Author Topic: US sim card / US number for ex-pats?  (Read 649 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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US sim card / US number for ex-pats?
« on: November 19, 2018, 10:27:51 PM »
I just moved to Japan, and would like to have a stable number for US visits. I had service with Ting, but I didn't want to pay $6/month for the 11 months a year I'm not there. A US mobile number is handy for a lot of things, so I'd like to have solution. Any recommendations? Other options?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: US sim card / US number for ex-pats?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 11:24:14 PM »
Google Voice works well, but usually you have to set it up before you leave the US...


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: US sim card / US number for ex-pats?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2018, 01:06:33 PM »
Can't you just use a pay-as-you-go SIM? I had one when I lived in the USA and it was about $3/month (30 minutes/texts) and then I just added some money once in a while.

Not sure if there's any options without fees as I already struggled finding any carrier that wanted to sell me pay-as-you-go (apparently I'm an alien for not wanting to add data..).
Most US Pay as you go sim cards generally don't work outside the USA. Literally: they refuse to even connect to a network. (Compared to my EU sim cards that at least let you receive SMS's.)

Google Voice, as others have mentioned, is generally the best way - but you need to be in the US (or use a VPN) to create your account/number.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: US sim card / US number for ex-pats?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2018, 12:47:21 AM »
Who is your Japanese provider?  If you have Softbank, you can connect via the Sprint Network in the US.  Then you could just get a Vonage or similar number and use that Stateside. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: US sim card / US number for ex-pats?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 01:46:41 AM »
I'm currently in the UK on a work assignment, but I ported my US phone number to Google Voice for a one-time fee of $20. This allows my family and friends to still call or text my old number, and I can send texts/make free calls using the Hangouts app. I don't know if things have changed recently, but I did all that after moving here. The process may be different if you don't have an existing number that you want to port.

When we're visiting the States, I just pick up a new Ting SIM card and pay for another month of service. It doesn't matter what phone number I have it assign, because I can just set it as a forwarding number on my Google Voice account and have people continue to reach me using the same number they're used to.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: US sim card / US number for ex-pats?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 01:35:44 PM »
I just limit my use to WiFi when traveling.