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


JimmyJ

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1 hour ago, JimmyJ said:

 

"Voice Calls via "Mobile" Connection

-  US to Thailand: deducted from Voice 100 free monthly minutes (no Wallet charge)

-  Thailand to US: $2.39/minute deducted from Wallet (no deduction from free monthly minutes)"

 

 

Similar results in Vietnam for Mobile Calls/SMS I believe, except Vietnam call to USA = $5.99/minute.

 

  

 

Yeap....it would be $5.99/minute via mobile connection....a Vietnam to USA call.  

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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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3 hours ago, Pib said:

 

Yeap....it would be $5.99/minute via mobile connection....a Vietnam to USA call.  

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What price guide are you quoting?

 

Link please.

Edited by JimmyJ
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10 minutes ago, JimmyJ said:

What price guide are you quoting?

 

Link please.

 

See pricing data under the Get a Great Rate and Calling Rates paragraphs. 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/prepaid-international-roaming

 

Yes, it's a TMobile webpage but it applies to the old TMobile $3 Paygo SIM and new UltraMobile $3 Paygo SIM for "international rates" using a mobile connection.   If using a Wifi Connection with the UM SIM then the rates do not apply....the TM SIM does not have Wifi Calling capability.

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@Pib for the UltraMobile $3 Paygo SIM,

 

- What is the maximum topup amount? 

- What is the maximum balance for your SIM topup balance 

- do you have to use some sort of Tmobile app to do Wifi calling, send/receive SMS, etc with wifi internet? 

 

- Do the wifi/sms features work if the sim card is not in the phone?

 

Thanks.

 

---

I've used CallCentric for a while, but it may be considered a VOIP number.   Never really tested the SMS feature, but I should.

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14 hours ago, 4evermaat said:

@Pib for the UltraMobile $3 Paygo SIM,

 

- What is the maximum topup amount? 

- What is the maximum balance for your SIM topup balance 

- do you have to use some sort of Tmobile app to do Wifi calling, send/receive SMS, etc with wifi internet? 

 

- Do the wifi/sms features work if the sim card is not in the phone?

 

Thanks.

 

---

I've used CallCentric for a while, but it may be considered a VOIP number.   Never really tested the SMS feature, but I should.

 

- Max top-up amount per transaction if $20

- Max allowed balance in your Paygo Wallet is $150

- You do not have to use any special Ultramobile app to use Wifi Calling.  Wifi Calling has been inherently built into the Android operating system and I expect Apple operating system for many years.   To activate Wifi Calling all you do is turn it on in your Ultramobile online acct and on your phone....done...it's some one time settings change....like turning a light switch from off to on and then forgetting about it. Now, your mobile service must offer Wifi Calling which Ultramobile does....most mobile carriers do now days, but some still don't.  Like the old TMobile Paygo $3/month SIM does not have Wifi Calling capability....USMobile does not....etc.  

-  I've never tested it without a SIM in the phone...but without a SIM in the phone I can't see how your phone would know what network (i.e., Ultramobile, TMobile, DTAC, AIS, Ting, etc) to interface with via mobile or Wifi Calling.   When you activate Wifi Calling you are not entering any website to connect to like connect to Ultramobile Wifi Calling website so-in-so to use...you are simply changing some toggle switches from off to on in your mobile carriers online acct and your phone.

 

See below snapshots from my Ultramobile online acct and comments I added regarding your questions.

 

Max amount "per transaction" when topping up via credit card.

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You can setup Auto Renew (see below) where your credit card is automatically charged $5, $10, or $20 per month.   I don't have auto renew activated....I will just be topping up my wallet a couple times per year since I don't foresee myself using more than the monthly $3 fee.  Even if your balance reaches zero although your acct would be suspended, to get it un-suspended you would just log onto your acct and top-up....you are now back in operation.

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From Ultramoible Pago Q&A webpage.

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On 11/12/2020 at 5:56 PM, Pib said:

In closing, you can only find a Ultramobile Paygo $3/month SIM at "select TMobile retail stores" according to the Ultramobile Paygo website for around $10-$15 upfront cost and sometimes you can find them online like at Amazon/Ebay at price-gouging prices in the $35-$45 ballpark I'm unsure if the SIM can be fully "activated" outside the US.   Every ad I saw selling the SIM said it must be first activated within the US which I had a relative do for me and then the SIMs were mailed to me here in Thailand.  Yeap, if you can get your hands on the Paygo $3/month SIM--even at a price-gouging price--the monthly savings will quickly recoup that upfront cost when you compare it to other low cost SIMs that cost in the $10-$15/month ballpark and also may first require activation in the US before they can be used outside the US.

 

Regarding above where I said "I'm unsure if the SIM can be fully "activated" outside the US.   Every ad I saw selling the SIM said it must be first activated within the US..." and that has now been confirmed by ThaiVisa forum member, TallGuyJohninBKK, who recently bought the SIM off Ebay at a non-price gouging price of only $13 and was unable to activate it within Thailand.   

 

Wish that Ebay ad had been around when I bought my two Paygo SIMs back in Sep 2020 at approx $40 each off an Amazon ad and had them mailed to my sister in the U.S. for activation.  But the Ebay ad makes no mention that the Paygo SIM must first be activated in the U.S.....but the Amazon ad I bought from had that info as the first sentence in the description.   

