Simplified Privacy

Best Anonymous Phone Service? Reviews

This article contains our reviews and recommendations for the best privacy-respecting phone service providers. We present both (Voice over IP) VoIP and real SIM card options for you to choose from. And we review both cryptocurrency and fiat choices.

Please keep in mind that VoIP and real SIM cards are radically different. VoIP is internet only, while as real SIM cards need a cellphone tower for service. So this is a list of apples and oranges.

We will review:

1) JMP.Chat

2) Hushed

3) Silent Link

4) Mint Mobile

5) Calyx Institute

6) Bitrefill Top Ups

7) MySudo

And if you really want to learn how to become a ghost, subscribe for free to our new content by email, by Session messenger, RSS feed, or Nostr.

JMP.chat

Privacy Rating: 9 of 10

Type: VoIP via open source XMPP

Number Regions: US & Canada

Physical Phone Required: No

Location Tracking: No

Open Source: Yes, XMPP app

Cryptocurrency: Yes

JMP.chat is our favorite and #1 recommended service for great secondary anonymous numbers to use for Signal or continuous 2FA account verification. JMP.chat allows you to pay in Bitcoin for a VoIP burner line for roughly $3 in BTC a month. This number connects to an XMPP client, which is a free and open source messaging platform. With JMP.chat you can pick between a few different servers, or even setup your own private server.

If you are connecting through Tor, we recommend registering with one of the German servers due to the high quantity of Tor German exit nodes because of Germany’s laws being friendly towards anonymous accounts. If you’re using Tor’s Orbot on a degoogled android, then you can set the country of Tor exit nodes to Germany only. If you’re going to use Tor, this will decrease your audio call quality no matter what server you pick even if it’s a US one. That said, you can use a German server for texting with a US number, and it could potentially be faster if coming from a German Tor exit node.

You also can pick between their default open source XMPP android app called Cheogram or use one of the many other XMPP software clients. There are a wide variety of XMPP clients, so this service will work on Linux, Windows, degoogled phones, and regular surveillance androids. For example if you want to use a Linux computer to make audio phone calls to regular phone lines, then we recommend using the XMPP client Dino.

The main reason we do not give JMP.chat a perfect score is that its recommended chatterboxtown.us server went down for over 2 weeks in the first few months during our test. While JMP.chat may allow many alternative servers (and you can even set up your own), it did force us to get a new phone number in the middle of what we were doing and repay for duplicate service when it recommended this server at sign-up.

Because of the design of JMP.chat, when the third party server goes down, you can’t even access the account to transfer the phone number to a different server. It’s for this reason and additional privacy that users create their own servers.

Despite these issues, our #1 recommendation is JMP.chat. Simplified Privacy is not affiliated or sponsored by JMP.chat in any way. We get no compensation from this recommendation. The Whonix foundation also recommends this service.

Hushed

Privacy Rating: 7 of 10

Type: VoIP via proprietary app

Number Regions: US, UK, Canada. But offers international plans

Physical Phone Required: No, can use VM

Location Tracking: No

Open Source: No

Cryptocurrency: Yes

Another anonymous cryptocurrency VoIP choice is Hushed, but we can not recommend it as highly as JMB.chat. Hushed is more expensive and its app is not open source. Hushed also is more integrated with Google Play Services and uses Coinbase as a third party vendor for the payments. Because of the Coinbase use, Hushed can’t be setup with Tor unless you obfuscate the Tor use with a VPN on top. Although you can use Hushed over Tor and download Hushed as an APK to avoid the Google Play Store, you can’t avoid Google captchas on its website, which are required to set up your account.

While its designers intended Hushed to be set up on a physical phone, you could use an Oracle virtual machine emulator to create a Lineage android. Then you’d have access to it on a Linux PC.

Please note that Hushed won’t work for Google account 2FA, but JMB.chat will. However, Hushed will work for most other services, including financial ones such as Privacy.com or stock brokers.


Silent Link

Privacy Rating: 8 of 10

Type: eSIM Card

Number Regions: US & UK

Physical Phone Required: Yes

Location Tracking: Yes

Open Source: N/A

Cryptocurrency: Yes

Silent.link

Silent Link is a relatively new player to the game, meaning there is a relatively small track record for us to analyze. Silent Link is essentially an eSIM card company that accepts anonymous customers for Bitcoin. They don’t have physical cellphone towers, so you’re still using whatever local company towers are nearby.

The difference between Silent Link and a regular cellphone carrier is that Silent Link is just giving you a SIM card only. This lets you separate your service provider (the actual cell phone tower) from the SIM card supplier. The benefit of this is that the local cell tower doesn’t have any of your billing details (and neither does Silent Link, since you paid in Bitcoin).

