While traveling long-term we would like a convenient way of getting calls from Canada by having a portable local number which we can take with us. We would give this number to banks, credit card companies, insurance, etc, so it has to be an ordinary phone number to them.

A cellular phone does this where roaming is available but is extremely expensive to us. So instead, we are looking for some kind of portable voice-over-IP service which we would connect whenever there is an internet connection, preferable via WiFi, but wired solutions are OK. It would be great if it also came with some kind of cloud voice-mail service, so that people can leave messages while the device is not connected or we cannot answer.

Basically, we are looking for the equivalent of a land-land phone service that we can travel with! This can be a combination of a service and device which would pay for regularly.

Does this exist? If so, where are the options and differences between them?

  • 2
    Is an equivalent of SkypeIn acceptable?
    – JonathanReez
    Mar 12, 2016 at 16:42
  • @JonathanReez - Not sure how that woks. Can it call to a phone? I rarely travel with a computer.
    – Itai
    Mar 12, 2016 at 18:09
  • The reference to long-term travel makes this sound more like a question for Expatriates than here. Mar 13, 2016 at 4:13
  • @DavidRicherby - My intuition is that the difference is that travel is to keep moving while expats for for people moving to a new country.
    – Itai
    Mar 13, 2016 at 17:47

3 Answers 3


Not quite sure why would you need a special device. Anveo (which I use) or voip.ms and a VoIP app on your smartphone/tablet/laptop (I am using Zoiper) will do just fine. A Canadian number costs less than two dollars.

I use this setup both inside and outside of Canada and it works.

  • That is interesting. I'll take a look, if it works with a smartphone, then that's the device and I'm OK with that :)
    – Itai
    Mar 12, 2016 at 18:10
  • 1
    This answer gave me some good hints and with some research figured out some details. I'm inclined to accept it but it would be nice if you filled out the implied bits: That an existing device can be used if there is an app which supports the same protocol (IAX, SIP, possibly others?) as the phone-number/service provider. Maybe cover a few of the protocols if they have differences in support, coverage, availability.
    – Itai
    Apr 6, 2016 at 13:43
  • And how is that travel subreddit :) ? There not that many SMS receive capable VoIP providers neither there are many VoIP apps on Android so the space to research is small. I gave you my recommendation what else should I do?
    – user4188
    May 8, 2016 at 0:20

Sure, any Canadian VoIP provider will do. Getting a brand new Canadian phone number from your selected provider will be the easiest, and you can be all set up in minutes (if you use a software phone). Most providers will also support porting your existing Canadian phone number from a non-VoIP provider (takes a little longer to set up due to paperwork/authorization to port; may incur extra fees).

I don't want to recommend specific providers, but you can easily find lists by searching.

You can also use a traditional phone via a hardware adaptor or an actual IP phone (connects through ethernet) if you find it cumbersome to use your PC for phoning.

The VoIP providers don't require that you use the service from within Canada. In some cases it might be easier if you use a Canadian physical address (which can get registered as the 911 location for the phone number) and/or a Canadian credit card.

  • Good to know. I saw that list earlier but it was not clear at all that they did not have to be tied to a physical address. I won't have a computer usually, so I would need the adapter. What is that called?
    – Itai
    Mar 12, 2016 at 18:13
  • That is called an ATA.
    – user4188
    Mar 12, 2016 at 21:45

There is one more option which is not covered by the other two valid answers but is the one I chose to go with in the end, so it may help others too.

There is a device called MagicJack which interfaces with a wired network via Ethernet or USB and has a telephone port. It acts as an end-point for VoIP calls. The nice thing about it is that it provides an end-to-end service. You pay a fee (currently $39 USD + shipping) and get the device plus one year service which includes unlimited calls to Canada and the US for a whole year. There is a $10 anual fee to get a Canadian or US number. Following that, it cost $36 USD per year or $120 for 5 yrs.

This is cheaper than regular Canadian VoIP provides but more expensive than Anveo, unless you truly use the line a lot. With MagicJack, the cost is fixed, so no need to worry about budgeting. After looking into this for a while, I discovered a number of family and friends which were all very happy with it.

  • MagicJack actually seems more expensive than both of the examples in the accepted answer unless you use the service a lot. For example, taking current rates from the other example above (voip.ms is a "regular" VoIP provider AFAIK), you pay a fixed charge of $0.85*12 = US$10.20/year for a Canadian phone number, plus $0.0090/min of usage. If we handwave away shipping+taxes and you pay $35/year for MagicJack, you'd still need to use your MagicJack for at least (35-10.20)/0.0090 = 2700 min/year = ~46 hours/year = 3.8 hours/month to come out ahead. But you're right that some may prefer fixed cost. Apr 3, 2017 at 13:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .