Voice - mobile phones


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Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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When researching Google Fi, I came across a blog post written by member Behan Gifford about voice communications. It has a great summary of options and what to takes to make them work.

I also found a comparison of Google Voice (connected to Project FI) and MS Skype. I guess Google Voice is currently only available via the US but presumably will be expanding.

On Aleria, Alex and I have Irish phones with unlimited data through mobile provider 3. Our phones now work all over Europe without roaming charges. Presumably, it won't apply in GB after Brexit. We also have a Skype US phone number that is VOIP but redirects to our mobiles so our family can dial a US number to reach us on our mobiles for pennies. We've given up our global coverage US phone with provider T-Mobile which worked great for the first couple of years in the Caribbean but then got to be ridiculously restrictive and expensive. We've also activated the 'call to phones' feature on Skype which lets us call anyone's phone anywhere in the world for pennies, whether or not we are connected to them via computer. It works like an automatic top up phone.


Increasingly, we rely on What's App and Messenger to communicate internationally, but the person has to be subscribed for it to work.

What's everyone else doing? And do you find Google Fi significantly superior to Skype?
edited by DariaBlackwell on 3/15/2019

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Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Here's another comparison of Google Voice and Skype features: https://searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com/feature/Skype-vs-Google-Voice-Feature-by-feature-showdown

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zgriswold
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Hi Daria - Do you happen to know if a non-Irish (non-EU) resident can get the same Europe-wide phone service/provider you have, or does one need to be resident in Ireland to subscribe? Thanks - Zdenka
Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Zdenka, I believe one needs to be a resident as we had to provide proof of residence - e.g., utlity bill in our names. We go through Carphone Warehouse who represent multiple providers and compare plans on your behalf to see which one fits best with your needs. They will know the answers.

There may be a top up phone that has good data plans that may be available to nonresidents. We keep spare older phones for our friends to use when they visit. Your PO for the west of Ireland will do a little more research and get back to you. ;-)
edited by DariaBlackwell on 3/18/2019

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WilliamStrassberg
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Hello Zdenka and Daria. A timely topic for me as well. When I arrived in Ireland in 2016, I purchased a 3 sim card for my phone with unlimited data which was great around Ireland but I do not recall that it worked as unlimited in the UK - as I chose to switch to Vodaphone. But maybe this was for coverage in the Hebrides...I cannot recall.

It is timely once again as I return to Carrickfergus via Dublin on April 22nd and will be sailing north and west through Faroe/Iceland/Greenland and will want coverage at least through Iceland. I wonder if there is a 3 plan that would work for me roaming in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Faroe to Iceland.

Daria, can you comment any further?

Many thanks,

Bill
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Bill,
Any sim bought in Europe should roam throughout Europe keeping the data and voice allowances in the host country. The U.K. ‘might’ exit Europe on April 12th ( or it might not). You should be able to roam in Iceland without additional charge. I am not sure about the Faroes. Greenland roaming is hideously expensive and It is very difficult to get a sensibly priced SIM card there as there is a local rate and visitors rate.

An EE SIM bought in The UK can be upgraded to MAXPLAN for a fee which means that calls and data allocations a kept in NZ, Canada and USA.

I hope this helps. Brexit May change things if and when that happens.

Simon
edited by simoncurrin on 4/7/2019
Hasbun
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We are not EU residents, and so the possibility of subscribing to a European-based phone account is limited.  Currently we use pre-paid service from Spanish operator Simyo, good anywhere in Europe, at 28GB for €17 per month.

Our solutions for the past few years have been:

1.  In France, you can subscribe to Free France, a telephone operator, via a credit card.  We subscribed to their €2 per month plan four years ago, and that's been our "voice" telephone number ever since.  Whereas in France proper they can give you what amounts to essentially unlimited internet for about €20, they cap data use elsewhere, so this was our solution for data only when we cruised France.

2.  All over Europe, you can purchase very cheap prepaid _data_only_ plans.  For almost two years our solution was Wind Italia, which gave us 20GB for €9 per month, and we could pay from anywhere via PayPal.  We used it in a bunch of countries and hardly at all in Italy.  Sadly late last year they started capping non-Italian use at 3GB, so it was time to get something different.

3.  We are now with Simyo Spain: 28GB for €17.  Pay from the phone itself, but alas!, their app rejects our U.S. credit/debit cards.  So here is what we did: we got one of those all free/zero cost N26 bank accounts.  It comes with a debit card.  Trough a Spanish friend, we deposited €500 on it (deposits from any European bank account are free to sender and receiver).  The Simyo app accepts the German-issued N26 card, which we use exclusively to pay for phone service, so we figure we have enough to pay for several years' service.

4.  Final note: service from innovative/"new entrant" companies such as Free France/Wind Italia/Simyo Spain, etc., has been perfect for us sailing around, but it is to be acknowledged that the former national monopolies are said to have more comprehensive networks.  Guess what?  When we are out of the country where we purchased our service, we often get roaming service from a so-called "premium" service provider, not that, in the end, there is any noticeable difference.
neilm
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Daria Blackwell - 3/18/2019
Zdenka, I believe one needs to be a resident as we had to provide proof of residence - e.g., utlity bill in our names. We go through Carphone Warehouse who represent multiple providers and compare plans on your behalf to see which one fits best with your needs. They will know the answers.

There may be a top up phone that has good data plans that may be available to nonresidents. We keep spare older phones for our friends to use when they visit. Your PO for the west of Ireland will do a little more research and get back to you. ;-)
edited by DariaBlackwell on 3/18/2019

We had a very bad experience with CarPhone Warehouse.  I bought a data plan in Scotland for 5 GB data at a very reasonable price.  However, overage was charged at a sky high rate, about 10 times the base rate per Gb.  I dumped them immediately, and did not keep records, so I cannot give details.
Skype and Google Fi are a bit of an apples and oranges comparison.  One negative with Fi is that there is a monthly charge, even if not used   It is possible for non americans to use Fi, but it is necessary to play games.​​
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