Using Google Voice on your Ting phone

Kathryn Behrenshausen

I'd like to share my solution for successfully using Google Voice on my Ting phone. For reference, I opted for a new phone number from Ting (i.e., I did not port).

First, configure GVoice as you would for any other phone. GVoice should recognize your handset as a Sprint handset. If you plan on using Google Voice's voicemail as your primary voicemail system, configure that, too. Be aware: the on-screen prompts from Google may provide inaccurate information for initiating call forwarding (on which GVoice relies when activating voicemail for you). See your handset's manual for instructions on properly configuring call forwarding.

This is the most important step: In your Ting Dashboard, load the Settings page for your handset. Uncheck "Call Forwarding can be set on phone." Instead, check "Forward 'No Answer' calls to this number," and type your GVoice number in the corresponding field. This will ensure that GVoice properly "hands off" calls placed to it.

Note that this method has been verified by Ting customer support. Many thanks to Brian for his help and patience.

 

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Using Google Voice on Ting FAQ [Updated November 1, 2013]

Preface

Google recently announced sweeping changes to its Google Voice service—changes that could render the contents of this thread inaccurate. See this link (https://plus.google.com/106636280351174936240/posts/MjyncJEbzxK) for additional detail regarding these potential changes, the implementation of which could occur as early as May 2014.

What is Google Voice?

Google Voice (abbreviated "GVoice" or "GV" in this thread) is a service from Google that provides users with a way to "unite" their many telephone numbers. Google Voice users receive a new telephone number and can "link" their existing phone numbers to this new one. When dialed, the new number effectively "rings" all other telephones linked to it. For example, one might link both a home phone and an office phone to a Google Voice number which, when dialed, will cause both the home phone and office phone to ring. Google Voice also offers additional functionality—such as voicemail archiving and transcription, customized voicemail greetings, "do not disturb" protocols, and spam blocking—that users in this thread find useful. For more information, visit http://voice.google.com.

Does Google Voice allow me to make telephone calls over the Internet?

No. Google Voice is not a Voice over Internet Protocol service (or application). Some Ting customers pair Google Voice with GrooveIP to acquire Voice over Internet Protocol functionality.

So why does the Google Voice application ask me to "use Google Voice to make all calls." Isn't it making my telephone calls over the Internet?

No. By making telephone calls "through" Google Voice, you are asking Google Voice to display your Google Voice number as your caller ID information, so that others will see your Google Voice number on their handsets when you call them (and not the caller ID information of, say, the mobile phone or office phone you have linked to Google Voice). You are not making VoIP calls. Using Google Voice to make telephone calls will require you to pay for minutes with Ting. To make VoIP telephone calls, use an application like GrooveIP (see below).

Am I using my Ting minutes when I place calls with Google Voice?

**Yes
.** Google Voice is not an application for making free telephone calls.

What does Google Voice cost?

Nothing. Google offers Google Voice for free. Of course, as is the case with any of Google's "free" services, the company uses data collected from Google Voice users to produce and distribute targeted advertising.

I see that Google and Sprint have partnered to allow Sprint customers to deeply integrate Google Voice with their mobile phones. Can I do this?

No. This special integration is available only to Sprint customers, not Ting customers.

Can I send text messages with Google Voice?

Yes. Google Voice features free text messaging to mobile phones in the United States or Canada. By downloading Google's Google Voice application to their Ting handsets, users are able to send and receive text messages without incurring text messaging charges from Ting, drastically reducing their messaging bills. To do this, you must use the Google Voice application and not Android's built-in Messages application. However, Ting users are reporting that sending text messages via the Google Voice application does in fact require a tiny amount of data, though the amount is almost negligible (and using the application over a wifi connection does not incur data charges). Read the thread for these reports.

People are calling my Google Voice number, but my Ting phone isn't ringing. What should I do?

First, be sure your Ting number is properly "linked" to your Google Voice account. You should modify your Google Voice settings to include your Ting telephone number in the list of numbers GV will ring when someone calls your GV number. In your Google Voice dashboard, click "Settings > Phones" to ensure your configurtion is correct. Next, check your Ting dashboard to ensure that the "Call Forwarding can be set on phone" option is unchecked. Instead, check "Forward 'No Answer' calls to this number," and type your GV number in the corresponding field. You should now receive calls placed to your GV number.

