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International text workaround

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by duff beer, Dec 10, 2018.


  1. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    Winnipeg
    I'm looking for some guidance from computer and phone tech savvy people.

    On Friday I'm going to Mexico for a week with my girlfriend (we are Canadian) and we both plan on leaving our cell phones at home, mainly to prevent loss or theft but also because texting and phone calls are ridiculously expensive. However, I'm taking my old Samsung S5 (loaded with 1000 songs) and a Bluetooth speaker so we can have some music and will also use it to check emails and for possible occasional internet access as the resort has WIFI.

    The S5 is no longer connected to a network but I'd also like to be able to check text messages with it via internet or email as my girlfriend has an almost deaf 85-year old father who primarily communicates via text, and she'll feel more comfortable if she can keep in touch with him.

    I've done some searches and Pushbullet and Airdroid seem to be possible solutions. Does anyone have any experience with these apps or other suitable apps, or any advice that they can share? I'm not looking for a long term solution or the ability to transfer large pics or files...I just want to be able to read or send the occasional text via WIFI on my old smart phone.
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    How about a burner phone? All current features and apps but if you lose it or it's stolen, just buy another one.:thumbsup:
     
    MJ5150 likes this.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I haven't used either app you mentioned, but I just looked them over at a high level.
    WhatsApp and Voxer are good apps for texting via WiFi. Neither of those will handle SMS messages sent via your regular carrier though. They should be viewed more as the communication app to be used for this Mexico trip.

    -Mike
     
  4. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    Winnipeg
    I don't want to buy a burner...I'm looking for a free way to use an old phone with no data plan to text via internet.

    I'll check out those apps. All I want is to be able to view and send a text through internet on an existing phone that has no data plan and no carrier. I'm hoping for a free short term solution.
     
  5. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I think imessages on iPhones would be the only way that'll work over wifi only. I'm not sure there'll be a way to send actual text messages the same way on an android. But there are lots of popular messaging apps like what's app. She can download one on her dad's phone. My mom uses it and if she can, anyone can.
     
    MJ5150 likes this.
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Yep.
    We have friends who live in Bolivia. Due to limited funds and cell coverage in their area, we use WhatsApp.
    It's separate, and doesn't sync with the texts (SMS messages) I send and receive from other users, but it's a free way for us to stay in touch and is instant like texting.

    A good question to ask of you @duff beer, do you understand the difference between text messages (SMS over cell services) you would normally send/receive on a mobile device and apps like WhatsApp?
    I don't mean to insult your intelligence if you have a clear grasp of the technology. I just want to be sure we're on the same page as we discuss the options.

    -Mike
     
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Do either of you and her dad have old Apple devices?

    I despise them. But, my work phone is an Apple. And I'm able to "text" back and forth with my kids on their iPods (as well as Facetime) as long as they're on wi-fi.
     
  9. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Yah. Basically there are a million free and easy ways to do this but not with a phone number unless she and her dad are both on iphones.
     
  10. Gorn

    Gorn

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Actually there are wifi calling apps so that would work but it wouldn't come from her phone number. It would be a randomly generated number.
     
  11. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Google Voice FTW!

    -Mike
     
  12. Goatrope

    Goatrope

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I use WhatsApp all the time with my friends in Mexico and Europe. I use WeChat for my friends in China, and Line for Japan.

    On WhatsApp I’ve use the call feature quite a bit, but mainly just send texts.

    Edit to add: I’ve also used a pocket Wi-Fi for coverage out and about overseas.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  13. Anyone use both Viber and WhatsApp? Don't know much but gotta start using one soon. Those are my two options given the situation, so just wondering if I should skip one.
     
  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I was thinking about this more, and remembered you'll need a phone number for WhatsApp. There's a workaround to do so without a phone number, but it will require some technical skills to run through the process.

    -Mike
     
  15. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    The risk of loss and theft is everywhere. Why don't you simply change you plan to cover the time you will be in Mexico? My sister-in-law changed her plan just before she left and returned to her original plan right after she was back home.
     
    Alik likes this.
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    When my family traveled overseas, some of us had "unlocked" GSM cell phones. When we landed at our destination, we found a store in the airport where we could buy a cheap pay-as-you-go SIM card. This got us phone, texting, and data, for the duration of our trip. I think if you don't want to use data, you can either find a cheaper SIM or just ignore the data feature.

    I'd look into what the cheap services are in Mexico. We were easily able to find out what service to look for in the country we visited, all the way down to the exact location of the store. In some cases you can order the SIM stateside and bring it with you, but it's probably a bit late for that.
     
  17. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Montreal, QC
    Agreed. It shouldn't cost much to buy a temporary international plan, especially if you're traveling between Canada/Mexico/US. Aside from texting, the OP might want to be able to take advantage of internet/Google Maps. On international trips, Google Maps has been a life saver for me.
     
  18. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    Winnipeg
    Thanks for all the tips folks. Rather than installing an app and showing him how to use it, my girlfriend synced her dad's email to his phone. He's already familiar with email so there's no learning curve, and now she can keep in touch with him via email while we're out of the country.

    We're only in Mexico for a week so that will do as a short term solution. We're also spending a month in Florida in February and at that time we'll find a cheap phone/text/data plan.
     
    MJ5150 likes this.
  19. pedroims

    pedroims

    Dec 19, 2007
    Michigan
    There are several plans with unlimited talk-text between Mexico-US-Canada.

    Check your service provider, you might be able to find an add on plan for very little money. I pay $5 per month to have unlimited calls and text to Mexico
     
    Goatrope likes this.
  20. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    Winnipeg
    International plans up here are terrible. $7 a day is about average just to text from the US to Canada for example, some plans will let you for $40 or $50 a month. Most people who travel for extended periods simply buy sim card in the US.
     

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