JOFTAA provided this useful information 8 years, 3 months ago:

How to get a FREE U.S. Phone Number to Use in Germany

  • This is better than Skype. $Fee varies depending on service you use
  • This is better than NetTalk. $40 a year
  • This is better than Magic Jack. $30 - $40 a year depending on which service you use
  • This is better than Vonage. $26 per MONTH
  • This is better than Deutsche Telekom or TKS's "Country Flat" plan that is 3€ or more each month


This is better than any other service I have used. Period.

Imagine having a fully functional phone that behaves like it is in the U.S., while it is actually in Germany. Now imagine this costing you absolutely nothing. No monthly fee! No annual fee! No fee, period!

I have personally used this while in Germany, and continue to use it now.

Before I continue, here is the scenario...

You have orders to Germany (or perhaps you are already in Germany), and you want to be able to continue to receive calls from your family and friends. You also want to be able to call your family and friends. As a bonus, you will receive (also for FREE) a U.S. phone number. And, since your phone has a U.S. number, you can take advantage of toll free calls to 800 / 888 / 877 (etc.) numbers. So, shopping by phone is as easy as being at home, stateside.

Here is what you do.

1. Go to Google Voice. If you don't already have a Google account, set one up. It is free. If you do already have a Google account, go ahead and get yourself a phone number. You can choose the area code, and you can even customize your phone number. Nice, eh?! Google Voice now makes it mandatory to confirm a forwarding number which is stateside. If you are still stateside, this is not a problem. Just use your own stateside land line or cell number. Even if you cancel the number later, it doesn't matter because the number is only used once to verify you have a number for Google Voice to forward to. If you are already in Germany, ask a friend if you can use their number as a forwarding number. Your friend will need to answer the phone and enter a two digit code that you will provide. Once this is done, you never have to use that number again, so your friend has no worry about their phone ringing. All you need to do is make sure you remember to set that forwarding number not to ring in your settings. If you have any problems, please let me know. I am happy to assist you, as I have been using Google Voice in this manner for years.

Hint: If you are already in Germany, you can sign up for a VPN service, which will give you a U.S. IP address, which will in turn trick Google into thinking you are stateside, which will allow you to get a Google Voice phone number. 

2. Once you have your phone number, you can make calls directly from your computer.

If you don't want to rely on a computer being turned on to make and receive calls, you can setup an OBI adapter. An Obi adapter can be compared to having a phone jack in Germany that acts like it is in the U.S. By using the Obi adapter, you can have a telephone in your house that works just like your telephone, stateside. You will receive calls, make calls, have callerID, call waiting, etc., all for FREE. The only thing you pay for is the Obi adapter. Please support EverythingKMC. If you use one of the above links to purchase your Obi adapter, EverythingKMC gets a small commission. The Obi device pays for itself in just a few months! This does not add anything to your price. Thank you for your support.

I have the Obi adapter setup at my house, and use a cordless phone with it.

The beauty of Google Voice is that you can configure it (super easy to do!) to only ring during certain hours. That way, with the time difference between the U.S. and Germany, your phone won't ring while you are trying to sleep.

To see how easy it is to setup the Obi to work with Google Voice, check the end of this post.

Remember, you need to be using a router with your Internet service to make this work. Most people use a wireless router, anyway, so this is as easy as plugging the Obi adapter into your router.

Suppose you have a cell number that you want to keep. You can pay $20 to Google and they will take (port) your cell number from your cell carrier. This will allow you to keep your existing number for as long as you want. Make sure you call your cellular carrier prior to porting your number to Google to let them know what you are doing to avoid any kind of early cancellation penalty. Your cell carrier can simply issue you a new number to use.

If you have a land line that you wish to keep, you will have to port your land line number to your cell carrier, and then from your cell carrier to Google Voice. Google Voice does not port land line numbers as of this writing.

Note: The prices mentioned above are accurate as of the writing of this post. Each purchase using the link for the Obi adapter helps support this site.


+++++++++++++ Simple Obi Adapter Setup +++++++++++++</h3scenario<>



8 years ago

First, In learning the protocol for this site I don't know if I should ask JOFTAA offline or post here requesting help with my Google Voice. Lemme know what is appropraite.

Re: Google Voice - I did all the steps but the dang thing doesn't seem to work. Even had my wife who is still back home (and way smarter than me) try and help get it to call, but no joy!

Thanx!

8 years ago

Quote by Q Q Q Q:
First, In learning the protocol for this site I don't know if I should ask JOFTAA offline or post here requesting help with my Google Voice. Lemme know what is appropraite.

Re: Google Voice - I did all the steps but the dang thing doesn't seem to work. Even had my wife who is still back home (and way smarter than me) try and help get it to call, but no joy!

Thanx!


You can ask me. I don't bite.

8 years ago

OK... How do I get it to work?

8 years ago

Got my friend's to work this weekend, I had no need to delete the stateside number I used to set it up. Nary a problem. Set up a gmail account. Setup a Google Voice account...select number. Set up an Obitalk account. Link Obi to gmail account. In Google voice forward all calls to Google Chat. Deselect the number you used to set it up. Done.

8 years ago

Quote by Q Q Q Q:
OK... How do I get it to work?


