Month: October 2010

How to use your iPhone on the road without going broke

The problem many international roamers will find themselves in is that AT&T, in the vindictive punishment of customers they call “service”, will charge you overseas roaming rates when people leave messages on your voicemail. Yes, that’s right. The election-related robocall you get from fricking Leland Yee will cost you $5 or more. Thanks Leland. Thanks AT&T.

So really your choices are: disable international roaming, add a plaintive request on the outgoing message to NOT leave you a message, or a new solution: integrate Google Voice and get around AT&T entirely.

It’s simple:
1 Get yourself a Google Voice number.
2 Forward your real number to the Google Voice number*
3 Set up GV to send you either an email, a text or both when a message is received. Next time you have wifi, you can pick up your email and check your messages on the web. GV actually tries to transcribe them (with adorably weird results), so you may not even need to listen to it.

Since texts cost around 50ยข each to receive overseas (oh, how you suck AT&T), you might not want that as your first option. For my next trip, I plan on leaving instructions on my GV outgoing message telling people who need to contact me urgently to just send me a text.

This way, you can leave your iPhone (and international roaming) on for outgoing calls and texts while it is unavailable for incoming calls, saving you from having to pay all that extra money to AT&T.

*I imagine the next question is: forward my number? How the heck do I do that?! The internets to the rescue!

Go to the number pad and enter: *21*<yourGVnumber># then hit the call button
You will then see a long list of “Setting Activation Succeeded” messages.
When this is on, you will also see a little “arrow-phone” icon in the upper band next to the wifi signal strength icon.

To Cancel, just dial:
#21*# and hit the call button.
Another series of messages will show, and voila, your phone is back to normal