I’m trying to use a US number on my cell phone here in Japan. My requirements are basic, but can’t quite get it right with the apps I’ve tried.
To be able to make and receive calls. This includes being able to do calls hands free (via speaker or using ear buds).
Having a call/message history.
ID verification from short numbers (like banks, credit cards).
Being able to reply to short numbers (e.g. enter BAL with a credit card to check my balance).
These are the ones I’ve tried and the pros and cons.
With a subscription, ID verification from short numbers works with most places. I tested with some U.S. credit card companies, and with my IRS account.
Texts to short numbers also works.
Good call history.
Show stopper: It’s completely unusable for voice call on an iPhone hands-free. If you attempt to use it on speaker or with the included Apple earbuds both sides can’t hear each other, there are volume problems, and a conversation is completely impossible. If you hold the phone up to your ear if it’s tolerable, but being able to use make calls hands free is really vital.
They decided to abandon their iPad app, so if you want to use Pinger on your iPad it will only work in portrait mode. In other words, if you run it while it’s in a keyboard case in landscape mode the app is sideways.
Support is not very responsive. In fact I have never once gotten a reply to a support request sent via the app. I will eventually get replies if I send support request via Zendesk.
Voice quality is good, even hands-free using the speaker or earbuds.
With a subscription ID verification from short numbers works with most places.
They have a proper iPad app.
Good call history.
Texts to short numbers is not supported. You get a “bad message” error if you try. This is the only one of the VoIP apps which support ID verification and short numbers which does not allow sending text to short numbers. I’m not sure if that is a show-stopper or not, but would be nice to have.
Support is the least responsive of the apps I’ve tried. Often they never end up responding.
(Updated info about TextNow below. I think I’ll use this one for now.)