So you’re going to London for a week of business meetings. Or to the Italian countryside to sip Chianti Classico. Or maybe you’re off to Cancun, Mexico for some fun, sun, and relaxation. Sounds great!
But will your phone work when you land?
Probably, but unless you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, you really don’t want to know how much it will cost you...
OK, maybe you do! Let me tell you a story.
Recently a friend of ours went to Lithuania for a business trip and agreed to be a guinea pig for us.
We wanted to see if he could keep getting phone calls on his US Mobile Number while in Lithuania, without having to pay AT&T literally hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
First, our friend Jon confirmed with AT&T that his mobile phone was “unlocked” and was able to use a SIM card NOT from AT&T and that his phone would work on the Lithuanian mobile network, which they confirmed.
You can confirm that your mobile phone will work in the country you are traveling to yourself with this awesome website, WillMyPhoneWork.net. Put in your mobile device, pick the country where you are going, and see which mobile networks in that country will work with your phone. If your phone just won't work, usually you can pick up an inexpensive feature phone e.g. non-smartphone at a convenience store before you leave.
Next, before Jon left on his trip, he got a US Virtual Number from Tossable Digits.
Then just before he boarded the plane, he dialed a special code into his mobile, along with his new US Virtual Number, **21*2035049196# and hit “Call.” His phone showed a message that calls to his mobile number would now forward to the Virtual Number with Tossable Digits.
* NOTE: That code is specific to AT&T, but we can help you find the code for your mobile carrier. (BTW that phone number is a dummy number. Jon asked us not to have you call him.)
Our plan is that when someone in the US calls his mobile number, AT&T forwards that call to the Tossable Digits Virtual Number, which is set to go straight to Tossable Digits Voicemail, with a message:
“Hey, this is Jon. I’m traveling to Lithuania for work. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you when I land.”
Everything's coming up Milhouse! Forwarded calls: CHECK! But when he lands, how will he answer the forwarded calls?
Once he landed in Lithuania, he found a bodega that sold SIM cards. He paid a total of about USD$6 for the BITĖ Labas Prepaid SIM card, 2GB of data, 300 minutes and 500 SMS messages (within Lithuania, not International).
Once he got the SIM card into his phone and knew his phone number, he logged into Tossable Digits and updated his forwarding number in his Virtual Number configuration with his Lithuania phone number.
Now any calls that came in on his US Mobile number would forward to his US Tossable Digits Virtual Number, which would then forward to Lithuania! Success!
You might be wondering, whoa, that’s a lot of forwarding. Well, here’s something you might not know — your phone calls already go all over the place anyway, and thanks to the speed of light and fiber optic undersea cables, the delay was only about half a second. Pretty good for a call that traveled 4,500 miles (probably more, phone lines tend not to travel in a straight line).
Lithuania's Trakai Castle
Jon got into the rhythm of Lithuania time... eventually. Luckily Tossable Digits helped him avoid interruptions by using our Do Not Disturb feature.
By selecting his current time zone and what hours he wanted to accept calls, he was able to send calls outside of those hours straight to Voicemail, rather than ringing on his phone. No complex time zone math required! He allowed calls between 10am and 2am Lithuania time, sending calls to voicemail from 7pm to 3am US Eastern time so he could get his beauty rest.
Two things we learned from all this.
First, his AT&T mobile voicemail was effectively bypassed. Not a problem though, as Tossable Digits took care of that, AND our Voicemails were sent to his email inbox as an MP3 attachment, which he could listen to within his Gmail account both on his laptop and his phone.
Second, text messages cannot be forwarded. Jon wasn't bothered by this, as he primarily uses Apple’s iMessage, though he chats with a few people on alternative chat apps WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Line.
Jon said the calls sounded great and he was able to answer our forwarded calls without any issues.
Let’s talk about cost.
AT&T really, REALLY would like you to travel abroad and not pick any International Plans. Jon burned through a bit over 2GB while in Lithuania, using it mostly for navigation, but also for keeping in touch -- and maybe some Clash Royale.
Our forwarded calls used his 300 minutes, looking like any other incoming call to his Lithuanian mobile carrier. And though he didn’t go through all 300 minutes, he could have purchased unlimited calls in Lithuania for $7 instead of $6. Cheapskate! (We love that about him)
So let’s assume he used 200 minutes and 2GB of data, and compare what he WOULD have spent with AT&T versus Tossable Digits…
|Plan Name||Plan Cost||$ per MB Data (2GB)||$ per Minute (200 Minutes)||$ TOTAL|
|No International Plan||$0||$2.05/MB ($4100)||$2.00/minute ($400)||$4,500|
|Passport Plan||$40||$0.25/MB, 200MB incl ($450)||$1.00/minute ($200)||$690|
|Passport Silver Plan||$60||$0.20/MB, 300MB incl ($340)||$0.50/minute ($100)||$500|
|Passport Gold||$120||$0.15/MB, 800MB incl ($180)||$0.35/minute ($70)||$370|
WOW! The BEST CASE on AT&T is $370, and that’s if you plan ahead! Now, let’s see how Tossable Digits stacks up...
|US Virtual Number||$3.49/month|
|200 Minutes Forwarding to Lithuania||$10.00 at $0.05/minute|
|Lithuania SIM card||$6.00|
Yep. Jon saved, in the best case, just over $350 using Tossable Digits rather than using AT&T in Lithuania.
If he hadn’t signed up for the Passport Gold plan before he landed in Lithuania, his savings could have been yuuuuuuge!!!
Jon returned back to the US safe and sound, if a bit jet lagged.
As he landed, he dialed #21# and hit Call and ended the Call Forwarding, then later logged into Tossable Digits and disconnected the US Virtual Number -- no contracts, no hassle.
Having saved himself a few thousand dollars, he treated himself to some Kung Pao Tofu delivery and crashed on the couch watching Netflix.
Let us help you with your trip out of the country!
This process works great if you are just leaving for under a month, and we’d be thrilled to help make sure important calls can still reach you while you are traveling for fun or work or both!
If you’re going for longer, we can Port your Phone Number to our service, turning your mobile number into a Virtual Number, saving you a ton of money by switching away from your mobile carrier (who charges a lot of money for a service you won’t be able to use), and keeping your phone number!
When you return from out of town, we can port the number back to any wireless carrier you like.