 

Anyway, below is current the Ebay ad Ultramobile $3 SIM  TallGuyJohninBKK bought from...surprisingly it's a "MintMobileAdmin" seller....that is, a Mint Mobile representative also selling the Ultramobile $3 Paygo SIM also.  The seller's first batch of 500 Paygo SIMs sold out quickly with many positive feedback comments (but I expect all those folks activated the SIM in the U.S.).  The ad disappeared for a few days until they got restocked.  If buying off the Ebay ad and although the ad does not talk activation location, the UltraMobile SIM must first be activated in the U.S.---then you can use it anywhere in the world....or at least anywhere where TMobile has partner relationships with local mobile carriers...and TMobile does have such relationships with DTAC/AIS/True here in Thailand.  I know my two Ultramobile SIMs work fine here in Thailand.

https://www.ebay.com/str/mintmobilewireless

 

Anyway, I've stole too much of TallGuyJohninBKK thunder...hopefully he'll add some comments on his activation attempt....I will forward him this post.   I now need to make another post talking USMobile SIM activation in Thailand...a SIM which can be activated in Thailand as I very recently did it...will post that info a little later. 

 

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I was lucky 31 years ago when I got a Vodaphone number. No monthly fees etc, international roaming with $1 a minute international calls. I only use it once in a blue moon. I'll maybe get a calls bill for $10 a year. The sales guys in Vodaphone tell me never to change my plan as I'll never get a deal like that again.

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1 hour ago, Pib said:

 

 

Anyway, I've stole too much of TallGuyJohninBKK thunder...hopefully he'll add some comments on his activation attempt....I will forward him this post.   I now need to make another post talking USMobile SIM activation in Thailand...a SIM which can be activated in Thailand as I very recently did it...will post that info a little later. 

 

 

Just to clarify on one point -- there is a significant difference between the regular, higher priced UltraMobile monthly plans and the separate $3 a month Paygo plans offered by UltraMobile. Same company, but different SIMs and not interchangeable with each other.

 

One of the main other differences being -- the regular UltraMobile SIMs can be activated for the first time in Thailand and used here roaming on the TM network for at least wifi calling and SMS send/receive. Whereas as Pib noted above, I tried the same with their Paygo SIM and couldn't get it to activate here at all.

 

The main reason for that with Paygo here seems to be it having a required send SMS message from the Paygo SIM to Paygo in order to activate here and receive an assigned phone number. And you can't have that SMS sent from any other phone/SIM or service. It has to be from the Paygo SIM itself. And I could never get that to happen here.

 

So the upshot being, if you want to take advantage of the $3 a month Paygo service roaming here as a T-Mobile MVNO, it appears that you actually have to first activate the SIM/service on their network while back in the U.S.

 

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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And now the US Mobile (USM) info.  Below is the long version, but the short version is you can activate the USM SIM in Thailand via a Wifi Calling connection. 

 

Late last year I created a USM online acct (easy, free) and also ordered their SIM starter pack (free at the time including shipping...but normally $3.99 plus a dollar or so of shipping...must ship to a US address).  Had the pack shipped to my U.S. address and then I reshipped it my Thailand address.  The pack consists of two regular SIMs.  One SIM is called a Super LTE Network SIM that operates on the Verizon network and the other SIM is called a GSM LTE Lite SIM that operates on the TMobile network.  

 

Which SIM you want to use depends on where you live as Verizon and TMobile coverage/speeds varies across the U.S.  And, supposedly for international roaming, you are better off with TMobile than Verizon.  Additionally, the Super LTE Network SIM (Verizon) requires an IMEI check/acceptance during online SIM activation...basically checks to make sure your phone satisfies Verizon requirements.  However, the GSM LTE Lite Network SIM (TMobile) does not require an IMEI/phone check.   

 

When I got starter pack late last year I didn't attempt activation because USM does not provide an international "mobile" connection except for certain eSIM  (electronic SIM) model phones and only for Data.  However, they had been promising that they would implement "Wifi Calling" soon...by the end of 2020 hopefully....which means a person could use the SIM worldwide on a Wifi connection....like on your home Wifi network to make/receive calls, send/receive texts, but  no mobile data.    

 

Well, on 15 Jan 2020 USM implemented Wifi Calling capability on their GSM network for Android phones (not yet available for Apple iPhones)....that is, if you use the  GSM LTE Lite Network SIM in an Android phone.   Thanks to TallGuyJohninBKK or giving me the heads-up about above USM Wifi Calling announcement.  I had been waiting for USM to go operational with Wifi Calling. 

 

If you don't have a clue what "Wifi Calling" is then you just need to study-up....it's easy...and  "very" easy to setup/use on a phone...especially on an Android phone.  In fact, for my Ultramobile Paygo SIMs I only use them with a Wifi Calling connection for calls & texts although I could use a mobile connection if desired.  No separate app is used/required for Wifi Calling connection....you just need to enable the Wifi Calling setting(s) on your phone which are typically turned off. 

 

So, I did the online activation for the USM GSM LTE Lite Network SIM and it activated online...got a phone number issued.  With the online activation now complete it was time for the real acid test by inserting the SIM into the phone to see if I could call/text.  Although it appeared the online activation process was totally successful would the SIM actually make a connection? 

