Telcel Plus Google Voice

docphoneegads

In a minute, I’ll provide a trick on how to simplify this flustercluck of #s above for you Mexican cell phone owners.  Here is how I got here:

After so many years of being handcuffed to a cell phone in business, I revolted when I moved to Mexico in 2007.  I let my Colorado cell phone subscription expire and only had a weak VOIP(internet) phone using Yahoo Messenger. No cell phone for 3 years.

In a few years, friends pestered me about that hassle.  I also decided that having a phone on the road was good emergency insurance.  So I moved up to a flip phone, very 20th century, with a Telcel local Mexican number.

May 2016, my team of advisors convinced me of the same financial mantra on smartphone purchase as latop PC: buy as much as you can afford.  After more analysis than needed, decided that the unlocked Motorola Moto G was the best value at $200USD and under.  You will need an unlocked GSM phone for Telcel service.

telcelsinlimite17

 

Telcel promotes some mighty low rates for their cell phones, including free text and calls to/fro/within/without Canada, USA and Mexico(pesos in above chart).  With so many of my friends paying $60-$100USD/month, the 200 peso (11USD/mo) plan looked like a winner.

Went to the Telcel office at the Ensenada Walmart Macroplaza, handed them my shiny new Moto G phone.  They installed the GSM chip, tested phone to make certain it worked and off I went to learn how the heck to make and receive calls.

Last was to create a friendly way for US friends to pester me vs. 011-52-1-646-XXX-XXXX.  SIXTEEN numbers, and how much will this cost me to call you, Bajadock? WTH??? OK, no one actually “dials” a phone anymore.  But, entering those 16 numbers to call a Mex cell phone effectively removes me from any friends’ list.

My goal was to have US callers punch 619-XXX-XXXX and reach me on my Mex cell.  Discovered about 2 dozen international phone forwarding services(VOIP) to provide one number for your 2 cell phones, one land line, etc.  There are business enterprise PBX services at $100+++ per month down to single user needs like mine at $10/month.  Voxox is one service that interested me.

But, after far too much reading, research and a super long thread on Talk Baja Facebook, I settled on Call Centric as my phone forwarder of choice.

Here are the instructions for moving calls to Telcel, using Google voice PLUS Call Centric(or another VOIP phone forwarder).

  1. Get a Google Voice phone number.  This give you free calls/texts anywhere in the world using the internet.  fyi, gotta be in USA to get a goog voice #.
  2. Get a GSM unlocked phone and take it to a Telcel office to get your Telcel sin limite plan and chip install.
  3. callcentricdocacctSign up on Call Centric to get a phone number for voice forwarding.  You need this step because Google Voice does not forward to international numbers. In your Call Centric #, forward that phone to your Mex cell(011-646-52-1-XXX-XXX).  Also need to add a minimal, $5USD, and monitor that in your Call Centric account monthly.  Call Centric gave me as 914 area code.  No worry, as noone is going to see or have to remember that phone #.  It is simply a device to plug into Google Voice.
  4. callcentxlitephoneYou will also need a “soft phone”, which is an app that will allow Google Voice to test your new Call Centric number as legitimate.  Without this softphone, Goog Voice would call to test your 914 phone and not get an answer.  Call Centric happens to provide one of these soft phones(with setup instructions).  Take a deep breath and follow the soft phone setup instructions.  It looked more complex than it is, took me approx 5 minutes.  The photo at right is what the softphone(phone app) looks like>>>
  5. Go into your Google Voice settings and plug in your Call Centric #(mine is a 914 prefix).  Goog Voice will now prompt you to test your Call Centric #.  They will ring your # via your soft phone app(I had mine on my laptop) and give you a 2 digit code to verify your Call Centric #.  Below snapshot is of my Google Voice SETTINGS menu, showing my 914 area code phone forwarding from Goog Voice.  BINGO, you are SETUP.

docphonejul16

Here is what the call, originating from USA, looks like:

docphone#forward

Many first time callers were surprised to get me live after all of these years.  Calls are clear, with no delay and cost approx 2.4 cents per minute to me.  At 200 minutes of calls that would be $5 per month.

Last step was to get texts live from 619-XXX-XXXX.  This is not now available from Call Centric.  But, using a Google Voice app or Google Hangouts app on your smartphone, allows you to get those texts for minimal data useage.

My smartphone now alerts me on my OUTGOING calls whether I want to use my Google Voice phone(619-xxx-xxx) or my Telcel phone.  It is a fun option, and I do use Goog Voice when internet wifi is high speed.  Using normal outgoing Telcel phone, my 011-52- # shows on their caller ID, fyi.  If I choose Google Voice app, 619-XXX-XXXX shows up on their caller ID.

Post Script: Just used Google Voice to block pesky area code 202(D.C.) calls.  6 calls this afternoon will have me hunting them down for my 15 cents lost.  No, I’m not voting for T or C , so stop trying to get me “donate” to billionaires.

Ain’t technology fun?  Thanks to Aaron and Tom on Talk Baja Facebook, as well as others,  for assistance.

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17 Comments

  1. Posted July 26, 2016 at 07:23 | Permalink | Reply

    Bajadock:

    Thanks for this info. It came at a perfect time for me, as I am trying to improve contact between the US and Baja for my hotel reservations system. Love your blog!

    Roger Silliman

    Sent from my iPad

  2. first99
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 07:44 | Permalink | Reply

    Doc, this is a really informative article. Thanks for posting.
    Now, if there was only a similar about those TV streaming boxes? 🙂
    Your blog is great!

  3. Posted July 28, 2016 at 13:30 | Permalink | Reply

    Great information. Thank you for sharing. I moved recently to Playas…ah que vida!

