Google Trying to Hammer Out Google Voice Integration Agreements With Other Carriers


At last year’s fall CTIA show in Orlando, Sprint had a nice shindig to announce a big deal of a phone (you may have heard of it – the EVO 3D), but that wasn’t all they showed up to The Orange State with. Google and Sprint teamed up to show off Google Voice carrier integration, a feature that was made available to Sprint customers only.

The integration allowed users to use their existing phone numbers as their Google Voice number.It was a huge convenience as you could switch over to Google’s SMS and visual voicemail service without having to give people a new number. At the time, it wasn’t clear why Google only nabbed Sprint, but it’s a bit more clear now.

Google has to work with carriers to properly implement the technology, but there are also a lot of logistics to consider. For instance, most companies probably wouldn’t appreciate people being able to bypass their own visual voicemail services, something many carriers do ask customers to pay for. Sprint’s smartphone plans includes the feature at no cost, with voice-to-text transcription features available for an added fee. It’s easy to see why they were an easier carrier to work with.

The same issue also applies to text messaging – it would allow people to bypass any limit they have (carriers usually offer tiered messaging with an unlimited option). Again, Sprint’s smartphone plans include unlimited messaging, making them an ideal carrier for this integration. It’s tough for Google to sell carriers on their product because it loses money for the latter.

Unless these carriers force every smartphone owner to have unlimited messaging and data like Sprint, seeing Google Voice integration for others likely won’t happen anytime soon. Google wants you to know they’re still working on it, though, as discussions with other carriers (who and where wasn’t mentioned) were ongoing. Anyone still looking forward to this feature or are you over it by now? [via CNET]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. This is easily one of the best ways to show why Sprint is my carrier of choice.

    If anyone acquires them, I hope it’s Google.

  2. As a new Verizon customer, they suck.  They nickel and dime you for everything.  That was the price I paid to get the Galaxy Nexus (Damn you Google, why did you give Verizon an exclusive on this device).

    1. You do know that if you weren’t Sprint, you could have just gotten a European unlocked phone, right?

  3. I am with Sprint and this is one of the reasons I am still with them.  It’s a really great feature that I use all the time.  

  4. Everybody already uses my Google Voice number already so it wouldn’t really make a difference to me.

    1. Already already?

  5. I switched from tmobile to verizon. In the process i ported my Tmobile number to google voice for $20. Got a new number from Verizon that i don’t hand out and now unlimited texts for free, and still have my old number.

  6. Am i the only asshole who has NO idea wtf google voice is? im on Tmobile using an HTC sensation. have a family plan that honestly gets kinda pricey.

    1. ahh one of them condom phones

    2.  it adds a second virtual line that forwards to your existing number.  It also allows for free texting from this second number.  And it adds free visual voicemail as well as free transcribing.  Many people used it with the fave five plan for unlimited inbound calling.

  7. Question for the integrated Sprint users… how does it handle mms? I’ve used Gvoice since the beta invite on AT&T but I’ve never had mms pictures work. Has that been fixed?

  8. I don’t tell people my VZW #, only my GV #

  9. You can bypass on tmobile if you root and download Google voice… As long as you have a non-prepaid plan that is… It just changes the forwarding numbers in your voicemail settings to get voice

    1. Except you don’t need to even root to get that.  My stock G2 and Sensation 4G both do that, no root.

      What this is talking about is the ability to use GV as your voicemail without having a separate GV *number*.  One number, both Sprint voice service and GV voicemail/backend.

  10. Yeah, I hate effing Rogers for this. Brothertuckers won’t let GV because they charge for the simplest sh!t.

  11. Can anyone who uses sprint integrated w GV verify that it gets rid of the added latency that google voice usually adds to phone calls (both incoming and outgoing)?

    1. With the integration, there is no additional latency for normal outbound calls. Sprint places the call same as it always has, but Sprint just makes sure your GVoice # shows as the CallID #. There is still latency on inbound calls that seems to mean I need to answer in the first 2-3 rings or it’ll go to voice mail.

  12. T-Mobile and Verizon  just sign on the dotted line.

  13. Eh wha!? I was using Google Voice to get my voicemails when I was on Tmo. I had the HTC G2. When ppL called me, my Google Voice would receive the voice mail.

    At the time I didn’t have a Google Voice number, though. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

  14. What does visual voicemail matter? You can already use Google Voice as your primary voicemail without porting your number.

  15. What does integration have to do with MMS support, and why does each carrier need to be involved? I don’t see why Google can’t just add MMS support to it’s current setup? That’s all I want.

  16. Until Google fixes the issue of not being able to receive MMS, I cannot fully adopt GV for giving out to friends. I do use it for several things like credit info, bills, craigslist ads, etc. Even if MMS cannot be received or sent, just a notification that such action occurred would be good enough. But it just disappears into thin air.

  17. This is silly. You can use Google Voice on any carrier in the US already. Is adopting a new number (the last one you’ll ever need to adopt!) really such a barrier for people? Given the choice, I’d rather keep as many services as possible (including Google Voice) separate from my carrier, anyway.

    If Google really wants to increase adoption of Google Voice, they should be working on a wider international roll-out. (Hint, look north, Google!)

  18. I would totally use google voice as my main # but I can’t because I never receive calls on my google voice number. Many of my friends have tried and it always goes straight to voicemail.  I’ve tried playing around with the settings and everything to no avail. Must be a carrier issue. I have VZW

  19. I prefer having the two separate numbers personally, but it’d be nice to have the option on AT&T now that I’ve recently left Sprint.  I like options.  

  20. No MMS is a pain but texting from my laptop, tablet and phone using my number is great. For MMS I just check my phones stock messaging application.

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