 

I inserted the SIM into my Android phone already setup for Wifi Calling, turned the phone on, and upon bootup I get a text from USM saying my phone/SIM is not configured properly for MMS and internet and to install two configuration APN files.  Buy hey, that made me happy as it came via text (SMS) message in phone's message app.  These two APN configuration files were included in two separate received "Notifications" I got at the top of your phone which is not uncommon when installing a new SIM....I installed both APN files which took a split second as they are just super simple SIM configuration files and I'm now fully setup.   I then make several calls and texts from/to my other US numbers....every thing works fine...texts arrive with a second or two....calls connect no problem....clear voice quality.

 

Below are some examples of USM monthly cost data for various combination of Talk/Text/Data as they use an ala-carte plan model you can change monthly if desired...lot more combinations possible....these are just a few for example.   Remember, you can not make a "mobile connection" outside the USM with the SIM so including DATA in your monthly plan would be a waste outside fo the U.S.   Since you would be using a "Wifi Calling" Wifi connection outside of Thailand for Talk and Text mobile Data is not used/needed as you have a data connection via your Wifi connection. 

 

The USM $2 service fee on any plan along with the Govt regulatory fee can sure add a big percentage of cost when going for a low quantity of minutes/texts/data each month....less of a percentage but still very significant as you choose higher quantity talks/texts/data combinations.  If getting the USM SIM simply to receive a few texts each month like 2FA security codes to logon to websites like your U.S. online banking then the $4.48/month plan should be fine.  You can switch plans each month when you prepay for the upcoming billing month...you can also select monthly AutoPay so you don't forget to pay for your upcoming month.

 

Examples of Monthly Plan Combinations

TALK Min/Cost     TEXT/Cost      DATA/Cost      SERVICE FEE   REGULATORY FEE   TOTAL/Month

 -       0 / $0.00         50 / $1.50        0MB / $0.00        $2.00                   $0.98                      $4.48

 -    75 / $2.00          50 / $1.50       0MB / $0.00        $2.00                   $1.57                       $7.07

 -    75 / $2.00          50 / $1.50     50MB / $1.50        $2.00                   $1.57                       $8.57

-   150 / $3.00        100 / $2.00   100MB / $2.00       $2.00                   $1.57                     $10.57

-   300 / $4.00        300 / $3.00   100MB / $2.00       $2.00                   $2.48                     $13.48

- 1000 / $6.00     1000 / $4.00        2GB / $10.00      $2.00                   $3.31                     $25.31

 

If comparing the Ultramobile $3 PayGo SIM which provides 100 talk minutes & 100 texts & 100MB data (this data only works in the U.S.) per month it's a better deal than the USM SIM on a "monthly cost basis."   But as discussed in earlier posts you must activate the Paygo SIM within the U.S. before it will work worldwide; with the USM SIM you can activate within Thailand.   Of course there are other differences between the two SIMs but if "being able to activate within Thailand is a requirement" then you can with the USM SIM when using Wifi Calling...you can't activate within Thailand with the Ultramobile $3/month Paygo SIM.

 

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3 hours ago, Pib said:

surprisingly it's a "MintMobileAdmin" seller....that is, a Mint Mobile representative also selling the Ultramobile $3 Paygo SIM also. 

 

Not so surprising. The Mint Mobile brand was originally launched by UltraMobile, and for some years they were run by the same company, though Mint eventually became a separate company, according to the news reports. Though I keep seeing references about there still being some ongoing commonality between the two.

 

"In August 2016, Ultra Mobile launched Mint Mobile, formerly Mint SIM, an online-only MVNO specializing in prepaid mobile plans on the T-Mobile cellular network, which provides discounted pricing based on monthly, quarterly, or yearly terms paid in advance.[16][17][18]

 

In October 2019, Mint Mobile started operating as their own company to serve customers as Mint Mobile LLC, which is separate from Ultra Mobile. On November 25, 2019, it was announced that actor Ryan Reynolds had purchased an ownership stake in Mint Mobile.[19]"

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mint-Mobile

 

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Pib, one added thing that might be helpful to folks here would be to recap what your experience has been in receiving bank/financial SMS authentication codes with the various services -- Paygo, US Mobile, T-Mobile $3, etc...

 

 

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Another bargain/budget U.S. MVNO that MAY be entering the market of interest for expats is the Tello service, which offers a variety of very low priced monthly service plans.

 

Tello had been principally a Sprint MVNO, which meant they weren't really a viable choice for international roaming/activation. But just recently, Tello announced they'll be migrating their services to the T-Mobile LTE network, just like UltraMobile/Paygo and others (because T-Mobile recently bought Sprint and is converting their CDMA network to LTE over time).

 

That possibly means existing Tello users when abroad should be able to access their phone calling and SMS services at least via roaming in the future. But whether Tello initial LTE SIM activation will work when someone is abroad I think isn't quite known yet.

 

https://www.tmonews.com/2021/01/tello-mobile-now-offering-service-t-mobiles-network/

 

Tello Mobile now offering service under T-Mobile’s network

 

"Tello Mobile has just rolled out its new GSM plans. And the best part about their announcement is that they are offering service under T-Mobile’s networks at the same prices. 