  4. Posted August 26, 2016 at 10:04 | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you. I am trying to figure this out and my eyes are crossed. You are a Godsend.

  5. Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:42 | Permalink | Reply

    Good to know. I tried Skype incoming a few years ago, and started receiving someone else’s collection agent calls right away (at $50/year they now tell you up front that all numbers are used and there are no refunds).
    Incoming of Google Voice calls through CallCentric actually appears to be $4US setup, $2US/month ongoing, and 1.5 cents per minute.

    • bajadock
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 13:31 | Permalink | Reply

      I’m at $.04 USD/minute on Call Centric. Need to “block caller” pests on Google Voice to avoid persistent tmktg callers. Cheers.

      • Posted August 29, 2016 at 14:07 | Permalink

        They may have just made a change (re: monthly fee + 1.5 cents/minute). They also sent me a pdf form and said to sign and submit, they just didn’t say where to (it was kind of funny, actually). I don’t see anything in my CallCentric “DID Forwarding” tab so I am waiting for response from their support ticket function. I have Zoiper Softphone on my Android Smartphone:-)

      • Posted August 29, 2016 at 16:14 | Permalink

        It worked! I did have to print the PDF, sign it, scan it, and attach it back into the open support ticket. You either have to be a techie or a very methodical step-by-step reader. It took me a while to understand that I would receive a second 10-digit number from them (their original sign-up/account number used for configuration, and then another number when I paid for the incoming call plan, which is used for forwarding). I hope that robo-calls don’t ruin it, but my GV number is already listed on the fed do-not-call site (https://www.donotcall.gov/). Maybe one can register both of the numbers from CallCentric as well. Thanks again.

      • bajadock
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 17:19 | Permalink

        Thanks for feedback, Eric. I was coached on this at Talk Baja Facebook. fyi, your info prompted me to check Call Cenric and found my rate is no 2.2 cents/minute. Cheers.

  6. Alan
    Posted September 1, 2016 at 08:53 | Permalink | Reply

    Hi, great post, I just have a quick question. I’m currently in Mexico and have a Google Voice account already setup, my question is if I use Google Voice/CallCentric/Mexico cell provider when the person from USA calls me on my Google Voice number and then CallCentric forwards that call to my Mexico Cell phone, which service am I using when I answer the call? Am I using my Mexico Cell provider? Or am I using Google Voice? Or CallCentric? Thanks in advance!

    • bajadock
      Posted September 1, 2016 at 22:42 | Permalink | Reply

      Good question. BOTH. I’m at 2.2 cents(USD) per minute on Call Centric forwarding to my Telcel phone. My Tecel rate is 200mnp/30days covering unlimited calls, texts, facebook. Call Cenric is forwarding to Telcel, so whatever you Tecel plan is, that is what your are paying. Got you confused enough? CHEERS

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 02:37 | Permalink | Reply

      I do not believe that Telcel charges you anything in this case. They treat it as a regular incoming call. They do not charge for incoming calls. The only charge is generated by the outbound part of the CallCentric service.
      CallCentric told me; “Also, looking at the provided screenshot we see that you are [forwarding] calls to Mexico often, please note that international [outbound] calling rates vary by country & phone type (mobile, landline, freephone, etc.). You find the rate for any number via the following link (http://www.callcentric.com/find/rate/).”
      It appears from that link that calls forwarded to a Mexican mobile phone incur a CallCentric charge of 2.2 cents (US) per minute.

  7. Posted September 1, 2016 at 12:28 | Permalink | Reply

    OK, fwiw. You probably said this in your post, but I just got it explained by CallCentric. As I am not distributing my ‘plan’ number I should have chosen a free (no monthly fee) New York number. Regards, Eric

  8. Posted September 28, 2016 at 05:15 | Permalink | Reply

    Only fair to report that in the end I found their service to be untenable, and cancelled it.

  9. Posted March 26, 2017 at 07:24 | Permalink | Reply

    Hi – I am sooo happy to find this post. I have been trying to figure out the two cell phone thing for years. I have Mexican telcel phone and T-mobile american phone number I want to port to google voice. Have a few questions regarding this process. Should I be setting up a CallCentric “IP Freedom Rate Plan”? Or a pay plan?? Also, should I be porting over my US phone number from Tmobile to google voice? And do I do this after I set up the Call Centric stuff?

  10. AR
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 15:24 | Permalink | Reply

    We are about to see a lot more people doing this as T-mobile is actively cracking down on ‘Extreme Roamers’ as they are calling them… people who are outside the US more than 50% of the time irrespective of having their ‘North America Unlimited’ plans…
    Here’s what the ‘message of death’ looks like: The last two months of your T-Mobile usage has been international roaming, which violates our terms & conditions. If you continue to roam extensively abroad over the next month your line could be canceled. See details: t-mo.co/roaming

    • bajadock
      Posted July 5, 2017 at 17:02 | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, thanks, as I have been reading about this past few months. Telcel also will limit or charge for roamers > 50%. I notice in USA that Telcel contracts with both AT&T and TMobile, as my phone shows which of those networks is servicing me in the 48. Great news is that competition and technology are bringing communication prices down. Hoping for breakthrough on internet voice-data-video availability/pricing next 3-5 years.

One Trackback

  1. By Telcel Sin Limite LIMITS « EXPAT in BAJA Mexico on November 14, 2016 at 10:15

    […] border types, the sin limite plans are smokin’ hot deals that cannot be beat.  Here is my July 2016 post on using Google Voice with Telcel so that USA callers can reach you in Mexico by calling your USA phone […]

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