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Moving to Europe but I don't want to lose my US cell number

Hello... I am moving to Spain for 2 years but I don't want to lose my US cellular phone number.

I will get a new cell phone in Spain and cellular provider there, but I want to keep my US number and have the phone ring when called (so I know I have a call) but I will not answer. I will see their caller ID then phone them back via Skype or from my Spain cell phone.

I am looking at Cingular Pay as you Go plan... Other recommendations?

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That won't work

ATT prepaid plans do not offer any international coverage. IOW, you won't be connecting to any of ATT's roaming partners in Spain, even just to receive a caller ID display. You would need a post-paid plan for that to work as you've concocted it Wink. Something like Grandcentral/IPKall/Gizmo5, even if you already have it setup, won't work since they don't forward to international numbers.


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Use Skype In?

What about forwarding the US cell phone to a Skype number? You would still pay US minutes for the time the caller left a voicemail or spoke to you over Skype.


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Good idea

That's not perfect, but might work actually, if the OP isn't concerned about not having skype on all the time on his mobile. I forgot that the skypein is based on which country you are calling from, not the one where you'll physically be located in when receiving the call.

To the OP, here's more @

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one more possibility

Sorry- my brain wasn't working well when I typed the last reply Wink

If you really wanted to be savvy and not have to rely on a PC to receive calls via Skype, you could pick up an unlocked Euro 3G (2100 MHz) handset w/ WM6 (perhaps an HTC?). That would give you the option of installing a Skype client. It probably isn't ideal over wifi, but then again, all you are doing is looking at the caller ID info to see who you would call back via your spanish SIM Wink

[Out of curiosity- where in Spain will you be living?]


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Why not port your number to a VOIP Carrier

You could port your number to a VOIP Carrier use this in Spain while you are there and then Port it back to your cell phone when your return to the US. This may also give you the option of having the number forwarded to the Spanish number of your new cell phone if you were unable to answer with your VOIP application.

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Port your number to VOIP

I agree with rsgraham.

If you have your cell phone number ported to a VOIP carrier, you could keep the number, and if you plugged in the VOIP router to the internet while in Spain, you could make calls back home to the US for little or no money depending on the plan you chose. Additionally your friends and family in the US could have a US number to call you.

I'm not recommending one VOIP carrier over another, but Vonage has plans that include unlimited calls to all phones in the US and Canada, and landline phones in Europe and other parts of the world for $25 (other carriers are cheaper). Vonage also has an unadvertised rate for $5 where you can receive incoming calls for free and outgoing minutes are charged a decently cheap rate. I have this plan for a phone number I don't want to loose. With most VOIP companies you could also forward any call you got on your US number to your number in Spain for a nominal rate.

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Thanks Pepe7, peterhedin, rsgraham, johanndale.

Pepe7 I am moving to Madrid.

Further info on my situation. Between my wife and I, we have 3 phone numbers we want to keep. The VOIP route will cost us $25 a month per phone so we now realize having the phone ring is too costly.

So I think our best option is a plan that will allow us to port over our cell phone numbers and any calls will go into voicemail. We will then check voicemail every few days (via Skype) and then return calls. We will forgo the ring in Spain and knowing the caller ID.

I checked Skype and they don't allow you to port over numbers. I called Vonage and they do offer the $5 rate but it is a "retention" rate that is offered only when you call to cancel. Allen @ Vonage said I can sign up for a month, then cancel and receive the $5. I don't know if I trust him that it will be that easy after only one month.

Recommendations on this new route we are going to go?

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I ran into this site w/ international call forwarding
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You're welcome

Were I in your situation, I'd go with the Vonage for $25 a month and then switch to the $5 a month plan after a month, but I've been a Vonage person for 5 years and have a decent level of confidence in them. At first they were terrible, but they've gotten pretty good.

Before I did that though I would check into other companies who might provide you with similar service for the price you want to pay from the get go. Do a search on "VOIP provider" and a lot comes up. Some of the other companies I've heard of are

I've also found which seems to show you a lot of the deals that each of these companies has.