 

Prior to today’s announcement, Tello only offered service under Sprint’s network. The MVNO shares that transitioning to a GSM network took a longer time than they anticipated. But now that they have made that move, they are starting to offer improved 4G LTE coverage, a super-stable network, and faster data speeds. 

 

What this transition means for new customers is that you will automatically be onboarded to the new network. You won’t need to wait until after the migration is completed before you can use GSM."

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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Pib mentioned increasing issues using VOIP numbers.

 

I avoid using the apps of financial institutions.

 

But the few times I've tried, they tend to reject VOIP numbers.

 

Also - I think I read recently.- perhaps in this or a similar TVF thread - that Google Voice is no longer accepting "short number" texts which most banks use to send codes.

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1 hour ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

Pib, one added thing that might be helpful to folks here would be to recap what your experience has been in receiving bank/financial SMS authentication codes with the various services -- Paygo, US Mobile, T-Mobile $3, etc...

Right now I only use my Google Voice (GV) number and TMobile (TM) $3/month SIM number.  Have not...and don't plan....to include my Ultramobile (UM) Paygo and USM numbers in my numerous online account profiles like my various online financial/bank/US Govt profiles until either my GV and/or TM number don't work anymore.   

 

And I only use my TM SIM number when my GV number will not work to receive 2FA codes which occurred last year on one of my bank accts and one of my US govt accts as the two entities were able to tell the GV number was a VOIP-based number.  So, I entered my TM number for those two accts and I'm good to go again.   

 

Last year for the first time also, one of my US govt pension related sites would not accept my GV number for 2FA...but it gladly accepted my TM number.   Seems to be a slow progression in VOIP-based numbers not being accepted for 2FA codes although the numbers still work for general info texts like here's your monthly bank balance, you monthly statement has been issued, a payment just posted, etc., but not accepted for 2FA logon with that same online acct. 

 

So, my UM and USM numbers are now backups and will remain that way until I have to enter them in my profile or the wife's profile at bank XYZ, etc.  Like someday when the TM number may stop working like TM shuts down that legacy plan, the TM SIM just quits working from old age/damage, etc.   Call my UM and USM SIMs low cost peace of mind. 

 

I do have one online acct bank acct (joint bank acct with the wife) where the same mobile number entered in our separate logon profile can not be used....their system rejected it...identified it as duplicate number in another person profile with the bank....and the other profile was mine.  Fortunately, I was able to use GV in one profile (I think I put that in the wife's profile) and the TMobile number in my profile.  

 

I have no doubt the UM and USM SIMs/numbers will not work to receive 2FA codes....have no doubt they will work just as good as my TM SIM/number.   And as mentioned already, I just know my GV number is not accepted by all and non-acceptance of VOIP-based numbers for 2FA is slowly increasing.

 

But for folks out there who are fat, dumb, and happy with their GV number working for all your 2FA logons (like it use to work for me up until about two years ago) and don't have a US mobile number to use,  all I can say is you probably don't have many bank/financial accts....and those accts still accept VOIP-based numbers as a mobile number.  A person only needs to google a little to find many posts on many blogs where a GV number would not work for 2FA authorization and a SIM-based mobile number was required.

 

 

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36 minutes ago, JimmyJ said:

Also - I think I read recently.- perhaps in this or a similar TVF thread - that Google Voice is no longer accepting "short number" texts which most banks use to send codes.

Based on my experience with my numerous bank/financial online accts (too many accts really....accts accumulated over the years of looking for the best banking deal like no foreign transaction fee debit cards) Google Voice still works for 2FA/short code texts for "most" of my online banking online accts....let's say approx 80%.....it use to be 100% up until about two years ago.    

 

And it's not Google Voice doing the rejection of 2FA;  it's the sending entity like the bank who determines the GV number is a VOIP-based number---that is, not a real mobile number--and rejects use of the GV number for 2FA.

 

But as mentioned in my previous post VOIP-based numbers are slowly not being accepted for 2FA at some online accts.   When/if a person's bank might get around to no longer accepting a person's GV number for 2FA could range from never-to-tomorrow....it's up to each online acct as to what type of number will work.  And of course many still also allow email addresses, security codes generated by the bank's mobile app, voice call, etc., to receive the 2FA code.  And then some are just hard core in only allowing a mobile number.  

Edited by Pib
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14 minutes ago, Pib said:

But for folks out there who are fat, dumb, and happy with their GV number working for all your 2FA logons (like it use to work for me up until about two years ago) and don't have a US mobile number to use,  all I can say is you probably don't have many bank/financial accts....and those accts still accept VOIP-based numbers as a mobile number.  A person only needs to google a little to find many posts on many blogs where a GV number would not work for 2FA authorization and a SIM-based mobile number was required.

 

And we seem to have had totally different experiences about that. As you know, I have numerous U.S. financial accounts with different entities big/giant and small. And I use my GV phone number to receive log-in verification SMS codes with pretty much all of them, without any problem or blockage. The only time I don't use my GV number for SMS codes is when the financial entity allows the email alternative, and I'll choose that instead.

 

The one type of situation where I've run into problems with the GV number for authentication codes a couple of times was when setting up some NEW financial account, and the financial entity appeared to be looking for a traditional mobile number associated with some kind of U.S. billing address as part of their setup (know your customer) verification process. In those instances, neither my GV number nor my TM $3 number worked, and I had to use a more traditional Ting mobile number instead. But even after those new accounts were opened, then, their systems would accept the GV number for receiving regular SMS log-in codes just fine.

