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Author Topic: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android  (Read 1822 times)

app103

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I purchased a new mobile phone and moved my sim card to it, so that I can use the T-Mobile service I am paying for, with the new phone.

But I still have my old mobile phone (Moto G3), now without any sort of carrier, service, or phone number that would allow me to make or receive calls on it.

What I am looking for is an Android app/service that would give that phone a new life, with a new number and allow making/receiving real phone calls over wifi only, without the need for the phone to be attached to a traditional non-wifi carrier. It would be used for US calls, only, no international usage.

What I don't want is a service that will require me to pay per minute or buy an allotment of minutes in advance, or require me to view ads or complete offers to earn credits that can be spent to make/receive calls. (I don't have time for that nonsense). I also am not looking for texting, video calls, text chatting, or any other frills (if the service comes with it, fine, but I don't need it and won't use it). I just need voice calling. I also don't want something that would require others to have and use the same app, in order to "call" me. (there's no shortage of apps that can do that, including Facebook, Skype, and a bunch of others) I also do not want ads on my lock screen or unexpected ad popups.

I don't mind paying a cheap fee, around $20 to $30 per year, but am against paying anything much more than that, as I don't expect to use it very much.

Basically, I am looking to turn the old phone into something that has a phone number that only works at home or if I am somewhere where I can connect to some sort of wifi, including free wifi.

Google Voice is out, since your phone has to have an existing phone number to set it up on your phone, and all incoming calls would get forwarded to that number, rather than to my currently numberless phone, and all outgoing calls would require an existing carrier to provide the voice minutes that would be used. Since this phone is no longer connected to a traditional carrier, I can't do that.

mwb1100

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2018, 01:21 PM »
Skype has a US calling option with unlimited minutes for $3 per month.  However, it's not clear to me if this also provides you with a phone number so people can all you (called a "Skype Number") or if that's something you have to pay separately for. 

Disclaimer: I haven't used Skye in years, and Skype gives very little information about these features without having an account.

Deozaan

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2018, 05:52 PM »
Google Voice/Hangouts should still work after the initial setup (on any device).

I've been using my Google Voice number for about 10 years, and use Hangouts to make and receive calls, but haven't had "phone service" with any mobile provider for the last 2-3 years. In fact, I don't even really have a phone anymore. I use Hangouts on my computer, or even make do with Hangouts on my tablet when I'm away from my PC.



As for Skype, it has been many years since I used it (probably about 10 years, since I stopped needing it when I got a phone and Google Voice), but back when I did use it, I believe it cost about $30/year to call anywhere in the USA and another $30/year for a phone number so people could call me. $60 per year seemed like a bargain even back then when the alternative was to get a land line for $35+/mo or a mobile phone plan for $50+/mo.

kalos

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2018, 06:15 PM »
WhatsApp

Shades

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 06:16 PM »
@app103
Don't know how the situation in the US is, but here in PY I got a prepay sim card and I am using that for more than 10 years now and the last time I "charged" it with call minutes is almost 2 years ago. My phone receives voice calls normally and I can make/receive voice calls through WiFi (WhatsApp).

The reason I don't charge my phone with money anymore is that I hardly make voice calls and on the moments I needed to It was always without "saldo" (as they call it here), because telco's here charge you for commercial messages they send to you. After deciding that such a game isn't worth playing at all, I just stopped charging my phone with "saldo" and see where I end up. I receive much less commercial messages and till now no message that the sim card will be taken out of service if I don't put "saldo" on the phone.

Sim-only pre-paid numbers are not available to you? It might worth a try to find that out, because that would seem to me the simplest way to keep using your old phone well within budget and with luck even free.

This article on How-to-geek, might prove to be useful as well.

app103

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 07:38 PM »
This article on How-to-geek, might prove to be useful as well.


From the first line of the article:

If you’re on a carrier that supports it,

Which means your phone has to have existing service, and a number, which this phone doesn't have.


Basically, any of those apps will let you make calls over Wi-Fi, but they won’t use your actual phone number, nor will they call out to a traditional phone in most cases. Instead, you’ll actually place calls from account to account; for example, if you use Facebook Messenger, you actually just “call” the person on their Facebook account instead of putting in a phone number. The same goes for free Skype accounts, though you can pay money to call normal phone numbers.

That's not what I need. I want to make & receive real phone calls, with a real phone number. I don't want instant messaging. And Skype makes you prepay for minute credits, which is required for making/receiving normal calls. If you run out in the middle of a call, you get cut off.

Google Hangouts and Voice are other exceptions—they essentially work together to make calls. You’ll need a Google Voice number, as well as the Hangouts Dialer to make calls, in which case you should be able to call out to any traditional phone number. The problem will come when you want to receive calls using these tools—you’ll have to do quite a bit of extra setup for that.

But they don't explain the setup process or link to any instructions. :(

@Deozaan, how do you receive normal phone calls without a number for Google Voice to forward your calls to? And how do you make normal phone calls without cell service that it can use its minutes for? How do you call a business? Or how do you receive calls from your doctor?

From the Google Voice app page:

Keep in mind:
• Google Voice is currently only available in the US
• All calls made using Google Voice for Android use the standard minutes from your cell phone plan
• Calls are placed through a US-based Google Voice access number, which may incur costs (e.g. when traveling internationally)

4wd

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 08:05 PM »
CSIPSimple from the Play Store and a number from a VoIP provider, I use Twilio.

app103

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2018, 10:37 PM »
CSIPSimple from the Play Store and a number from a VoIP provider, I use Twilio.


Can you tell me a little more about the Twilio side of things? Exactly what do I need to sign up for or buy, and roughly how much would it all cost (monthly, yearly?)

4wd

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 02:33 AM »
Can you tell me a little more about the Twilio side of things? Exactly what do I need to sign up for or buy, and roughly how much would it all cost (monthly, yearly?)

I've got it mostly for a presence in the USA for verification but the simple costs are shown here Pay-as-you-go Phone Number pricing

Local Number: $1/month
Call costs are based on the terminating/orignating number location, there's two CSV files at that link that pretty comprehensively list all locations, (including overseas), by phone prefix.

Originating (outgoing):  Generally USA Zone 1 seems to be $0.007/min
Terminating (incoming): $0.0085/min Voice, $0.0075/SMS, $0.01/MMS

By default the numbers are enabled for Voice, Fax, SMS, MMS, and outgoing calls to USA numbers only.

I just created an account and deposited $20 which gives me a phone number for 20 months, (less if I use it for calls/SMS naturally, since costs will be deducted from that $20).

SMS logs are kept in your account so you can view any received/replies, for example:

2018-05-21 17_14_46-Microsoft Edge.pngWanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android

Note: Haven't had it long, I'm still playing around with it to see what I can do.  Used to have an Australian VoIP but they were a little expensive in comparison.  Short version, it was cheap enough so that I'd have 20 months to work out what I wanted it for ;D

They have free trial accounts if you want to have a play: Try Twilio

There's also comprehensive API docs available if you want to create your own application.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 02:40 AM by 4wd »

Deozaan

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 03:41 AM »
@Deozaan, how do you receive normal phone calls without a number for Google Voice to forward your calls to? And how do you make normal phone calls without cell service that it can use its minutes for? How do you call a business? Or how do you receive calls from your doctor?

I haven't actually used Google Voice (the app or website) in a long time. It's all done through Hangouts.

Anybody who dials my Google Voice number just rings straight to Hangouts on my PC or on my Tablet (or Wi-Fi connected phone back when I had one). And when I make a call using Hangouts it shows on caller ID as coming from my Google Voice number. I can also send and receive texts on Hangouts using my Google Voice number.

Of course, this means I need to have an internet connection to make and receive calls/texts. But if I am not at my PC or otherwise don't have a connection, it will still ring to voicemail which Google Voice (the service) will transcribe and email me and it will also show up in Hangouts for me once I'm connected again.

It has been a long time since I set it all up, so I can't remember the exact process. But it goes something like this:

  • Go to Google Voice and get a number. Note that this will probably require an actual working phone number for the initial setup.
  • Get Hangouts on Android and/or as a Chrome Extension on PC. On Android you may also need the Hangouts Dialer.
  • From there, make sure to run everything once and if it doesn't just work or guide you through the process, then just look through the settings/options for a way to link Google Voice and Hangouts.

After initial setup, you never really have to use Google Voice (the app) or Hangouts Dialer ever again. In fact, I don't think installing the Google Voice app is even required at all. You just need to use the same Google account for both Google Voice and Hangouts.

This is what it looks like on my PC when I want to make a call:

Hangouts Extension.jpgWanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android

Clicking "New conversation" on the left panel will show what you see on the right panel. Clicking the phone icon will show the image below:

Hangouts Extension Dialer.jpgWanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android

Here you can type in the name or number of anyone in your contacts list or just the number you want to dial (even if it's not in your contact list) and it will give you the option to call or SMS that number.

Or if you already have sent/received calls/texts from a number before, you can open it from the left panel just like an IM conversation and just write stuff to send SMS or click a phone icon to make a call.

P.S. Sorry about the huge ugly black borders on those images. I forgot that JPG doesn't handle transparency and I added drop shadows to the images in Screenshot Captor before converting to JPG.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 03:57 PM by Deozaan »

app103

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 03:42 PM »
Thanks @Deozaan

Had to follow this, but I got it working! (required a 3rd phone to test it)  8)

So, now I have a mobile phone and a fake landline.

I'll hold off on Twilio for now, since this works.

wraith808

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2018, 04:09 PM »
That was the approach I was thinking also Deo. 

Idle offtopic wish: That the at-sign did actually signal you in some way on this forum...  it would definitely be a help to bring people into a conversation or signal the person.

app103

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2018, 04:40 PM »
Idle offtopic wish: That the at-sign did actually signal you in some way on this forum...  it would definitely be a help to bring people into a conversation or signal the person.

It's become somewhat of a habit for me to do that, due to using a Discourse forum at work. (but I still hate Discourse and prefer SMF)

Maybe mouser can add a plugin for mentions?

wraith808

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2018, 04:54 PM »
Idle offtopic wish: That the at-sign did actually signal you in some way on this forum...  it would definitely be a help to bring people into a conversation or signal the person.

It's become somewhat of a habit for me to do that, due to using a Discourse forum at work. (but I still hate Discourse and prefer SMF)

Maybe mouser can add a plugin for mentions?

I added a feature request for it (it is also one of the few things that I like from Discourse - the other being likes and automatic image grabs/expansions)

Stephen66515

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Re: Wanted - Free (or cheap) wifi calling app for Android
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2018, 04:56 PM »
That was the approach I was thinking also Deo. 

Idle offtopic wish: That the at-sign did actually signal you in some way on this forum...  it would definitely be a help to bring people into a conversation or signal the person.

Bug mouser about it - the feature exists for SMF and I've tried to get him to add it (to no avail) haha - Perhaps if more people annoy him, he will do it :D