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Old 11-07-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
dak125
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,348
Exclamation How to receive calls while in Costa Rica, when people call US number?

I may be spending a nice chunk of time in Costa Rica this winter. The catch is that I would work remotely the entire time. Cell and email connectivity are vital. The email part isn't an issue, but I am concerned with the best way to handle phone calls.

I will be staying at my friend's house where WiFi is available. From the research I have done, Talkatone may be my best option. It will make use of my Google Voice number (a Chicago number), but it also ties me to locations that only have WiFi. I'm also concerned about the quality of the calls.

So I'm looking for another option. I'm a Sprint customer and they're at $1.99 a minute, which is cost prohibitive.

Really, what's important:

1) A US based number.
2) Solid cell coverage.
3) Reasonable cost.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
pm
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When I was in Costa Rica in the spring, I bought a GSM compatible phone (a Samsung Galaxy S2 i777), unlocked it, and then bought an ICE (Costa Rican cell phone company) SIM card at the airport. At San Jose airport, there's a ICE booth next to the international baggage claim - get the SIM there, the booth seems to offer data plans that are a bit cheaper than what you can get at the ICE booths outside of the airport.

That gave me 3G data and I was pleasantly surprised with both the price (I spent $20 and used less than half of that) and the service coverage and speed. It worked ok for 3G calls over VOIP as long as I had 3 bars or better.

For calls, our main phone service for our house goes through Callcentric.com so they have an app, so I just unplugged the home phone and ran the Callcentric app on my SGS2 and it seemed to work pretty well. Callcentric didn't charge anything extra for this and for calls it looked like I was calling from our home phone to people that I called and if people called our home phone here in Colorado, it just ran on the app down there. The only real downside was battery life - running the app noticeably reduced the battery life of the SGS2, so I ended up carrying around a double-sized SGS2 battery (got it off of Amazon for ~$20) that came with a custom battery plate for the back of the phone. So the phone was heavier and bulkier, but I had full internet throughout Costa Rica and had a US number and all worked well.

Last edited by pm; 11-07-2012 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:33 PM   #3
ArJuN
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Call up Sprint before you travel and tell them to disable text messages on your account and enable international roaming. Make sure to turn the mobile network option off on your phone so apps aren't sipping data while you're out of the country.

When you get to Costa Rica, just have your contacts call your cell number normally. As soon as they do, call them back from a local phone. When we travel, we do this exclusively. We bring a Vonage and a magicjack to return the phone calls with a US a number. We could receive calls on those too, but can't guarantee they will always be connected to the internet. Using our cell phones to receive calls make it so that none ever get missed.

It's not what you asked for, but this method has worked for flawlessly on 10+ occasions overseas. Plus it saves the hassle of having to give out a new number to people.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
dak125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm View Post
When I was in Costa Rica in the spring, I bought a GSM compatible phone (a Samsung Galaxy S2 i777), unlocked it, and then bought an ICE (Costa Rican cell phone company) SIM card at the airport. At San Jose airport, there's a ICE booth next to the international baggage claim - get the SIM there, the booth seems to offer data plans that are a bit cheaper than what you can get at the ICE booths outside of the airport.

That gave me 3G data and I was pleasantly surprised with both the price (I spent $20 and used less than half of that) and the service coverage and speed. It worked ok for 3G calls over VOIP as long as I had 3 bars or better.

For calls, our main phone service for our house goes through Callcentric.com so they have an app, so I just unplugged the home phone and ran the Callcentric app on my SGS2 and it seemed to work pretty well. Callcentric didn't charge anything extra for this and for calls it looked like I was calling from our home phone to people that I called and if people called our home phone here in Colorado, it just ran on the app down there. The only real downside was battery life - running the app noticeably reduced the battery life of the SGS2, so I ended up carrying around a double-sized SGS2 battery (got it off of Amazon for ~$20) that came with a custom battery plate for the back of the phone. So the phone was heavier and bulkier, but I had full internet throughout Costa Rica and had a US number and all worked well.
Thanks for the response. To confirm, Callcentric works via VOIP, not through a traditional cell service, correct? I would still need to be near Wifi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArJuN View Post
Call up Sprint before you travel and tell them to disable text messages on your account and enable international roaming. Make sure to turn the mobile network option off on your phone so apps aren't sipping data while you're out of the country.

When you get to Costa Rica, just have your contacts call your cell number normally. As soon as they do, call them back from a local phone. When we travel, we do this exclusively. We bring a Vonage and a magicjack to return the phone calls with a US a number. We could receive calls on those too, but can't guarantee they will always be connected to the internet. Using our cell phones to receive calls make it so that none ever get missed.

It's not what you asked for, but this method has worked for flawlessly on 10+ occasions overseas. Plus it saves the hassle of having to give out a new number to people.
Thanks for your response as well. I like this concept, and if the calls I were fielding were solely related to friends and family then it would be a great solution. The problem is that I'll be receiving work related calls and every additional step that would be required for someone to reach me would decrease my success (job related).

It would be sweet if I could forward my Google Voice number to an international number (Costa Rica).
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:19 PM   #5
pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dak125 View Post
Thanks for the response. To confirm, Callcentric works via VOIP, not through a traditional cell service, correct? I would still need to be near Wifi?
It works via VOIP over ICE's 3G data service (as long as you are 3 bars or better), so no, you don't need to be near WiFi.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
dak125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm View Post
It works via VOIP over ICE's 3G data service (as long as you are 3 bars or better), so no, you don't need to be near WiFi.
Great info, thanks.

Can you advise on which plan you use from Callcentric?
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