctly - it seems like a great solution to my issue.

$3/month and it uses a SIM.

I have a spare phone coming back from repair in about a week and I'll test it in the US.

I can port my Madjack phone # that all are connected with, says both MJ and PayGo, so I'll be saved from a potential nightmare of calling the banks to switch phone #'s.

 

I need to be able to receive SMS verification codes, and occasionally talk to the US on that same number.

 

 

Edited by JimmyJ
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Has anyone used the Ultramobile service?

 

I'm assuming this is different than the $3 T-Mobile service several have mentioned - even though they probably use T-Mobile's network for their service.

Edited by JimmyJ
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Does my plan support International Roaming?

International Roaming is supported on your plan and is charged from money in your PayGo wallet. Rates for international roaming are located at ultramobile.com/paygo.

 

Country
Landline
Mobile
Thailand
25¢ /min.
25¢ /min.
 
I'm really hoping this is the solution. Or something similar - haven't had a chance to look at some of the other companies mentioned.
 
 
Edited by JimmyJ
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38 minutes ago, JimmyJ said:

I looked and th Ultramobile site shows 25 cents/minute for roaming calls in SEA.

 

I saw on the Paygo website where they quote the 25 cents per minute rate for "international calls" to Thailand, meaning calls from the U.S. to Thailand.

 

Their Paygo website says they also support international roaming. But I didn't find a place where they quoted what the roaming rate would be for making a call FROM Thailand using Paygo....

 

I see did the international roaming rates for the Ultra Mobile plans, but those are ones where you're paying a larger monthly fee similar to a traditional U.S. mobile provider.
 

Quote

 

International Roaming

Use your Ultra Mobile phone while traveling around the globe with our International Roaming feature! All Ultra Mobile subscribers get a one-time International Roaming credit, and pay just $0.25 cents per minute to make and receive calls while roaming internationally, just $0.05 to send an SMS text message from outside of the US, and $0.20 per MB of data. (Receiving SMS text messages is free while roaming outside the US.) Unused International Roaming balances carry over from month to month and never expire!

 

 

https://www.ultramobile.com/international-roaming/

 

I'm also not sure what they mean in the quote above about the "one time" international roaming credit, in terms of what happens with international roaming after a customer has used up that one-time credit.

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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I'm going to get in touch with one of the Ultramobile stores tomorrow.

 

It says International starts at $19/month - Unlimited talk to 80+ International Destinations - but as you bring up, is that from the US only to the 80+ countries,  and then it's 25 cents/min. roaming, or the $19 covers SEA to USA ?

Edited by JimmyJ
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1 hour ago, JimmyJ said:

I'm going to get in touch with one of the Ultramobile stores tomorrow.

 

It says International starts at $19/month - Unlimited talk to 80+ International Destinations - but as you bring up, is that from the US only to the 80+ countries,  and then it's 25 cents/min. roaming, or the $19 covers SEA to USA ?

Please do get back with a response from the Ultramobile  agents! I'm always open for a  cheaper way 

 

 

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I use Ting and Google Voice. Ting costs me like $6 a month when Im not using it (when Im here). When Im in the USA, it costs me like $40. I rarely if ever use my Ting number, I have had the same Google voice number for years and can call the states from here for free. I make all my calls in the US from Google Voice

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4 hours ago, Nyezhov said:

I use Ting and Google Voice. Ting costs me like $6 a month when Im not using it (when Im here). When Im in the USA, it costs me like $40. I rarely if ever use my Ting number, I have had the same Google voice number for years and can call the states from here for free. I make all my calls in the US from Google Voice

Are you aware that Ting will be  switching carriers ,from Tmobile to Verizon. It's suppose to be finalized in late 2020! I'm just sayin!

 

Edited by riclag
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6 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

I'm going to get in touch with one of the Ultramobile stores tomorrow.

 

It says International starts at $19/month - Unlimited talk to 80+ International Destinations - but as you bring up, is that from the US only to the 80+ countries,  and then it's 25 cents/min. roaming, or the $19 covers SEA to USA ?

 

Be interested to hear what you find out.... But also, be careful to distinguish between the Ultramobile plans and features, where there's a good sized monthly fee just for service, vs. the UM's Paygo plans and service, which seem more like the TM $3 a month pay as you go service.