 

So in my experience, I'm not seeing any technology march toward broadly excluding GV numbers from receiving routine U.S. financial entity log-in codes, though I certainly know there are some individual financial entities that don't accept them.

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3 hours ago, Pib said:

And now the US Mobile (USM) info.  Below is the long version, but the short version is you can activate the USM SIM in Thailand via a Wifi Calling connection. 

 

Just to recap a bit, I wanted to add some perspective on why the ability to activate and use a new US Mobile LTE SIM in Thailand might be important for U.S. folks, especially for those trying to set a NEW U.S. mobile number while abroad.

 

Reason 1:  While lots of longer-term U.S. expats here may already have and continue to use the T-Mobile $3 a month SIM service for calls and SMSs, TM no longer offers that service to new customers. So unless you've already got it, you can no longer get that deal from TM.

 

Reason 2: The inheritor of the former TM $3 a month plans is the current $3 a month Paygo SIM from UltraMobile. And while those CAN be purchased these days easily from EBay for about $13, my experience with that suggests that the new Paygo service must be first activated in the U.S. before it can be used for roaming abroad. Which means, the customer would either need to travel back to the U.S. (not so easy these days) or have a family member or friend do the activation in the U.S., and then remail the activated SIM here.

 

So that then brings us to the US Mobile SIM service that similarly runs on the TM network in the U.S. and roams among the various Thai mobile providers here. Unlike the two prior examples/services, the U.S. Mobile SIM and service is still available to new/first-time customers, and Pib's experience shows their SIMs can be activated and used here without any prior fiddling in the U.S.  Which makes them an appealing option for those in need of new service.

 

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GV continues to work well for all my 2FA requirements. Granted I only have about eight requirements.

 

But I have kept my $40/year T-Mo SIM active - I've had that mobile number for ~ 25 years (AT&T, ported to VoiceStream ported to T-Mo/post-paid, switched to pre-paid $3/day (when used).

 

Some banks allow you to add multiple numbers now, and choose which one you want the SMS sent to.

 

I think with widespread use of MNP, and much-improved bulk third-party SMS service providers(Twillo), means that there is no way to determine if a number is or is not a mobile number. 

 

I maintain my free Talkatone number as back-up.

 

I see a lot of posts on the interwebs saying this or that bank doesn't work with GV. Even see some of my banks listed. Meh, works for me so maybe they're doing something wrong.

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Literally thousands of US entities like banks which use 2FA...and each one determines what type of numbers (i.e., VOIP-based, mobile, etc) will work with their 2FA logon.

 

Over the last two years two of my US banks stopped accepting VOIP-based numbers like Google Voice, TextNow, etc., for 2FA logon although the VOIP-based numbers would still work for the bank's general texts like notifications of a payment, monthly statement, etc.   And one US govt agency started offering mobile phone 2FA in addition to their current 2FA by email, but neither my Google Voice or TextNow numbers were accepted...but they gladly accepted my TMobile $3 SIM mobile number.  

 

Each person is going to have a different experience based on what online acct they trying to log onto like the thousands of different US financial entities, US govt agencies, etc. , as each online entity determines if a VOIP-based number is accepted...and maybe even certain mobile carriers.

 

As mentioned by mtls2005 a person can google about the subject of Google Voice not working from the get-go or stopped working for 2FA...like google along the lines of ""bank rejects VOIP based mobile numbers" and be provide a long list of people experiencing the problem.   I did that a few minutes ago the first link was talking about a major US bank where Google Voice number does not work for 2FA and I know that to be a fact because I have an account at that bank.   I won't mention the two major US banks and one US govt agency where VOIP-based numbers will not work anymore just to maintain some banking privacy.

 

 

Edited by Pib
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FWIW, One can port out a VoIP number, like GV, to a mobile provider. Obviously one can send/recevied SMSes with that mobile number.

 

My vague recollection was that the issue with GV was actually with Google, or the bank's bulk SMS provider. I was unable to receive SMS from one bank for a long time, but as of a few years ago I was able to receive SMSes via GV. With that bank I've added my T-Mo, Talkatone and GV numbers for 2FA, and when prompted I can choose which of the three to use.

 

I've switched some service providers to 2FA, and use GV for those daily. Works well for me.

 

For my limited requirements GV works for everything. Note that the SMS gets delivered as an SMS within the mobile Google Voice app, and to the desktop/web app and as a GMail email.

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Pib said:

Literally thousands of US entities like banks which use 2FA...and each one determines what type of numbers (i.e., VOIP-based, mobile, etc) will work with their 2FA logon.

 

Over the last two years two of my US banks stopped accepting VOIP-based numbers like Google Voice, TextNow, etc., for 2FA logon although the VOIP-based numbers would still work for the bank's general texts like notifications of a payment, monthly statement, etc.   And one US govt agency started offering mobile phone 2FA in addition to their current 2FA by email, but neither my Google Voice or TextNow numbers were accepted...but they gladly accepted my TMobile $3 SIM mobile number.  