What is GrooveIP?

GrooveIP is Android software from snrb Labs that allows users to make telephone calls using their wireless Internet connections rather their cellular connections (something typically called "Voice over Internet Protocol," or "VoIP"). To do this, GrooveIP utilizes Google Voice, so anyone wishing to use GrooveIP must also have a Google Voice account. But using Google Voice does not necessitate the use of GrooveIP. Put another way: While one must use Google Voice in order to to GrooveIP, one needn't use GrooveIP in order to use Google Voice.

So why are you discussing GrooveIP here in a thread about Google Voice?

Many Ting users have found clever ways to use Google Voice and GrooveIP in tandem in order to significantly reduce their monthly Ting bills. Read the thread for more on how this can be done.

Comments

404 comments

  • Comment author
    Asya Kamsky

    I had the exact same problem - until I unchecked "Call forwarding can be set on the phone" I couldn't successfully configure Google Voicemail on my phone.  Once I followed your steps, everything worked!

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    Happy to help!

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Frey

    Here's another solution that includes GrooveIP that I'd like to share as well. I have two or three locations with solid Wi-Fi that I'm typically at for about 90% of my day. Because of this usage pattern I was originally looking at the new Republic Wireless service. They're promising tighter Wi-Fi integration for just this pattern but their beta stage was dragging out longer than I wanted to wait so I went with Ting instead. I expected I wouldn't be able to offload as many calls with Ting but I've been quite amazed at how seamless it has been working. In the end, however, I'm not as worried about saving minutes as I am about having a phone that just works. I've been using it for about two weeks and, so far, the vast majority of both my incoming and outgoing calls have been without using mobile minutes or data and the call quality has been great. The clincher was how carefree the usage has been. In other words, I don't bother to worry about whether the call is placed via the mobile network or Wi-Fi, I just make or take the call. You don't get handoff between mobile and Wi-Fi networks for calls in progress but to my mind that's no worse than ordinary dropped calls on the mobile network. The only drawback I can think of with this setup is when on Wi-Fi I get dual rings, one from GrooveIP and one from the native phone app. GrooveIP is almost always the first app to show the accept/reject UI so it's more of an annoyance than anything else. It took a bit to get used to but now I just accept the call and let the native app ring fall off.

    Here are the steps I used for this solution:

    1. GV # forwarded to my Ting #
    2. GV # forwarded to Google Chat
    3. Ting device has voicemail disabled; rely on GV instead and forward notifications via e-mail or SMS
    4. Ting device has "busy" and "no answer" calls forwarded to my GV #
    5. Ting device has "hide your Caller ID from others" option enabled
    6. GrooveIP installed on my handset (uses the Google Chat forward)
    7. GrooveIP 3G/4G calling disabled
    8. GrooveIP accept calls on answer enabled
    9. GrooveIP built-in dialer preference set to use GrooveIP on WIFI only
    10. GrooveIP native fallback enabled
    11. Hide the native phone app on the handset, it just gets in the way
    12. Hide the GrooveIP app also
    13. Use the GV app for texting and voicemail retrieval
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  • Comment author
    Ben Lucier

    Thanks for sharing folks, this is great!

    -Ben

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Prince

    I've been using the above set up for over a month and can also vouch for it. I too found Ting after waiting for republic wireless, and wanting a better selection of handsets. I would add that to eliminate the double-ring, when I'm on steady wi-fi for an extended period (like at home), I turn on airplane mode (to turn off cell) and then turn on wi-fi. I assume it also saves some battery.

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    Both Anthonys seem confident, so I'm taking the plunge and trying this setup.  I'll report back after a few days of testing.

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  • Comment author
    Asya Kamsky

    I just started using Groove IP and I'm having trouble figuring out how to have my caller ID show up as my phone number, rather than my Google Voice number.   Any suggestions?

