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:
- Official Google Voice Support Forum
- Official Google Voice Number Porting Information (Porting In or Porting Out)
- Official Google Voice Known Issues (Includes integration information)
Engadget has also posted the following posts on Sprint Google Voice integration:
- Sprint / Google Voice integration has major issues, major lack of support
- Google and Sprint respond to Google Voice integration issues
… and please feel free to share your feedback or experience with Sprint Google Voice integration in the comments below. Thank you!