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Phone Service from Brazil to the USA

Okay here we go, please only reply if you are Currently using a Brazilian Phone  Service to call the USA. I am currently with AT&T. I will be relocating to Belem Brazil next month and will require a ocassional  call to the USA mostly for Banking and I will be calling a toll free number. If anyone is currently using a service for now. Let me know. I have a unlocked phone so I know I will be able to purchase a new chip for use in Brazil. Also list any problems, any service issues and approximate cost to call the USA. If anyone knows how to call toll free that information will also be of help. Thanks for your time and please only current information for I will be getting rid of my AT&T service.

I'm an American living here 8 months. I brought an unlocked phone down here, got an Oi chip for R$44 a month (2G's/use WiFi a lot) and I use Skype (computer & phone App) with an American phone number. With Skype I roughly spent USD$40 in 8 months. I get good coverage where I am at and like the service. It's nice that I can also get calls from an American phone number too. Any other questions let me know!

Oh yeah, no one texts messages down here. Whatsapp for all messaging.

CraigF :

I'm an American living here 8 months. I brought an unlocked phone down here, got an Oi chip for R$44 a month (2G's/use WiFi a lot) and I use Skype (computer & phone App) with an American phone number. With Skype I roughly spent USD$40 in 8 months. I get good coverage where I am at and like the service. It's nice that I can also get calls from an American phone number too. Any other questions let me know!

Can you please give me more information on the Skype for is that a subscription service, I am really not to computor savvy. So if I am following you correct using Oi I will be able to make calls to the USA and if I use it with a combo then I should be fine for I believe with Skype I can just make phone calls with out the video portion. How much time is involved with the $44.00 per month Oi service is it limited as I said I will only really need to call my bank and you know one can be on hold forever. Thanks and tell me all you know. I appreciate your reply and another thing you kept your US number even with the chip from Brazil?. I know I will have wifi and I just bought a new HP laptop .

I have a chip for my phone from here, so I have a Brazil number. With Oi I get 250 minutes a month to call in Brazil. I rarely call anyone or receive any calls. We all use whatsapp to communicate here. At no point in time would I call America through my regular Brazil number.

Yes Skype is a subscription for the American phone number. I forget how much it was but it wasn't that much. I paid a subscription for a year to have that number, check their website for prices. I prepay $25 at a time and have done this twice in 8 months (still have $10 left). The App is on my phone and works like a regular phone. It's easy and I can even use my computer to call America when I'm sitting in my office.

I am by no means computer savvy and use this with ease. Good luck!

I'm trying to follow the conversation. Could you please let me know what Oi means?

Thank you.

Oi = one of the phone companies here

I use vonage it hooks up to my internet modem and workslike a regular telephone. you cannot tell the difference. i like it because it is a USA number and people can call me tool free and I can call anyone toll free also. There are other options as well. If you google VOIP phone services you will find several.

Alascana.........I am an American expat living in Praia de Pipa, Brazil, just south of Natal.  We moved here in July 2015 and phone service is something that is a challenge in Brazil.  All Brazilian cell companies use the "Friends and Family" scheme and you pay for a package for cell use (phone calls) with additional charges for data and then for texting.  No one gets texting with Brazilian cells companies and instead uses "Whatsapp" (100 million Brazilians use this app).  You will find that you will have many issues with any of the Brazilian cell companies and they do turn you off just as soon as your paid package reaches it max number of calls and they are expensive......that is why many Brazilians have 2 or more phone (taking advantage of the "Friends and Family free calls).  Other wise they charge you for making and for receiving calls.  When you are on the phone with your bank in the USA it is very frustrating when they turn you off in mid-call because you reached your max limit of calls.  I have my t-mobile phone and use that for communication with the States.  t-mobile (and I'm sure AT&T have something similar) charges 0.20 cents per minute for calls and free texting and data (at 2g and 3g).  My wife has Claro on her phone for in country calls.  Other options......Skype is good if you can get more than 5mb download and this is the problem for areas that are outliers.  We just got fiber optics with Cortez on-line and they may be also in Belem.  I now have 10 mb download and 5 upload although my clock test shows consistent 20 mb download.  I have found that Google's Voice or "Hangouts" is excellent for making computer generated phone calls from your computer or from your cell phone.  I have had very little problem in making calls back to the States (free with Hangouts) and it improved greatly when I got fiber optics last month.  Skype with 5 mb download does not work well with frequent drops and very poor video quality especially after 4 pm ......everyday.  Weekends are worse!  Whatsapp is good for texting and most calls are free back to the USA but the people on the other end must have Whatsapp in order to receive your calls and this app isn't used much in the USA.  You will also find internet rather expensive here no matter where you live and don't even get me started on customer service for these calls.  We contracted with Oi! early on because they said they could get us 10 mb download internet connection with a land line.  We contracted with them and found that they could not deliver any internet connection in our area.  We cancelled.  They had my address and email address.  They never called, never sent a bill and never sent an email.  They did put an immediate "flag" on my registered CPF number (Social Security number) which most businesses have access to.  With this hold I could not use my CPF to get a different internet company.  They sent us a bill a week later and we paid it.  3 weeks now and they just sent me another bill and they have yet to release my CPF number!!!!!  This is typical how these cell phone companies treat their customers.

