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My iPhone/Google Voice experiment

By October 14, 2011websites

I’ve had an iPhone with AT&T since it first came out, and I’ve had nothing but good things to say about my AT&T experience. Last year, though, I moved to a new house, which unfortunately has poor AT&T coverage. Obviously AT&T can’t have perfect coverage everywhere. No carrier can.

But, it’s been so unreliable that I knew that I’d switch to Verizon when the new iPhones were released. Today, I got a new iPhone on the Verizon network. I’m paying a small penalty to drop AT&T but it’s worth it to get the optimal phone service in my house (I don’t have a landline).

However, I didn’t port my old cellphone number over to Verizon. I’m getting a new number, which is something I’m looking forward to since my old number was starting to attract a lot of robocalls from salesbots, and some weird text messages.

But I’m not discarding my old number entirely. I decided to port that one to Google Voice (which I’ve had for a long time as well, but never made much use of). It cost me $20 to port the number, and the switch over takes 24 hours. Supposedly the text messages take up to 3 business days to switch over. We’ll see how all that goes.

Hopefully, what I’ll end up with is this: I have one number that I can use to simultaneously ring my cellphone and my business phone, and the voicemail messages get transcribed and emailed to me. I can selectively filter calls based on which group the person calling is in. I’m not sure how it will all turn out, but I like the idea of separating my phone number from my carrier. I like the way Google deals with spam in my email, and I expect them to do a good job with my voice spam too.

If any of you out there have done this, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Update: The port over took exactly 24 hours. My old phone on AT&T was disabled automatically (which is what I expected and wanted). The text messages are still not coming over to my new phone, but that was supposed to take up to 3 biz days, so we’ll see. My voicemail messages are now being transcribed for free by Google, so I can let go of my Phonetag service ($10/month). The only thing that is not optimal is the length of time that it takes Google Voice to pick up voicemail (25 seconds). This time is not adjustable, and many people seem not to like this. In my case, I have a great service (Ruby Receptionist – for my business lines. I don’t mind that my cellphone line takes a little longer to answer, although it would be nice if Google would allow this to be adjusted.

Update #2: I found out that if I receive a call on my iPhone and click the top button (the iPhone default for “send to voicemail immediately”) it goes right to Google Voice and the voicemail is transcribed and immediately sent to me as a text message. Much faster than PhoneTag, so I’ll be saving $10 per month when I get rid of PhoneTag (next week).

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  • I've been using Google voice for a couple years now, though I got a new number rather than port my old one. It's been fantastic. I've been able to get rid of my text plan, too. The only downside is that the text service doesn't permit MMS.

  • David Rizzo says:

    I have been using Google Voice with Sprint for some time now. Don't make the mistake of linking your Google Voice number with a phone someone may use to call you.

    I thought it would be a good idea to link my wife's cell number with my Google Voice number. My thinking was that if my Blackberry was ever lost, I could simply check a box in my Google Voice settings and have Google forward my calls to her Blackberry. I added my wife's number to my Google Voice account but left the call forward feature unchecked.

    A few days later my wife and I were separated at a shopping center. When she tried to call me, she was routed to my voice mail box. As soon as I deleted her number form my account we no longer had the problem. I don't know if this bug or not but there should be a disclaimer about potentially aggravating your wife.

  • Macknzie says:

    I've been using Google voice for a couple years now, though I got a new number rather than port my old one. It's been fantastic. I've been able to get rid of my text plan, too. The only downside is that the text service doesn't permit MMS.

    But I'm also an Android guy. The tight integration that allows is important. I'm not sure how it will work with the iPhone.

  • John says:

    I haven't gone 'all-in' with Google Voice either, but I do use it for anything/everything I sign up for so any potential marketing calls would go to that number. It's nice b/c it has a blacklist feature.

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