Phone and Text VoIP (Voice over IP) apps

I dug in some trying to find the best app to use here in Japan for a U.S. number, including support for short numbers and ID verification. There is stuff of interest to residents of the U.S. and Canada also I think. Please check it out if you are interested. Thanks.


Hi Doug, thanks for the read and steer to Pinger. As a blended Irish/American family which has found itself outside the US more often than inside we too have used these services. I did set up Google Voice while in the US and had a US cell to activate at the time. However now exclusively use GV within the App, no forwarding needed and it works fine, I use for texting mainly and as a number when I am in the US or for those services who can’t cope with non-US numbers. Managed to get the same GV number as my Irish cell phone number bar the area code which is handy. You have to use it at least once a year to keep it.

Thanks again for the steer to Pinger/Text Free, worth checking out.

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Thanks @doug2, that’s a very useful guide. I’ve looked for this sort of thing in the past and not had much luck. Great to have the details and your recommendations.

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I’m also in Japan (specifically the Kanto Plain, what about you?), so I really appreciate your rundown of these apps. For over a decade, I’ve been using Skype (non-subscription) to call outside of Japan, while using a couple of US toll free numbers to make it easy for my family to call me. However, the toll free numbers cost more than the price you’re paying for Pinger Pro, so I’m very interested. Additionally, the quality of Skype calls has been spotty, sometimes really clear and sometimes broken, so I’m hoping to find something that provides better quality VoIP calling.

One question: You say in the linked page that you “switched to Pinger today just because it sounds nicer.” What about Pinger makes you prefer it versus TextFree?

Hi, Ted. Yes, I’m in the Kanto region - in Tokyo.

I’ve used the app for calls since posting my review and it seems to work well so far. I’ve used it for text messages for several years.

Pinger and TextFree are the same app. There’s a link in my article where the developer talks about why there are two differently-named apps. What I meant was that the app name “Pinger” just sounded nicer to me than the name “TextFree” so I deleted TextFree and download Pinger and everything was the same except for the name. Same number, same credentials, same call history, same saved voicemails.

It shouldn’t make any difference which one you use.

Also please note that if texting with short numbers and getting things like U.S. bank ID verifications don’t matter to you, and if you don’t mind the ads, and you don’t need voicemail transcriptions, you can use Talkatone (different company) completely free and for making calls, receiving calls, and sending and receiving texts it works just fine.