The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 08:52:00 AM on Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Google Voice will definitely have an impact on how cell companies handle incoming and favorite calls.  US Cellular and T-Mobile are the examples we have to focus on first.  I found some good postings, which I link to and other conversation, but wanted to create a summary and instruction sheet.

US Cellular
This cellular provider allows free inbound calls.  
Never pay for someone calling you
is built into their slogans.  With the web browser interface of Google Voice, you simply log in and have it call you and then the number you wish to reach.  This means you get an inbound call after using some data and then connect through their phone or VOIP switches to your destination.  Free calls for you.  You should never be dialing outbound again.  I know there is an extra step involved, but for the ability to drop your cell minute plans and save money?  Imagine teaching your kids this too?  You essentially circumvent the entire outbound dialing process, saving you money.

T-Mobile
They take a different approach with the Fave 5 offering.  You pick the favorite 5 numbers (read this as people or whatever) that are cell or landline and calls to and from them are free.  To and from them.  So how easy is it to set it all up?  Easy.
  1. Set your Google Voice number as a Fave 5
  2. Have everyone call your Google Voice number
  3. Have it show as your Google Voice number when passing calls instead of the caller number as the image below (courtesy of Mindaverse) shows.

Image:Using Google Voice to beat your cell carrier minutes and SMS

With this scenario you lose caller ID in a way (it will still show the originator in the online call summary).  But if you are worried about minutes and the only ones with your cell number are friends and family, why shouldn't it be free?  Thinking about this further, real estate agents should be running all over this.  To complete it all you have two choices:
  1. Follow the same above steps for US Cellular to connect and have Google dial for you.
  2. call your Google Voice number itself (since it is in your Fave 5) and Option 2 will allow you to dial out.

 You are basically buying the minimum cell plan and never using the minutes with these choices.  Here is a great step by step tutorial from Mindaverse with an added something I didn't even think of when drafting all of this and doing research.. Conference calls!
Bonus: free conference calls

One thing you'll notice about T-Mobile MyFaves is that toll-free numbers can not be added as a Fave. Bummer!  No free calls to customer service, conference call lines, etc.  Lucky for us, there's FreeConferenceCall.com

FreeConferenceCall assigns you a phone number that is not a toll free dial-in (in my experience, all the numbers are area code 605). This means that you can add your conference call number as a Fave, dial in, and never be charged for the call..


Summary
The only way for the carriers to stop this is to block all blocks of numbers that Google gets ownership of (very possible to find and do) or stop the programs themselves.  I will go with them blocking Google Voice numbers from being free on inbound calls.  Verizon has also entered this arena with the new "Friends & Family" deal, which has the exact same effect.

  • 1) Using Google Voice to beat your cell carrier minutes and SMS
    Created by Chadly1 at 7/8/2009 10:28:58 AM email |

    Been doing this for two and a half years. Amazing what you get for 39.99 a month.



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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

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