 

Each person is going to have a different experience based on what online acct they trying to log onto like the thousands of different US financial entities, US govt agencies, etc. , as each online entity determines if a VOIP-based number is accepted...and maybe even certain mobile carriers.

 

As mentioned by mtls2005 a person can google about the subject of Google Voice not working from the get-go or stopped working for 2FA...like google along the lines of ""bank rejects VOIP based mobile numbers" and be provide a long list of people experiencing the problem.   I did that a few minutes ago the first link was talking about a major US bank where Google Voice number does not work for 2FA and I know that to be a fact because I have an account at that bank.   I won't mention the two major US banks and one US govt agency where VOIP-based numbers will not work anymore just to maintain some banking privacy.

 

 

"...like google along the lines of ""bank rejects VOIP based mobile numbers" and be provide a long list of people experiencing the problem."

 

I "qwant"ed that and noticed this in the results:

 

"A lot of these (like TextNow) won't accept short-code texting, which sites like FreeEat "https://www.reddit.com/r/beermoney/comments/2q234v/dont_want_to_use_your_phone_number_for/

 

Don't recall if I ever tried to receive a short code with Textnow.

 

I also see lots of sites unknown to me listed offering free (I think) numbers to receive bank codes etc.

 

 

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1 hour ago, JimmyJ said:

Don't recall if I ever tried to receive a short code with Textnow.

Works as good as Google Voice.   I have my TextNow number in a couple of my bank's online profiles.   

 

When one of my primarily banks stopped accepting my GV for 2FA but still accepted it for general purposes/info texts I also loaded my TextNow number as a test as one of my mobile numbers since this bank allows I think at least three mobile numbers in my profile. 

 

Right after loading my TextNow it appeared as a number I could do 2FA with....and I tested it for several 2FA logons with that bank on that day...worked fine...receive the security short codes.    However, the next day my TextNow was not being offerred anymore for 2FA use...I guess the bank's system only checked new numbers once a day or something and then they determined it would not be allowed for 2FA--probably because it's a VOIP-based number just like GV..   That TextNow number has been loaded in my  bank's online profile for around a year now....I frequently receive general info texts from my bank to the TextNow number...but the TextNow is not offered as  2FA choice when logging on (nor my GV number).

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17 hours ago, Pib said:

Works as good as Google Voice.   I have my TextNow number in a couple of my bank's online profiles.   

 

When one of my primarily banks stopped accepting my GV for 2FA but still accepted it for general purposes/info texts I also loaded my TextNow number as a test as one of my mobile numbers since this bank allows I think at least three mobile numbers in my profile. 

 

Right after loading my TextNow it appeared as a number I could do 2FA with....and I tested it for several 2FA logons with that bank on that day...worked fine...receive the security short codes.    However, the next day my TextNow was not being offerred anymore for 2FA use...I guess the bank's system only checked new numbers once a day or something and then they determined it would not be allowed for 2FA--probably because it's a VOIP-based number just like GV..   That TextNow number has been loaded in my  bank's online profile for around a year now....I frequently receive general info texts from my bank to the TextNow number...but the TextNow is not offered as  2FA choice when logging on (nor my GV number).

I hope TextNow will still be a viable option.  I pay the $5/year fee to keep my number locked in.  It is the only phone number I have linked to my brokerage, which requires 2FA.  No problems yet there, though there are times the text never arrives - however I can also select an automated call to that number which works 100% of the time so far.

 

My bank on the other hand just recently disabled VOIP numbers for notifications and Zelle.  I knew something was up a couple of months ago, and I had to go into the online portal and choose email for these notifications (glad this is still an option).  It appears I can keep the TextNow number as my primary mobile number on my account, but I can't use this number for deposit/atm alerts anymore.

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On 1/19/2021 at 2:21 PM, Pib said:

And now the US Mobile (USM) info.  Below is the long version, but the short version is you can activate the USM SIM in Thailand via a Wifi Calling connection. 

 

Late last year I created a USM online acct (easy, free) and also ordered their SIM starter pack (free at the time including shipping...but normally $3.99 plus a dollar or so of shipping...must ship to a US address).  Had the pack shipped to my U.S. address and then I reshipped it my Thailand address.  The pack consists of two regular SIMs.  One SIM is called a Super LTE Network SIM that operates on the Verizon network and the other SIM is called a GSM LTE Lite SIM that operates on the TMobile network.  

 

Which SIM you want to use depends on where you live as Verizon and TMobile coverage/speeds varies across the U.S.  And, supposedly for international roaming, you are better off with TMobile than Verizon.  Additionally, the Super LTE Network SIM (Verizon) requires an IMEI check/acceptance during online SIM activation...basically checks to make sure your phone satisfies Verizon requirements.  However, the GSM LTE Lite Network SIM (TMobile) does not require an IMEI/phone check.   

 

When I got starter pack late last year I didn't attempt activation because USM does not provide an international "mobile" connection except for certain eSIM  (electronic SIM) model phones and only for Data.  However, they had been promising that they would implement "Wifi Calling" soon...by the end of 2020 hopefully....which means a person could use the SIM worldwide on a Wifi connection....like on your home Wifi network to make/receive calls, send/receive texts, but  no mobile data.    

