Review of Riiing "Worldwide" pre-paid service
Review of RIIING Worldwide Pre-Paid Service
Riiing, which operates with a Lichtenstein phone number can be found at riiing.com. (Yes, it is spelled with three “i’s”.)
For about $30.00US, you get a SIM for your GSM phone with a 5 Euro credit. All dealings with them are in Euros. Incoming calls are free in over 60 countries. Outgoing is .39 Euro/min. In more than 70 others you pay varying rates. The U.S. is 1.29 Euro incoming and outgoing. There is a .15 connection charge on each outgoing call.
My test country was Australia. When there, went through the set up process for Voice Mail and preferred language. This does use airtime. I did add $15E to my account. Adding and checking balance is free.
It turned out the set up process was a waste of time. There is no functional VM system. All callers get if they can’t reach you is a recording, first in German then in English saying “the party you want to reach is unavailable, please try again later.” I learned after I got back that if the caller had the patience for a minute to hear that message repeated 3 times, the call would then go to VM. Of course most callers would think they had a wrong number when first hearing a German voice.
The phone did work as advertised for outgoing calls and for the incoming calls that were answered directly.
There is no way to go online and see how your calls were billed. You just have to take their word that everything is correct. You can get “recharged” by going online.
Of course the calls you get aren’t really “free”. Someone who wants to reach you has to dial your Lichtenstein cel number. The cost varies widely depending on your Long Distance carrier. Most charge about 25 cents/min. but it can vary from 11 cents with IDT to 73 cents with some carriers. Most U.S. landlines don’t allow forwarding to international numbers. However, I am told that in the past month Verizon landline customers can now do so. I had to use an outside service. Kall8 (Kall8.com) that costs $2/mo. plus 20 cents/min. to call my Riiing number. I forwarded my home and office numbers to the Kall8 toll free number and it then forwarded it on to Riiing. The prcess is transparent to the caller.
When I discovered the Riiing VM was dysfunctional, went to using my flawless T-Mobile phone. I am on an old international T-M roaming plan where incoming calls are 32 cents/min. in many countries. Outgoing within Australia was 33 or 66 cents depending on time. Calls back to the states were 73 cents, about 20 cents more than Riiing. New T-M customers pay $1.49 for all incoming and outgoing when in Oz.
I still find it amazing that you can place a call instantly from half way around the world and on T-M sounds like they are next door. With the Riiing phone there often seemed to be a slight time lag.
I can not recommend Riiing since they don’t have a useable VM system. For those not lucky enough to be an old T-M customer, I would suggest a prepaid SIM card from a local carrier when you land. (If you want the card ahead of time, there are companies in the U.S. that, for a 50 to 90% premium, will sell you various prepaid SIM cards from around the world.)
There is another pre-paid “Worldwide” pre-paid SIM card issued by hopmobile.com. They operate with a Monaco phone number. I haven’t used them, but by their web site, seem a much more polished operation. You can view some of your recent activity online. However, when I wrote them, they said they don’t have VM “yet”. Their rates for all 87 countries they now serve (more coming soon) is 35 cents for incoming and 95 cents for outgoing. Calls are billed to the second.
GoogleVoice (domestic call forwarding and cheap intl. calls)
T-Mobile lines on unlimited "family" plan - me, wife. Cost is about $80 a line incl. 5GB/mo. data on each line. We have had no landline in 7 years