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How to phone

Very comprehensive article in today's WSJ about all the various options for doing cellphone stuff whilst in Europe. It's behind a paywall of course, but if this matters to you, you should search around for an analog copy.

Runs through all the options, and boy are there a lot nowadays.

Posted by
1125 posts

Should not international cell phone usage have gotten sooo much more simple by now?

Posted by
1133 posts

Should not international cell phone usage have gotten sooo much more simple by now?

Sure, and it has mostly. The easiest is to use T-Mobile or Google Fi, but if you don't mind paying more and have AT&T or Verizon, just sign up for one of their international plans.

Posted by
47 posts

Do you have the title of the article? That will make it easy to find in the library database. Thanks!

Posted by
62 posts

Has anyone actually used WiFi Calling from Europe to NA using their own number? It is supposed to be free, as long as you have home data, and you are trying to connect using a wired internet connection (like an airport, not personal hotspots, or data internet). I have been assured by my home provider that it works well, but am slightly skeptical.

The nice thing is you can call home upon arrival, and don't need a SIM.

Also, will Europeans actually answer the phone if they see a NA number calling them? Because local calls to most countries, IN most countries, using your own number on WiFi calling, is supposed to be free for us.

Posted by
901 posts

I called the US with my US SIM using WhatsApp while in Spain. Similarly used WhatsApp in Ireland to call Irish numbers. I think that’s wifi calling. And yes, I know both users must be on WhatsApp for it to work. I’ve also called my Scotland B&B while in Scotland using my US number without WhatsApp and they answered. For that I used my AT&T international plan.

Posted by
1481 posts

"I know both users must be on WhatsApp"

I don't pay much attention to anything META or Android but is this their equivalent to FaceTime or Skype?

Posted by
5 posts

I have Google Fi and used WIFI calling on a recent trip to the UK. It worked fine and I did not incur any charges when calling the USA. In fact, I spent THREE HOURS on hold one evening with no charges! I also called many UK numbers, and most of those calls were a penny a minute.

Posted by
1807 posts

Here's a link to the article for anyone who can access it. I thought this clip from it was helpful. You could combine this option with an eSIM data plan and have the best of both worlds.

For Calling Home: Skype and Google Voice
There are steps you can take to avoid making pricey phone calls. Free communication apps such as WhatsApp and FaceTime audio are good for keeping in touch with loved ones from abroad.

For calling landlines—such as customer service numbers—over data or Wi-Fi, you will need to use an internet-based phone service. You can use these apps to make or receive calls and texts. Note that internet phone service usually can't be used for emergency calls (you need a proper mobile network connection) and some banks, such as Wells Fargo, don't support these apps for receiving two-factor authentication texts.

If you anticipate having to call a landline back home or being on hold with customer service for a North American-based company ( such as an airline ), Google Voice is the best option. With the mobile app, it's free to call the U.S. and Canada over Wi-Fi or wireless data. You can also receive texts and calls to your U.S.-based number assigned by Google Voice. Rates vary for making calls to other countries.

After downloading, enable this setting to avoid using your cell network for calls: Open the app then tap the menu icon (top left). Go to Settings then choose "Make and receive calls," then "Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data." (Make sure you have data roaming turned off on your phone to avoid fees.)

For making or receiving calls from elsewhere, use Skype, a Microsoft-owned app. You can get up to 10 local Skype Numbers in 25 countries for $6.50 a month or $52 annually. That's usually cheaper than getting a local SIM card. (A few countries, such as Brazil, France and South Korea, require proof of residence to set up a Skype Number.)