Internet Phone Service
We have chosen to use Google Voice as our phone service during our trip to Costa Rica. Other options included Skype and MagicJack.
Here are the top reasons we selected Google Voice:
– Can port our current cellphone numbers
– Receive free calls and text messages from U.S. phone numbers
– Make free calls and text messages to U.S. phone numbers
Google Voice is free and can be used via computer or WiFi device. We are using old iPhones with no cellular service. The official Google Voice app does not allow for WiFi calling, but the Talkatone App allows an old iPhone to function like a real phone – as long as we are connected to a WiFi network.
Some Notes About Google Voice:
1) There is a $20 fee for porting your phone number
2) Porting can (and does) take “up to 24 hours”
3) If you are using Google Voice on your computer from outside the U.S., you must make and receive calls through Gmail. Open Gmail in your browser and click the “Call” button that appears in the “Chat” area of the window. Install any add-ons that it asks for.
Canceling Cellphone Service
We have also chosen to cancel our current cellphone plans since we will be out of the country for nearly 6 months. In both cases, our service providers (AT&T, Sprint) offered options to place our service on hold for a monthly fee. AT&T allows you to put your service on hold for a maximum of 6 months. I also have the option to buyout my contract for $175.
Given that my iPhone bill is already $115/mo, I have chosen to buyout my contract for $175 and keep my device. Had I placed my service on hold for 6 months, I would have paid $115 for my first month back + $60 for the 6 months on hold = $175. This way I can keep my iPhone and do whatever I want when I return stateside.
Ashley is not currently under contract with Sprint. Her service will automatically terminate when we port her phone number to Google Voice. Sprint offered a similar “hold” service, but since she is not under contract, there is no reason to consider this option.