How to get a phone number from another country

As we discuss in episode 20 with Lori, sometimes, to get a job abroad, you need a phone number in that country to be considered as a candidate.

Lori struggled because she wasn’t in the UK when she was looking for jobs, and the main factor was that she didn’t have a UK phone number to be reached out to.

Finding a job is not the only reason to have a VoIP (Voice Over IP) number.

What is a VoIP number?

You can think of a VoIP number as a phone number but instead of going through your regular carrier goes over the internet.
It’s like WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Skype. The only difference is that the person on the other side calls you from a typical phone instead of using an app.
They’d pick up the phone, dial your number, and the app on your phone will ring.

Why getting a VoIP?

You could have a VoIP number when you are looking for jobs abroad. Most recruiters won’t even consider you if you are not in the country. I’m not suggesting you should lie, but you could tell them that you are currently abroad, but you would be back soon 😉. At least you start getting phone calls.

Just keep in mind the time zone difference. It may be daytime where you want to move, but it’s the middle of the night in your country.

Another good reason to have a VoIP is to make free toll free calls. When you are abroad, you can’t call your bank using the 0800 (or similar) for free. Instead, you have to call a different number, which is NOT free.

I have 2 VoIP numbers, one for Italy and one for New Zealand. I don’t use them a lot, but when I have to call my bank or some government offices, I can use my VoIP and make free phone calls.

How much does it cost?

It depends, some are free, and some cost a few dollars a month. I prefer not to pay for it, but while I was doing some research for this post, I realized that some countries are more challenging than others to get free VoIP numbers.
For example, Canada and the US are not easy to find free services for VoIP numbers. UK, New Zealand, and Italy are much easier. The only problem is that the free services may be a bit more complex to configure on your phone.

I will cover that part later in this post.
If you don’t want to spend time looking for a VoIP service or don’t have the technical skills, your best option will be Skype.

Skype Number

Skype offers a phone number that people can call directly. They will call from their phone, and your Skype will ring. Skype offers this for less than $10 per month. If you are looking for jobs and only need a number for a short period, this is great.
You can get a Skype number directly from your phone app or by visiting the Skype website.

Skype settings

On the other hand, if you are looking to keep your number for longer, like me, I would highly recommend spending some time getting a free one instead.

The free options out there and how to find them

You can Google “free VoIP number country” or “free SIP number for country. ”
I know we haven’t discussed what a SIP is. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. It’s just the name of the protocol that VoIP services use. You don’t need to know what this is; just use it to find a free VoIP number.

The services I use or that I found that offer a free number

New Zealand

I use 2Talk. They also have an app for Android and iPhone, which makes it easier to configure your number.
At the time I write this article, their free plan is called Casual. You can find the prices at this page.

United Kingdom

For the UK, I found a service called Sipgate Basic  I never tried personally, but the website looks legit, and it seems to be free.
They don’t have their own app on the store, but you can use Zoiper Lite. I use Zoiper with my Italian phone number.

Italy

For my Italian phone number, I use CloudItalia Orchestra.  I’ve been using this service since I left Italy. My mum and I used to use it to call each other without spending a penny, or a cent of euro, I guess 🙂 
I’m kind of a geek, so before I left, I bought my mum a VoIP phone, which looks like a conventional cordless phone, but has Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. I did that, so it was easier for my mum to call me, and vice versa. I wanted to make my leaving as smooth as possible for her.
Anyway, let’s get back to CloudItalia Orchestra.
This service is also free, but with a twist. You have to pre-pay a certain amount to keep it active. You don’t need to use it, but you need to top it up once in a while to keep it active. The other downside is that the website is in Italian, so you need to use google translate.

UPDATE Oct 10 2021: CloudItalia Orchestra has been acquired by Irideos. The new plan is free for the first year, then becomes €4.99/year.

How to Configure your new VoIP number on your phone

Before moving forward, you should have already registered for your VoIP service, and you should have at least a username and password.
If the service you picked has its own app, download that and follow their instructions.
For any other service that doesn’t have an app, download the app Zoiper Lite (Free).

1. Open setting (Image 1.1)

2. Select Accounts (Image 1.1)

3. Add an account (Image 1.2)

Image 1.1
Image 1.2

The good thing about Zoiper is that it has the most common VoIP provider already built-in. Tap on “Select Provider” pick the country you got the number for, and search for your provider.
If it’s on that list, you can select it, and you’d be taken to the configuration page. Here you will insert your username, password, and caller ID. 


The Account name is just the name you want to give to your account. For example, suppose you have multiple accounts on your Zoiper app. In that case, you may call one UK number and one Canadian number.
Caller ID usually is the phone number they gave you.

At this point, you should be all good to go. Tap on *Register*, and you should then see “Registration Status: OK.”
If you don’t see it, you may have inserted the wrong details, or your provider needs more settings. In that case, I would double-check that your username and password are correct.
I would then visit my provider website in the support section.
Most providers have a guide on how to configure VoIP apps. Make sure that they don’t need extra servers name or specific ports number.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you have your VoIP number up and running (and for free).
Let me know in the comment what service provider you end up using and if you need help, email me at daniel@emigrantslife.com. I’ll do my best to help you out.

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