How to Keep a U.S. Phone Number When Living in Italy

I don’t know how people survived living in a foreign country before all the technology we have today existed. Writing letters and short but expensive phone calls were the norm. Thank goodness that is no longer the case. We now have quite a few options to stay in touch with our friends and family stateside.

If you want to keep a U.S. phone number, you can use one of several different companies to do just that! Each of these businesses use your computer to route your phone calls to the United States at a lower cost than traditional phones.


Skype has become to the go-to service for cheap communication over long distances. Skype can be used to call either other skype users via computer or to call landline and cell phones. As long as you use your computer and skype to call another person with a skype account, there are no charges. Calls to land lines or cell phones can be made for just over a penny per minute.

There are several options with Skype. You can simply use your computer (“linking” it to another of your phone numbers in the account information) and purchase pay as you go credits. Typically you can purchase $10 worth of minutes and use it up as you make calls. You can have it recharged automatically, if you choose. Then you will never run out of minutes mid-call. A subscription lowers rates even further and can include unlimited minutes for less than $15 per month.

You can choose your phone number in most areas of the world.

Google Voice

Google is pretty much the king of all things internet. Google Voice operates through g-mail. If you have a computer browser on a device, you can use Voice on it.  Google provides you a google number. You can enter all your other numbers and receive calls on those lines, although international numbers are not currently supported. You can call computer to phone for free, as long as the number is in the U.S. or Canada. There are many features, such as call recording and conferencing that are available, as well.

Google Voice provides transcribed voice messages in your Gmail account. Your U.S. number can be ported to it. You may have different types of Voice accounts. These include the Google number, number porting and Google Voice Lite. The costs associated with the services vary.

Google Voice is a bit more complicated, but has the most features of these three companies.


All you need to use Vonage is high-speed internet, a home phone and the box Vonage provides. Vonage will allow you to choose your number or port a number you currently have to their services. Vonage has several levels of service. The U.S. only service is fairly inexpensive, but for the world plan it is a bit more. Vonage costs just under $30 per month for the World Plan in Fall 2013. There is no activation fee.

Vonage will email you a transcribed message each time someone leaves you a message. The transcribing is not always perfect and sometimes rather humorous. I like to see my messages as I am browsing my email.

The Vonage network is fairly stable. As long as you have decent internet service, Vonage will be available to use. If you have poor internet service, you will have trouble with your phone, though. I have Vonage service and like just calling from a phone, but this service costs a bit more than the others.


If you are in Italy, how do you stay in touch with people in the United States? Do you use any of these three? Let me know in the comment section!





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