Also, as you move around to different locations, you’ll get assigned different companies’ towers. This in theory spreads the data among many companies, instead of having it all concentrated with a single centralized service provider.

You’ll need to set the eSIM up on a physical phone (since no emulators are allowed), and both Silent Link and your local cellphone tower will know your physical location. In contrast to JMB.chat or Hushed, which can be set up on any device and done purely online/Wifi, Silent Link is a real phone eSIM card.

The main disadvantage of Silent Link is that even though you’ve separated the SIM card from the tower, it’s still 24/7 location tracking unless you put it in a faraday bag. Also you can’t pull the eSIM out, which makes it difficult to switch between providers.

Another disadvantage is you can only receive calls, but can’t make them. And even though the third party cell tower company doesn’t have your billing information, they can still see who calls you.

In addition, both Silent Link and the cell tower company can see who’s standing near you — a powerful form of contact tracing. If any of your friends’ SIM cards are KYC identified by the same cellphone tower, then it creates a web of who this anonymous foreign SIM card owner knows. At least by changing locations, you might get different cell towers, which theoretically spreads the knowledge among different groups.

One positive though is if you’re only using Silent Link for mobile data on a VPN or Tor, then both the tower and Silent Link are deprived of any information beyond the physical location and contact tracing.

If you plan to have actual cellphone service and aren’t just using Silent Link for verification of accounts like Signal, then Silent Link is a decent choice. However, we personally don’t like using SIM cards directly on phones and instead prefer mobile hotspots, so that your cellphone can be put in a faraday bag easier.

Also Silent Link phone numbers should NOT be used for Signal account verification because then when your friends add the number to their contacts, you’re letting everyone know where they can physically find you, as that phone number would be connected to third party cellphone towers to give you service.

Mint Mobile

Privacy Rating: 7 of 10

Type: Physical SIM Card

Regions: US & Canada

Physical Phone Required: Yes

Location Tracking: Yes

Open Source: N/A

Cryptocurrency: No

Another fiat money option is Mint Mobile, which is run by the famous actor Ryan Reynolds. Mint Mobile lets you sign up without any KYC documents, and they’re policies regarding identity are pretty relaxed overall.

Mint Mobile doesn’t accept cryptocurrency, but you can sign up using a prepaid anonymous credit card bought in person for cash. Also some brick and mortar stores sell Mint Mobile prepaid cards.

Calyx Institute Hotspots

Type: Physical Mobile Data Hotspot

Privacy Rating: 7 of 10

Regions: US & Puerto Rico Only

Physical Device Required: Yes, Hotspot

Location Tracking: Yes

Open Source: N/A

Calyx Institute is a privacy non-profit based in New York that has a deal with T-Mobile to supply mobile hotspot service in a theoretically slightly more private way. But if you take a step back, you’ll see that this method isn’t so great because you’re not blending in with the other regular T-Mobile customers. Yes, you get to pay Calyx in cryptocurrency anonymously, but the actual service is provided by T-Mobile cellphone towers, and T-Mobile couldn’t care less about your privacy. In fact, by using Calyx you are more at risk for T-Mobile snooping since you’re signing up under Calyx’s name as a “privacy” customer.

Calyx hotspots make you stand out in the crowd

Now if you’re using a VPN or Tor then T-Mobile can’t see any of the contents of the data. But if you use this hotspot in your home, you’re not anonymous anymore since the cell tower’s location tracking sees you’re there so often it’s likely your home. Then the fact that you’ve paid in cryptocurrency doesn’t matter if you’re identified; all you’ve done is tell T-Mobile that you “wish to be anonymous,” which could raise their intent to track your physical movements outside your home.

This could be avoided by only using the T-Mobile hotspot outside your house and keeping the hotspot in a faraday bag in your home. However, T-Mobile would still know what other phones or devices were around you when you pulled it out of the bag, especially if your friends also used the T-Mobile cell towers. This is essentially using your physical location as a form of contact tracing.

Now proponents of Calyx hotspots would argue that anything with celltower service would do this. But by using Calyx to pay in cryptocurrency, instead of paying with cash, you’ve identified yourself to T-Mobile as a “savvy privacy” customer with “something to hide,” thereby drawing extra attention to whose SIM card is standing next to you when you take it out of the faraday bag.

Comparison of Calyx Institute vs Silent Link

Calyx hotspots are like Silent Link eSIM cards in that you’re paying one company anonymously in cryptocurrency for a third party cellphone tower to service you. The biggest difference is that Calyx is using a single centralized third party vendor, so all you’ve done is deprive T-Mobile of the payment information, whereas Silent Link’s eSIM is using multiple different cell tower companies.