 

For purposes of this topic, most folks in TH don't need a full fledged monthly U.S. calling plan that costs $15 to $25 per month just to have the U.S. service.... But instead, ideally, a very low cost plan that at a minimum is simply capable of receiving U.S. banking type SMSs when outside the U.S.

 

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53 minutes ago, riclag said:

Are you aware that Ting will be  switching carriers ,from Tmobile to Verizon. It's suppose to be finalized in late 2020! I'm just sayin!

 

Two things about that.... 

 

1. I've definitely been told directly by Ting that at some point before the end of 2020, their current Ting GSM customers are going to have to be issued and receive a new SIM that will work on their Verizon-based network (and presumably support Verizon based international roaming).

 

2. What's kind of interesting about that, though, is that while Verizon is traditionally a CDMA carrier, when you're traveling abroad and roaming internationally with a Verizon phone and SIM even today, you're not connecting to Verizon's CDMA network, you're connecting and using their international roaming partners which here in TH would be GSM...

 

So, for someone who's staying in Thailand and doesn't plan to travel back to or use the future Verizon-Ting SIM in the U.S., it might well be a situation where they'd never actually have to or need to activate the service or use the SIM on any CDMA network. Just on the GSM/LTE ones here in TH.

 

Parallel example - I've had and occasionally used my Ting SIM now for some months. But when I first got it and used it on my phone, it was here on TH on Ting/TM's international roaming partners.

 

And thus far, I've never yet actually connected with Ting/TM's home network in the U.S.  And yet, I was able to start and continue using the service just fine.

 

So as long as someone is staying here in TH, the CDMA compatibility issue with Ting-Verizon in the future MIGHT be an entirely non-issue.  Unless the Verizon network somehow requires folks to activate, initially use their service on their home U.S. network first. And I don't know the answer to that one.

 

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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1 hour ago, riclag said:

Are you aware that Ting will be  switching carriers ,from Tmobile to Verizon. It's suppose to be finalized in late 2020! I'm just sayin!

 

Makes no difference. If Ting doesnt fit my needs, Ill port my number to someone new.

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17 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

The big issue is that it's unfortunately become common for financial companies not to use email to send verification codes

I agree this is a big potential problem.  My car insurance, credit card company and sometimes even Etrade sends me  a text confirmation.  Not easy to do if I am traveling overseas or traveling, or god forbid actually move

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12 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

...For purposes of this topic, most folks in TH don't need a full fledged monthly U.S. calling plan that costs $15 to $25 per month just to have the U.S. service.... But instead, ideally, a very low cost plan that at a minimum is simply capable of receiving U.S. banking type SMSs when outside the U.S.

 

It doesn't happen often, but besides being able to receive the banking SMSs, once in awhile for verification a cs person will want to call me on the phone number I've registered with them if I've called in on a different number.

 

 

VOIPs may work for a long time into the future for making/receiving those calls, or, as someone stated in the thread, VOIPs are being found unacceptable by more banks which used to accept them.

Edited by JimmyJ
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I drove to a T-Mobile store today.

 

The cs rep told me that what some of you refer to as T-Mobile's $3 plan is just that - T-Mobile used to sell the Ultramobile package under the T-Mobile name, and you were grandfathered in and able to keep it.

 

For new users, T-Mobile now only sells the starter kit for $10 - the SIM and I don't know what else, probably nothing but instructions.

The rep told me that they're told not to give any info about the Ultra PayGo $3 plan but refer everyone to Ultra.

They do nothing besides selling the kit.

 

When I got out of the store I tried calling the Ultra cs # and had just missed their close for the day, so will talk to them tomorrow.

 

In this thread T-Mobile's $20 plan has been mentioned.

The cs rep told me it wouldn't work for my situation due to this term:

 

"Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our network. Device must register on our network before international use."

 

At least one person mentioned using this plan - I have to reread the thread but if anyone reading this is using this plan, please post and mention if they've ever given you a problem about that issue.

 

If I did want that plan I was thinking I could only turn it on when I need to receive the bank SMS and otherwise perhaps once a week in case a bank left me a message.

But that would still make it evident that I am steadily out of the country.

 

 

Edited by JimmyJ
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