Sprint and Google Voice integration

I was recently in a Sprint store and saw that they were advertising Google Voice integration with your Sprint mobile number which adds all of the features and functionality of Google Voice to your Sprint mobile number.

The Sprint and Google Voice integration gives you two (technically three) options to use with your account. I’ll explain the two carrier-integration and the one non-carrier-integration options as clearly as I can, citing references and personal experience on each.

If you install the Google Voice app on Android, you’ll be prompted to either perform the carrier integration steps or skip it. Unfortunately, the impact of the options isn’t as clear as it could be. So here’s my take-away on this.

First, the carrier-integration options as listed on http://www.google.com/googlevoice/sprint/

Option 1: Use your Sprint number with Google Voice.

This causes the carrier to pass (for lack of a better word) all of your inbound calls through the GV service. Your Sprint mobile number becomes your Google voice number. This is the mode that Sprint is encouraging, both from a feature and a billing perspective.

All of your outbound calls from the GV website will display your Sprint number. The one thing about this is that you can enable/disable calls from ringing your mobile through the Google Voice settings (even though it’s your mobile number — remember we’re passing incoming calls through the GV service?). You can even uncheck your phone in the list of ringing devices and have it go directly to voicemail.

If you have an existing GV number already, you will have a limited time (90 days) before Google recycles the number back into their pool (unless you pay a $20 one-time payment to permanently keep it). This information is displayed in your Google Voice settings.

The one thing that unnerves me a bit is the fact that you can uncheck your phone in the list of phones and it will not ring when people dial your number. So… keep that in mind.

Also, SMS are delivered to the Google Voice app ONLY, and require a data connection to work. MMS are delivered to the phone directly.

Option 2: Use your Google Voice number on your Sprint phone.

This causes ALL outgoing calls and texts from your mobile handset to pass through the GV service and therefore display your current Google Voice number (NOT your Sprint mobile number). Similiar to the above except for the number displayed is your current GV number and not your Sprint mobile number.

Non-integrated Option 3: Use Google Voice only for voicemail.

Skip the carrier integration and just dial a call forwarding/no answer/busy code on your handset to your GV number. On Sprint, this is *28. So if your GV number was 312-555-1212, you would dial *283125551212 and hit send. To stop this and return to carrier voicemail, dial *38. you should hear confirmation tones. If you hear an error message instead, call Sprint at 888-211-4727 and ask them for assistance. In this option, everything happens over the Sprint network except for voicemail, which is handled by the “Call forwarding no answer/busy” function (*28).

To disable carrier integration:

If you turned on integration and changed your mind, follow these steps to disable it:

  • Log in to your Google Voice account
  • Click the gear icon in the top-right corner and click Voice Settings
  • Under “Phones” click “Disable integration” next to your integrated line.

Mind you, carrier integration is NOT number porting (I was nervous about this myself) but rather a mutual hand-off of who is routing and handling the incoming/outgoing call path.

Still have questions about Sprint Google Voice integration?

See the following links for more information:

Some issues that others are facing:

Engadget has also posted the following posts on Sprint Google Voice integration:

… and please feel free to share your feedback or experience with Sprint Google Voice integration in the comments below. Thank you!

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  1. #1 by S!ick on August 4, 2011 - 3:39 pm

    Oh…it’s not as simple as it seems. I am in “Day #2″ of a super-long story, which I will spare you. Let’s just say that, now, Sprint wants to kill my Google Voice number so they can (try to) disconnect it from their system.

    I DO NOT recommend anyone associate their Google Voice number to one provided by Sprint.

    • #2 by Mike on August 4, 2011 - 3:55 pm

      Actually, I’d love if you would share as much as your story as you are willing. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Sprint/Google Voice integration since I tried it.

      • #3 by S!ick on August 4, 2011 - 4:55 pm

        (I was composing this message to tell you that they were still working on it, and it wasn’t over…HOWEVER…)

        I was about to post that: “My gut tells me they are not aware of the *28 and *38 codes you’ve posted…”

        The phone has been returned to me…still linked to Google Voice…and Sprint personnel have NO CLUE how to resolve this issue. But, YOU DO: the *38 code did it!

        For the record, I’ve been told by my friend who has been working on this issue with me, that “Matt” and “Hernandez” at the Sprint store on Broadway in Tucson (Arizona) have tried to be VERY helpful. But, as of yet, don’t know of this “fix”. I was attempting to call their store and make them aware of it…but…

        Sprint’s menus put me in a loop, and then sent me to their national customer service center queues.

        Now, I am attempting to have the original telephone number that was assigned to the unit (a Samsung Epic 4G Galaxy S) reattached, instead of needing to use the new telephone number that is active.

        • #4 by Mike on August 4, 2011 - 5:13 pm

          Wow… I’ve heard from a few people that some of the Sprint reps still have no idea how the *28 and *38 codes work. Unfortunate.

          My best advice to you is to do this:
          * Make sure call forwarding is disabled (*38)
          * Make sure Google Voice integration with that line is disabled (see above under “disable carrier integration”)
          * After a few minutes, check outgoing caller ID to see if the number you want is displaying correctly.

          If for some unfortunate reason you ported your number to GV, you can get it ported back to your carrier (though you may have to pay Google a small one-time fee of around $20) I posted the links above for your reference. You can hit http://tnid.us/ to see what carrier has a particular number.

          To be quite honest, I’m not surprised that Sprint and Google integration is having trouble. Looking over various forums about how exactly this works (integrated service actually routes your outgoing and incoming calls through Google’s servers along the way, instead of over “normal” direct call routing) I can only imagine the sudden load on Google’s servers and the resulting problems.

          I’m of the belief that — if you have an issue with your service in a “typical” (non-integrated) state, you can point the finger squarely at Sprint and they have an obligation to make it right. In an integrated solution there’s more places issues can be, and you can’t exactly call Google and get support — it’s a free service, and they don’t really have an obligation to help you. In fact, you can’t really call them at all — you’re limited to asking for help in a forum, which they can reply to if and when they feel like it. (I’ve added the link above.)

          I hope I’ve helped you!

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