Your question gives me absolutely no information as to what problem you are having.

8 years ago

When I dial from my handi here, or my wife dials my google voice number from her cell phone at home, which we set up before I left the US for germany, per your instructions, nothing happens.

So, the problem is, when I am signed on to google using the login I established specifically for G Voice, and the G Voice number is dialed, nothing happens on the google voice end. No ring, no message , no indication of an incoming call.

8 years ago

Quote by Q Q Q Q:
When I dial from my handi here, or my wife dials my google voice number from her cell phone at home, which we set up before I left the US for germany, per your instructions, nothing happens.

So, the problem is, when I am signed on to google using the login I established specifically for G Voice, and the G Voice number is dialed, nothing happens on the google voice end. No ring, no message , no indication of an incoming call.


This is because you didn't follow all of the instructions. You need the Obi adapter in order to receive calls. You're close, but not quite there.

I am not 100% sure of what you are doing incorrectly, but we'll figure it out. I am going to send you a private message with my cell number. If you call me at 8pm sharp (CET), I will be here to answer the call. I will gather more info and get you going.

7 years, 10 months ago

It looks like the OBi is an American device. We just put our phone in storage, heading over there the 27th. Will the Obi work with a German phone? I guess I am just wondering how you use a cordless phone with it? Do you have to keep the phones plugged in with transformers? What do you use for local calls, too? Thanks so much!

7 years, 10 months ago

Quote by starrlight97:
It looks like the OBi is an American device. We just put our phone in storage, heading over there the 27th. Will the Obi work with a German phone? I guess I am just wondering how you use a cordless phone with it? Do you have to keep the phones plugged in with transformers? What do you use for local calls, too? Thanks so much!


The Obi can be plugged into a Euro plug with just an adapter. No transformer required. Regarding using a German phone, there is no problem. The plug on a German phone is different than on a U.S. phone, but you can buy an adapter for the phone plug at Media Markt (in Kaiserslautern) for a few euro.

Regarding local calls, since you cannot get Internet without phone service, you would just use your German land line for local calls. Although, what I have already figured out is that it is cheaper a lot of times to use the International calling rate of Google Voice, than it is to use the German land line because not all calls are free.

Bottom line is that Obi will work in Germany with a German phone with the adapters.

7 years, 10 months ago

Is it possible to get the google voice calls forwarded to your German land line?

7 years, 10 months ago

Quote by starrlight97:
Is it possible to get the google voice calls forwarded to your German land line?


Yes. You will pay for the call. Currently the price is 2 cents per minute. Why would you want to do this?

7 years, 10 months ago

Oh. That's lame! :nono:

7 years, 10 months ago

Quote by starrlight97:
Oh. That's lame! :nono:


What is lame? If you forward a call from your home phone to Germany, is it free? Of course, not. If someone calls your GV number, and you forward the call to a foreign country, do you not expect to be charged for the call?

I'd like to help you with an alternative, so if you can tell me why you would want to forward your call to a German land line, I may be able to help you with an alternative solution. I can't even think of a reason why anyone would want to forward a GV number to a foreign number. But, like I said, tell me what you are trying to accomplish and I'll try to help you.

7 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, I guess maybe I am thinking about it backward. I just figured we would have a landline, like here in the states, for local calls, then just forward the overseas call to that phone, so we don't have to have two phones, one for each purpose.

7 years, 10 months ago

Quote by starrlight97:
Sorry, I guess maybe I am thinking about it backward. I just figured we would have a landline, like here in the states, for local calls, then just forward the overseas call to that phone, so we don't have to have two phones, one for each purpose.


I see what you mean. My setup is as follows:

1. We have a home phone line that we use for making and receiving local calls (Germany). We had to have a phone line to get Internet, anyway.
2. We have the Obi with Google Voice for making and receiving calls to/from the U.S.

We have a two line cordless phone. We have the German wall jack connected to line one of the cordless phone base, and the Obi connected to line two of the cordless phone base. When we are making calls within Germany, we just use line one. If we are calling the U.S., we use line two. When we receive a call, we just answer the line that is ringing.

For convenience, we have more than one handset. We keep one handset on the first level, and another handset on the second level of our house. You'll need an adapter (available at Media Markt in Kaiserslautern for a few euro) that allows you to use an American phone with a German phone jack. Depending on the phone you get, you may need to use a power transformer. Some cordless phones allow you to use 110v or 220v, so you'd only need a plug adapter. If you need to use a transformer, just buy the cheapest one you can find on RYS. You should be able to grab one for $20 or less. Or, you can always try the thrift shop.

Please note: If you buy the "Country Flat" plan from the phone company, it will cost you 4€ per month, which is currently (as of this writing) $5.36 per month, or $64.32 per year. The cost goes up and down with the price of the Euro, but you get the idea. This means the Obi will pay for itself within the first eight months! You don't see too many investments with this rate of return!

Also, this is a little trick I learned a while back. Find out what your cellular and land line carriers charge you to make calls from your house phone or your cell phone to a cell phone. When you call a cell phone, you have to pay for the call since the person receiving the call doesn't pay. I used to pay 15 cents per minute to call a cell phone from my German line. So, instead, I started using my Obi / Google Voice line and paid only 10 cents per minute! A savings of 33%!

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