Are you are a global traveler from the US who wants to be reached via your US mobile number while you are in a foreign country and do not want to pay roaming charges of US$2.50 per minute? Here are three simple steps to avoid paying excessive roaming fees to the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint:
1. Sign up to a call forwarding service provider like: One Suite for a monthly fee ($2.95). The call forwarding service provider (One Suite) will assign you a US number that can be routed to any number in the world for a very low fee (i.e., no more than US$0.05 per minute).
2. Forward your US mobile number to the routing service provider.
There are two types of call forwarding services in the US: unconditional (*72) and conditional (*68 or *28). Unconditional call forwarding means all calls will go to the forwarded number and may carry extra charges by your mobile carrier (I know Sprint charges $0.20 per minute). I recommend conditioning call forwarding (when there’s no answer or a busy signal) which is free and works just as well to avoid extra charges.
To forward your call using conditional forwarding, enter *68[415-867-5309] where 415-867-5309 is the number you received from your call forwarding service provider. This will tell your current mobile carrier to forward all your calls to 415-867-5309 when there’s a busy signal or no answer. Your phone will be considered “off” by your mobile carrier which means all your calls will be forwarded to the call forwarding number. If you are on the Sprint or Nextel network, you will need to use: *28 instead of 68. If you’re on Verizon, you may have to use *71.
Click on this link for more information on call forwarding codes.
NOTE: Execute this step before you leave the US so you are not incurring voice roaming charges while abroad.
3. When you’re abroad, purchase a pre-paid SIM card from a local carrier. Login to your call forwarding service provider’s website and forward the assigned number [415-867-5309] to the pre-paid SIM card [+52-55-9876-5432] you have just purchased.
Below is a diagram to illustrate the three simple steps.
This process may seem a bit complicated compared to a service like Skype. However it is reliable and you don’t need to give out another US number to your current contacts. The rates are also very affordable and it’s the easiest way to keep your US number while you’re traveling abroad.
When you’ve returned from your trip, simply go on your phone and hit *81 or *38 (for Sprint) to deactivate unconditional forwarding mode.