 

Well, on 15 Jan 2020 USM implemented Wifi Calling capability on their GSM network for Android phones (not yet available for Apple iPhones)....that is, if you use the  GSM LTE Lite Network SIM in an Android phone.   Thanks to TallGuyJohninBKK or giving me the heads-up about above USM Wifi Calling announcement.  I had been waiting for USM to go operational with Wifi Calling. 

 

If you don't have a clue what "Wifi Calling" is then you just need to study-up....it's easy...and  "very" easy to setup/use on a phone...especially on an Android phone.  In fact, for my Ultramobile Paygo SIMs I only use them with a Wifi Calling connection for calls & texts although I could use a mobile connection if desired.  No separate app is used/required for Wifi Calling connection....you just need to enable the Wifi Calling setting(s) on your phone which are typically turned off. 

 

So, I did the online activation for the USM GSM LTE Lite Network SIM and it activated online...got a phone number issued.  With the online activation now complete it was time for the real acid test by inserting the SIM into the phone to see if I could call/text.  Although it appeared the online activation process was totally successful would the SIM actually make a connection? 

 

I inserted the SIM into my Android phone already setup for Wifi Calling, turned the phone on, and upon bootup I get a text from USM saying my phone/SIM is not configured properly for MMS and internet and to install two configuration APN files.  Buy hey, that made me happy as it came via text (SMS) message in phone's message app.  These two APN configuration files were included in two separate received "Notifications" I got at the top of your phone which is not uncommon when installing a new SIM....I installed both APN files which took a split second as they are just super simple SIM configuration files and I'm now fully setup.   I then make several calls and texts from/to my other US numbers....every thing works fine...texts arrive with a second or two....calls connect no problem....clear voice quality.

 

Below are some examples of USM monthly cost data for various combination of Talk/Text/Data as they use an ala-carte plan model you can change monthly if desired...lot more combinations possible....these are just a few for example.   Remember, you can not make a "mobile connection" outside the USM with the SIM so including DATA in your monthly plan would be a waste outside fo the U.S.   Since you would be using a "Wifi Calling" Wifi connection outside of Thailand for Talk and Text mobile Data is not used/needed as you have a data connection via your Wifi connection. 

 

The USM $2 service fee on any plan along with the Govt regulatory fee can sure add a big percentage of cost when going for a low quantity of minutes/texts/data each month....less of a percentage but still very significant as you choose higher quantity talks/texts/data combinations.  If getting the USM SIM simply to receive a few texts each month like 2FA security codes to logon to websites like your U.S. online banking then the $4.48/month plan should be fine.  You can switch plans each month when you prepay for the upcoming billing month...you can also select monthly AutoPay so you don't forget to pay for your upcoming month.

 

Examples of Monthly Plan Combinations

TALK Min/Cost     TEXT/Cost      DATA/Cost      SERVICE FEE   REGULATORY FEE   TOTAL/Month

 -       0 / $0.00         50 / $1.50        0MB / $0.00        $2.00                   $0.98                      $4.48

 -    75 / $2.00          50 / $1.50       0MB / $0.00        $2.00                   $1.57                       $7.07

 -    75 / $2.00          50 / $1.50     50MB / $1.50        $2.00                   $1.57                       $8.57

-   150 / $3.00        100 / $2.00   100MB / $2.00       $2.00                   $1.57                     $10.57

-   300 / $4.00        300 / $3.00   100MB / $2.00       $2.00                   $2.48                     $13.48

- 1000 / $6.00     1000 / $4.00        2GB / $10.00      $2.00                   $3.31                     $25.31

 

If comparing the Ultramobile $3 PayGo SIM which provides 100 talk minutes & 100 texts & 100MB data (this data only works in the U.S.) per month it's a better deal than the USM SIM on a "monthly cost basis."   But as discussed in earlier posts you must activate the Paygo SIM within the U.S. before it will work worldwide; with the USM SIM you can activate within Thailand.   Of course there are other differences between the two SIMs but if "being able to activate within Thailand is a requirement" then you can with the USM SIM when using Wifi Calling...you can't activate within Thailand with the Ultramobile $3/month Paygo SIM.

 

 

Below US Mobile weblink shows you how to setup Wifi Calling on your Android phone.  It's easy...just change a setting or two in your Android settings and Wifi Calling is now activated on your phone....will work with a mobile carrier offering Wifi Calling.  Remember, Wifi Calling needs to be available on the carrier's end and your end.    You can turn on Wifi Calling right now on your phone, but unless your carrier supports Wifi Calling on their server end nothing will happen...Wifi Calling will not kick-in....you'll still be operating on a mobile connection only. 

 

Heck, even with my Thailand DTAC SIM I use Wifi Calling as DTAC supports Wifi Calling....activate it on their end....activate it on your end...you now have mobile connection AND Wifi Calling connection capability....the phone can automatically switch back and forth between a mobile and Wifi connection for calls and texts.  This can come in handy when your mobile connection is weak/non-existent but you have a Wifi connection. 

 

And I'll just add a recommendation, if you want to ensure there is no mobile data being used with Wifi Calling activated, just turn off Mobile Data in your Android settings....a lot of people do that when they are roaming outside their carrier's service area to be sure no Data is used...as Data while roaming internationally can get very expensive.  But since US Mobile does not provide international roaming Data you really don't have to turn off Mobile Data unless you want to.