Now if this actually provides any benefit would depend on how populated a region you live in. If you’re in the middle of “farmland nowhere,” then there’s likely only going to be one cell tower company servicing your town or area. If you’re in a major metropolitan city (with multiple cell tower companies), Calyx could in theory provide some benefit.

Bitrefill a Burner

Privacy Rating: Depends on Plan/Company/Country

Type: Real SIM card refill plans

Regions: 186 Countries (massive)

Physical Phone Required: Yes

Location Tracking: Yes

Open Source: N/A

Cryptocurrency: Yes

Bitrefill is a popular website to buy gift cards in cryptocurrency. It offers functionality for refilling regular “real phone” plans from a huge variety of cellphone companies right on the website for cryptocurrency. What is available depends on your country. But for some countries, you could buy an in-person anonymous prepaid plan and then top it up using Bitrefill.

Here’s a list of some of many phone companies Bitrefill offers in the United States:

AT&T

Verizon

T-Mobile

SimpleMobile

Net10

Tracfone

Boost Mobile

Lyca Mobile

Metro Mobile

Ultramobile

Go Smart Mobile

H20 Wireless

Black Wireless

FreeUp Mobile

Now remember; the only advantage of Bitrefill is that it’s letting you pay your bill in cryptocurrency without KYC. If the phone plan itself is tied to your name, then this is useless. Also if the phone is kept on at your physical home, then location tracking would give away your identity.

The best way to use Bitrefill topups is for you to have a second degoogled phone in a faraday bag, which you then hotspot Wifi to your primary phone without a SIM card. This lets you use your primary phone with your home’s Wifi to hide your location when you’re home, while getting service from the burner phone when you’re out.

Always you will need to do all web traffic through a VPN or Tor. Not only do the phone companies log everything, but some companies like Verizon are known do customized “personal ads.” And in addition, phones purchased directly through Verizon can’t be OEM unlocked or degoogled.

MySudo

Privacy Rating: 3 of 10

Regions: US, UK, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Australia

Type: VoIP via proprietary app

Physical Phone Required: Yes.

Location Tracking: Yes, on setup. No for regular use on a 2nd device.

Open Source: No

Cryptocurrency: No

MySudo.com

We do NOT recommend MySudo. We have a negative stance towards any non-cryptocurrency non-cash options since that’s not allowing you to be anonymous. In addition, we do not like forcing Google Play services on anyone, and MySudo only accepts payment through Google using a regular (non-degoogled) phone. And we do not accept non-open source apps as philosophically legitimate.

However despite not liking MySudo, we aren’t going to deprive you of knowledge if decent services exist in the Google ecosystem if you don’t have a degoogled phone. One such service for a secondary VoIP line is MySudo. This service allows you to get access to multiple VoIP lines at once and do end-to-end encryption with other MySudo users within the same proprietary app (or so they claim).

MySudo.com Profiles

However, we don’t know if it’s really end-to-end encryption since it’s not open source. Also they don’t accept cryptocurrency, so you’ll need a fiat credit card linked to the Google Play Store. One possibility is that you can buy a Google gift card through Bitrefill and then use that for MySudo. But then you’d need to have a 2nd anonymous burner line already setup to use the Google account or use a SMS verification service. (See our article on crypto SMS burner services here.)

Another option is to use a Privacy.com credit card connected to your bank account to pay for MySudo. Privacy.com is going to charge you $10 per month to hide the payment information from your bank.

MySudo also offers private cards similar to Privacy.com. The advantage of MySudo is that it’s real cheap for a bunch of burner phone lines, and the actual app is pretty convenient. However, some financial institutions won’t accept MySudo phone numbers as legitimate, and you’d be trading convenience for privacy because it won’t work on a degoogled phone.

MySudo requires a regular Google android or iOS phone to set it up. While they do allow you to import your already existing account with a downloaded APK into a degoogled phone such as CalyxOS or GraphineOS, you can’t originally onboard and set it up with these devices. Nor can you pay for the phone numbers without Google integration.

Because of these limitations we do NOT recommend MySudo. We encourage MySudo to rethink its business model in line with ethical privacy.

Conclusion

We would love to help you. Reach out to us to schedule a consultation so we can tailor advice to your needs. Don’t slow your setup down with poor audio quality unnecessarily.

This article provided a general overview of some internet only VoIP apps and real SIM card service providers. You don’t have to choose between one or the other. In fact, we recommend using both a real SIM card just for service, and a VoIP for actual SMS or calls. This prevents your physical location from being known just for giving out your number.

In the next article, we’ll discuss one time SMS verification services for cryptocurrency to register accounts. And if you really want to learn, don’t forget to subscribe for free to our new content by email, by Session messenger, RSS feed, or Nostr.

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