Gotcha, I think I got it, thanks for the info. I'll check with at&t to see what they are offering for I will only need to call for Banking and I did not want any bills in the states for it might be easier to suck up the local cost as I like simplicity and nothing is simple anymore (LOL). I'll figure something out. I'll keep plugging away. My Lady in Belem was able to call me it was kind of expensive yet I must keep the money spigot on and I know sometime one has to spend money to make money. I'm wondering if I can buy a prepaid chip that will let me call back to the states and hope I don't get caught in the phone que/lol. I was stopped using my credit card the last 4 days of my visit last year and I was happy the debit card worked for I would have had a heck of a time. Once again thanks for the help.

Alascana....I think the google voice (Hangouts) will serve you well.  You don't need to have both (caller/receiver) signed up in order to make the call.  It is over the internet and it has saved me lots of money for the hours spent on the phone talking to Bank of America.  BofA sent me new replacement debit cards and then turned off my card on Sept. 27th.  Problem:  Brazil Customs has seized my debit cards under a "Regulatory Hold!"  Know one can figure out why they did it or what that is and I now have no access to money............Remember, Brazil is not for the weak at heart as they have a hard time following their own rules, policies and laws!

Gotcha, I am wondering if anyone else has had the regulatory hold problem with recieving credit and debit card and who was the shipping carrier of the card for that is strange. I am not faint of heart or mind and trust me I know the fun will begin once I arrive in country. I wonder if it is something you could present as a topic for the Expat group, for that is ridiculous to have the card being held????. I'll work with the Google voice and see you can pm me on the card for how is one to exist that's just crazy. I had posted a topic awhile back on replacing credit and debit cards and the expats who replied made no mention of cards being held. I will revisit the topic and see the anwsers.
thanks

I put it out on both Foreigners in Brazil and Gringos.com and no one has ever heard of a regulatory hold on the cards.  It was mailed UPS with tracking number in a flat cardboard envelope marked documents.  How else does one classify an envelope containing debit/credit cards.  Meanwhile........they have not made any contact with either BofA or myself.  Next step.........having it mailed regular post by my daughter.  Only thing I can figure is that many expats complain that the Brazilian tax authorities are charging a tax on debit cards being mailed into Brazil.  Many have paid up to R$30 and many more have complained and had the tax over-turned.  I guess for them the next step is to just put a Regulatory Hold on the cards.  Here is the UPS Quantum View tracking report on the cards:

UPS    

The status of your package has changed.
Exception Reason:    Your package has been delayed due to a Government regulatory agency hold.

At the request of Jesse David Fuller, this notice alerts you that the status of the shipment listed below has changed.

Message from Jesse David Fuller:
Status of BofA cards being shipped
Shipment Details
Tracking Number:   
******************

Ship To:   
TIBAU DO SUL, 59179000
BR
UPS Service:    UPS SAVER
Number of Packages:    1
Exception Date:    09/28/2016
Exception Time:    03:05 PM

We recently had to have a card replaced . We were lucky enough to have a friend making a trip to the USA. We had him bring it back. I think this is how I am going to do it in the future if possible.

Gotcha , I wonder if the bank strike is responsible for the hold as of now my cards expire in 2018, hopefully by that time someone will figure it out. I don't mind paying the fee, just deliver the dayum card. That's just crazy. Keep me posted and I will do the same.

I'll call the bank on monday.  Most probably I will have them send it to my daughter and then have her send it in a regular mail envelope with a tracking number.  If that doesn't work then going to Florida will be the next trip.  Got to do some shopping anyway!

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