Need a US Phone Number Connected to German Phone Number

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
11,623
Berlin
Even though I live in Germany, a lot of life still happens in the USA. I still have US bank accounts, watch US TV, have to file US tax returns, etc. Often, these things require US telephone numbers for things like 2FA or even just to sign up for certain things where forms only hold the possibility of entering 10 digits.

I currently have a US phone number with a company called Sonetel. It costs me like $3.50 a month, and then they charge to patch phone calls through to me and for text messages. The problem is that the text messages pretty much never come through (making 2FA impossible), and their prices for calls from the USA to Germany literally just went up over 10000% (from $0.011 to $1.15/minute).

I can't use Google Voice in Germany, apparently. Can anyone else suggest a more reliable and hopefully more cost-effective solution?
 

Dollar

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2006
10,116
I used Google Voice for this exact purpose for three years in Germany and it worked like a charm. Have you tried it? It should be free to at least give it a shot, unless something has changed in the last couple years.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
11,623
Berlin
I used Google Voice for this exact purpose for three years in Germany and it worked like a charm. Have you tried it? It should be free to at least give it a shot, unless something has changed in the last couple years.
I tried again, but I need a US phone number to forward it to, which kinda defeats the point. When I try to set up with my German number to forward to, it says "Google Voice is only available in the United States. To use Google Voice, sign up with a US-based phone number."

It's possible I'm being dumb about something though.
 

Dollar

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2006
10,116
I tried again, but I need a US phone number to forward it to, which kinda defeats the point. When I try to set up with my German number to forward to, it says "Google Voice is only available in the United States. To use Google Voice, sign up with a US-based phone number."

It's possible I'm being dumb about something though.
I never had Google Voice linked/forwarded to a German number, I just used it as a standalone. You can use the Google Voice app to dial stateside numbers/800 numbers for free (or very cheaply), and any texts/voicemails to that number should get sent to your Gmail account. If you need those calls/texts to be forwarded through to your German number, then maybe it's not the perfect option.
 

Preacher

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 9, 2006
5,351
Harker Heights, TX
I never had Google Voice linked/forwarded to a German number, I just used it as a standalone. You can use the Google Voice app to dial stateside numbers/800 numbers for free (or very cheaply), and any texts/voicemails to that number should get sent to your Gmail account. If you need those calls/texts to be forwarded through to your German number, then maybe it's not the perfect option.
This has been my experience as well. Never tried to use it to forward calls to an international number but as a standalone app, it works pretty well. Texts, calls, voicemails, with notifications just like any other call or text or iMessage.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
11,623
Berlin
I never had Google Voice linked/forwarded to a German number, I just used it as a standalone. You can use the Google Voice app to dial stateside numbers/800 numbers for free (or very cheaply), and any texts/voicemails to that number should get sent to your Gmail account. If you need those calls/texts to be forwarded through to your German number, then maybe it's not the perfect option.
This has been my experience as well. Never tried to use it to forward calls to an international number but as a standalone app, it works pretty well. Texts, calls, voicemails, with notifications just like any other call or text or iMessage.
So when I just downloaded the Google Voice app though, it required me to enter a US phone number. Did you not need that when you had it, or did you get around that somehow?
 

gtmtnbiker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,355
I’m wondering if someone can get one of those MVNO places like Cricket to get a phone number for you and then port it to Google Voice? I did that years ago when we had a land line. By using an Obihai device, we had free land line service. We disconnected our land line but it’s still active. We get calls via emails. Same for texts.

https://support.google.com/voice/answer/1065667?hl=en
 

Murderer's Crow

Dragon Wangler 216
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
21,679
Garden City
It's possible I'm being a dumb dumb, but why can't you simply use one of the traditional US providers with an absolutely basic usage based plan on an unlocked phone which allows you to send/receive calls and texts via wifi?
 

Dollar

Member
SoSH Member
May 5, 2006
10,116
So when I just downloaded the Google Voice app though, it required me to enter a US phone number. Did you not need that when you had it, or did you get around that somehow?
Do you have a Google Voice number set up yet? https://fitsmallbusiness.com/get-a-google-voice-number/

edit: Okay I see what you're talking about... I don't remember doing this step but I must have done it years ago before I moved to Germany.

The next page will display your selected phone number. To complete the setup, link and verify your existing phone number where calls will be forwarded. You must use a cell or landline number based in the United States.

Once you’ve entered a number to link, Google Voice will send a code verification text with six digits to your phone. For landlines, you may opt to verify the number through a phone call. Once you receive the code, enter it in the space provided, and click “Verify” to complete your account setup.
One of these methods might work but I've never tried them: https://www.techbout.com/get-free-us-phone-number-from-any-country-57298/
 

gtmtnbiker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,355
It's possible I'm being a dumb dumb, but why can't you simply use one of the traditional US providers with an absolutely basic usage based plan on an unlocked phone which allows you to send/receive calls and texts via wifi?
Hmm, yes this might work if your phone/cell provider supports WiFi calling. Might have an issue in getting the service setup and activated if a new account unless someone in the US can do it and mail you the card.

https://www.t-mobile.com/support/coverage/wi-fi-calling-from-t-mobile
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 30, 2004
11,623
Berlin
Well, I feel like a little bit of a heel. I found out why I am not getting any text messages sent through. Apparently I had a negative balance on my account. I just put some money in, and the service I had amazingly started working again.

They also offered to route calls from the US through the UK, so that lowers the price back to something more like 1 cent/minute again.

Thanks for all of your suggestions everyone.