Best Cell Phone Options for American Expats Living Abroad.
By Al Ambrose
If you are contemplating moving overseas and becoming an Expat, one of the most crucial issues is how you will communicate with your friends and family or work in a new country. We have determined the best options for Expats who would like to keep their cell phone number the same as they travel around the world. We have also found the best option for Expats who would like to get a new business or personal cell phone number.
Assuming that you are leaving America, the best phone plan that offers you the greatest worldwide coverage is the Unlimited Plus plan from Google FI. Google FI operates in more than 200 countries around the world. Google FI has shared relationships for cell coverage in many countries. If you are outside the US and Canada, you will be charged a $0.20 per minute fee to talk on the phone. However, there are no charges when using Wi-Fi data to talk if you are using the Wi-Fi where you are located. Typically, Google FI phone plans are cheaper than any international phone plans on the market. You will save hundreds of dollars a month if you are diligent about only using your phone to talk when around Wi-Fi and limiting your outside communications when not around Wi-Fi. TURN OFF YOUR DATA, USE Wi-Fi AND TURN ON AIRPLANE MODE ON YOUR CELL PHONE ALWAYS!
The call clarity it's superb when you are away from Wi-Fi, but depending on the stability of the internet Wi-Fi where you are, you may notice some changes in the clarity. You can easily port your phone number from any carrier over to Google FI by simply purchasing a Google FI SIM card for about $7.99 to $12.99 and following the steps when registering online. Google FI customer service is excellent, they are prompt and try to answer any question you have and assist you to get started asap. Individual phone plans start at $65 a month for the Unlimited Plus calling and data in the USA. Family plans are quite reasonable and at the time of this posting, a family of 4 pays about $160 for an Unlimited Plus phone plan. The Unlimited Plus plan allows you to make your overseas calls. For additional savings, use our promo code 5W84EH to get $20 off of your first month's bill. This is a top-rated cell phone plan.
The second option, if you would like an additional number or port your current phone number, is Magic Jack and the Magic Jack app you can download the Magic Jack app for free but there is a $49.99 to $59.99 per year charge to use the Magic Jack. The Magic Jack app is not a standalone option, it will require that you have a cellphone that can connect to Wi-Fi or have a data plan from another cell phone carrier when not near Wi-Fi. This will allow you to have an additional option for a business telephone number or another personal telephone number when traveling or relocating overseas.
The most important thing to remember about setting up the Magic Jack is to make sure that you buy it in your home country and set it up before you leave. The Magic Jack will need to be registered in your home country first before you can travel abroad with it, and this also applies to the Magic jack app. Calls are free, but there are additional fees for international calling if you do not use Wi-Fi. Currently, I use it as my backup. The call clarity is quite good in most scenarios. Often times people say that I sound like I have not left the country. Other times based on the internet connection I sound like Max Headroom. Those of you who grew up in the 80s know exactly what I'm talking about. The bottom line is that the Magic Jack and the Magic Jack app are viable options for communications when traveling overseas and living abroad.
Some additional things you may need are extension cords and power converters for your laptop and electronics because most countries use 220 to 240 volts outlets and if you have any electronic devices bought in the USA you need converters because they use 120 volts. This is relevant because you will need to plug your Magic Jack device into your computer and bring a cordless phone with a charging base to use your phone overseas. Your Magic Jack app, of course, we'll work simply on your cellphone. The two best recommendations for connectivity when traveling overseas and living in your new Expat country are Google FI and Magic Jack. TURN OFF YOUR DATA, USE Wi-Fi AND TURN ON AIRPLANE MODE ON YOUR CELL PHONE ALWAYS! This is done to avoid large phone bill charges.
Warning: If you are out of the country for more than two months consecutively, your data can be cut off my Google Fi.
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