It sounds like you're not planning on making calls, and just want to keep the number, so the quality of the calls isn't important. All you want is someone to hold on to your number for a few years and let it go afterward. Although, I think when you're in Spain, and want to call back to the states, you might find that having one of these phones is uber handy - and you might end up using it more than you imagine right now. Having a regular phone (plugged into the net via a VOIP company device) is much easier than using Skype with headphones and whatnot.

My 2 cents.


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Moving to Europe but I don't want to lose my US cell number

Why not buy an unlocked mobile that takes two sims? Put your US sim in and buy a sim in Spain

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Two Sims

This would work, but would mean that you had to pay the more expensive price for cell service in the states, even though you weren't using it, and any calls you make on the US sim chip would be $1.50 to $3.00 a minute.

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No, it's cheaper than that

Please re-read my previous response. If he were to sign up for world connect it would not be so expensive and he would not have to play voip roulette just to keep a few cellular numbers Wink. And don't forget that he would not be tied to either SIM for calling LD to the U.S.

The only real issue I see with some of the dual SIM handsets is their reliability and, perhaps, lack of specific carrier features vs the standard issue U.S. GSM phones. Some of them probably won't have the best 3G support either for that matter.


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don't forget

Remember to keep paying your bill to your domestic provider while in Europe to keep your mobile # active.

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Forward to Skype and then to European Cell

This is how I handled it. I bought a Skype in number, then forwarded my US cell to the US based Skype in number. Then forwarded my Skype number to my European cell. I had to pay $.20 per minute for the call via the Skype account, but it was free on my European cell as all incoming calls are free. People in the US just kept calling my old cell number and had no idea I was answering it elsewhere. It also made it so I could use any cell phone depending on where I was. I just bought a local prepaid card for my quad band unlocked GSM phone, stuck it in and it kept working. My carrier is AT&T at home so I just called them and had them unlock my phone (it's about a year old phone and I've had the account for many years) and now through this set up I get to receive calls anywhere for just $.20 per minute. This doesn't help with outgoing calls, but you can set up a Skype Pro account for this and it cost only $3 per month plus your per minute usage ($.02 for calling back to the US) plus the local minutes on your local cell phone.

This sounds cumbersome but once set up works great.

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New Question...Kinda

The original poster asked the question..and as I read through I wasn't sure what the final outcome was. I will be moving to the middle east for employment for 1 year and I currently have an Iphone and Skype. I was going to suspend my mobile service...however..does anyone know what would happen if I forwarded my cell phone to my skype number? I don't mind the calls going to voicemail when I'm not logged in... I was just wondering if there was a way to keep my iphone on without paying the $2 per minute that AT&T would charge to have an Int'l plan.

I leave very any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

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Moving outside of US

I am staying out of US for prolonged period of time fairly often and I found that cheapest solution is to have Skype in Number (cost about $50-60 per year), you can usually even pick your US area code and you have unlimited calls to your US number, which rings to your computer.
As I have family plan for my cell, I put my cell on either call forwarding or announcement that calls are taken by my Skype in number, depending on the lenght of my travel.
If most of your contacts have skype and do not need to call your phone, just go with skype without in number.
So check with your provider and find out if you can park your number with forwarding announcement (call your Skype in number), if not, ask how long they will keep the announcement if you cancel your existing number and for how much and go from there.

Good luck

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re: moving outside of us

yes..i have a skype number with a local number...which is why i was thinking if i forwarded my iphone to rates shouldn't apply? just a thought..I'm sure if i called at&t they wouldn't encourage this! i will check into the "announcement feature" and see if they have it.

Thanks alot!!

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Forwarding to Skype

Forwarding to skype will not inclure any international charges, only some local skype charges, if any, read the skype small prit. If you forward it to Skype in number, you will run your cell phone minutes, if you forward it to normal skype number, you will incur a small per minute skype charge, as far as I know. Also try it and activate it while you are in US, and test it thoroughly, so that it works before you leave.


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You can park your phone number

If you still need a solution, you might want to consider "parking" your phone number. offers a whole year including voicemail and voicemail to email, for $60 per year. You can check it out

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Another way to save money for phone bills

One important thing. If you stay out of US for more than 330 days in a calendar/tax year, you do not have to pay tax on first $85,000 of your income and also get other tax advantages. Read the approprate tax code and/or check with your tax advisor.

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