 

I use my Ultramobile and US Mobile SIMs in Wifi Calling mode "with mobile data turned off" as it ensures the phone don't waste time trying to make a mobile connection and ensures no mobile data will be used if international roaming did happen to be available at a healthy cost.   Now the Ultramobile $3 Paygo SIM does provide international "mobile connection" roaming for talk & text but you pay extra cost, but there is no international Data roaming as Data is only available when in the U.S....just like the US Mobile Data.

 

Anyway, if you don't know much about Wifi Calling you should study-up on it as it can come in really handy sometimes like receiving/sending calls & texts anywhere in the world you can make a Wifi  connection.

 

How To Setup Wifi Calling on an Android Phone

https://www.usmobile.com/blog/setting-up-wi-fi-calling-on-android/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=gosquared&utm_campaign=WFC

 

Edit: Another Wifi Calling link which is embedded in above link, but I want to ensure people see and hopefully read below layman's explanation of Wifi Calling.

https://www.usmobile.com/blog/what-is-wifi-calling/

Edited by Pib
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I have 2 an  Android which has a Wifi Calling setting.

 

Yet I could never get it to make a Wifi call using Ultra Paygo or Ting.

 

When I enable it, on the phone's upper left it shows the Wifi Calling logo, but on the upper right.it shows the same logo with a diagonal line thru it.

 

Pretty sure I worked on it with.Ting cs, possibly also with.Ultra's.

 

 

 

 

Edited by JimmyJ
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When you make a Wifi Calling call e.g. with Ultra Paygo,  how do you know it's being made thru Wifi and you are not being charged e.g. $6 /minute, other than checking the account balance afterwards?

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5 hours ago, Pib said:

Below US Mobile weblink shows you how to setup Wifi Calling on your Android phone. 

 

Pib, can you clarify something about the US Mobile service when used abroad:

 

When using USM, other than its new wifi calling capacity when outside the U.S., will the US Mobile SIM roam to various of the Thai mobile providers for calls and SMS, like a TM $3 a month SIM will?  Or with USM, it's wifi calling and texting or nothing?

 

The USM website is a bit confusing on that point. They also make a big deal about free or low priced international data roaming -- but that's ONLY for USM accounts that are using an E-SIM in their phones, which most of us probably don't have. Other than that, I'm not seeing anything about international roaming in any aspect of their service.

 

As another comparison, if I recall correctly from your Paygo description, you had indicated that with the Paygo SIM here, a customer DOES have the choice between using wifi calling and texting OR a roaming connection to one of the various TH mobile service operators.

 

 

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2 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

Pib, can you clarify something about the US Mobile service when used abroad:

 

When using USM, other than its new wifi calling capacity when outside the U.S., will the US Mobile SIM roam to various of the Thai mobile providers for calls and SMS, like a TM $3 a month SIM will?  Or with USM, it's wifi calling and texting or nothing?

 

The USM website is a bit confusing on that point. They also make a big deal about free or low priced international data roaming -- but that's ONLY for USM accounts that are using an E-SIM in their phones, which most of us probably don't have. Other than that, I'm not seeing anything about international roaming in any aspect of their service.

 

As another comparison, if I recall correctly from your Paygo description, you had indicated that with the Paygo SIM here, a customer DOES have the choice between using wifi calling and texting OR a roaming connection to one of the various TH mobile service operators.

 

 

US Mobile does not have any international roaming for talk, text, or data when using their regular SIM--its purely for use in the U.S. unless you use a Wifi Calling connection for talk and text, OR you happen to have certain model eSIM (electronic SIM) phone then you can do international roaming with Data but still no talk or text.  With their regular SIM you will not get a mobile connection outside the U.S.   Up until they added Wifi Calling capability on 15 Jan 2021 US Mobile was pretty much only useable in the U.S. unless you had an eSIM then you could also do Data internationally but still not text or talk internationally.  However now those eSIM folks (and regular SIM folks) can do international text/talk via Wifi Calling.

 

Now with the Ultramobile Paygo $3/month SIM you can get a mobile connection outside the U.S. like here in Thailand (just like the legacy TMobile $3/month SIM) and you can send/receive calls and texts via mobile connection but not Data.  Data only works on a U.S. mobile connection.   And the UltraMobile PayGo SIM has Wifi Calling capability which is how I use it to avoid any fees for receiving/sending an international text or making a call (it's just like you are in the U.S. for talk/text)....but if I receive or send an international text on a mobile connection with the UltraMobile $3 Paygo SIM there is a 10 cents or 50 cents charge per text, respectively.   More detailed UltraMobile Paygo costs for international use earlier in this thread.

 

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3 hours ago, JimmyJ said:

When you make a Wifi Calling call e.g. with Ultra Paygo,  how do you know it's being made thru Wifi and you are not being charged e.g. $6 /minute, other than checking the account balance afterwards?

You just make sure your mobile connection is off by turning on Airplane Mode which kills your mobile and Wifi connection completely...at the top of your phone you'll see the little Airplane icon appear.  Then you turn back on your Wifi connection....you'll then see your Wifi connection come back but your mobile connection is still deactivate with Airplane mode turned on.  You phone now has a Wifi connection only; no mobile connection.  

 

The only way to get your mobile connection back is to turn off Airplane mode.    Only takes a second or two to turn Airplane mode on and off.   

 

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