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.
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).
- 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 #.
- Get a GSM unlocked phone and take it to a Telcel office to get your Telcel sin limite plan and chip install.
- Sign 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.
- You 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>>>
- 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.
Here is what the call, originating from USA, looks like:
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.