    5. Ting device has "hide your Caller ID from others" option enabled 

    I do NOT have "Hide my caller ID" checked on ting.com settings page for this phone...  yet it sends my GV number as my caller ID...

     

    Any ideas?

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  • Comment author
    Asya Kamsky

    Found my own answer on Google Voice Settings page:

    On Google Voice settings, it says:

    Caller ID (outgoing)  Help_dark

    When I text a Google Voice number from one of my  forwarding phones:

    Don't change anything

    Display my Google Voice number

    Note: this setting currently only applies to text messages; calls will be included soon.    

    Looks like we have to wait for that option to come to Google Voice for calls (it already works for SMS)

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Frey

    Asya, my solution assumes your GV # is the one that you want to give out to other people and use as your "advertised" number. It sounds like your Ting # is the one you want advertised. If that's the case, this solution won't work for you. The reason is because GrooveIP is really a Voice Over IP (VOIP) app and is not integrated with the Ting mobile network. The Ting device setting "hide your Caller ID from others" only affects your caller ID when you make voice calls through the mobile network; in other words when you use your Ting device as a true cell phone and its assigned number. GrooveIP doesn't have access to this number (i.e. it can't spoof it) and will always send your GV #. This is because the call is being placed using VOIP over standard IP data networks (routed through the Google Voice service) and totally bypasses the mobile network. The way to think of it is, with Ting and GrooveIP/GV you have two distinct network channels and phone numbers that both use the same handset. If you use GV as your public number then you can make it _look_ like you have one number to other people (almost). If you don't use your GV as your public number, then you're stuck with the two separate channels.

    This is why I have the "hide your Caller ID from others" option enabled. Because when I do happen to make a cell call over the mobile network I don't want the party I'm calling to get confused with an unrecognized number. I'd rather have them see "Private caller" than my actual Ting device number. This prevents them from saving the Ting device number in their contact list and using it later. If they were to do that, it would go directly to my Ting device and bypass GV.

    Hope that helps,

    Tony

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Frey

    Anthony, I've heard about the airplane mode trick before but the fact that it turns off Wi-Fi at the same time really makes it a hassle. I'm testing an app now called AutomateIt that lets you fire actions for certain types of triggers. So, I'm thinking I can use that to re-enable Wi-Fi when airplane mode is activated. I'll let you know how that works out.

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    Anthony F: I feel your frustration regarding automatic wifi deactivation in airplane mode.  However, I find it less hassling when I make use of the power widget, which allows one-tap reactivation of wifi.  So, I activate airplane mode, then immediately restart wifi using the widget.  It's not ideal, but it's quick, and saves me the time and energy involved in fiddling with additional applications.

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  • Comment author
    Robert Melton

    This thread is gold -- thanks fro all the time and effort on it.  My Ting phone(s) should arrive in a few days, I am an avid google voice user, so I am really excited to make this all work! 

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  • Comment author
    Robert Melton

    Automatic Wifi Detection & Turning off cell radio solved via a free app: AutoAir -- when you got wifi, it turns off the cell radio!  Then you can even leave the forwarding on and it never double rings, but when you leave wireless, GrooveIP will disable, and the Radio will come back on -- it is awesome. 

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Prince

    Great suggestion! All of the similar apps I had read about were pay apps, and generally far more robust. This is a simple app that does exactly what we need.

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Frey

    Robert: Thanks for the AutoAir tip! I've been using it for the past few days and its fantastic! It's another piece of the puzzle that makes it all "just work!" The AutomateIT app I suggested is too complicated and even leads to triggering cycles between Wi-Fi and cell enabling/disabling so I don't recommend that anymore (BTW, it's a fine app for doing other things, just not for automatic wi-fi/cell management).

    So, add this item to the solution:

    1. Install AutoAir app with "Start Service" enabled on system and application startup.
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  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    I would like to point out (unless I'm doing something wrong) that with "Call Forwarding can be set on phone" disabled and " Forward 'Busy Signal' calls to this number" enabled pointing to GV I was getting charge 1 min for each forward.  It goes like this:  I call the Ting number, it rings 6 times and then GV answers; that works fine.  I looked in the minutes details and there were two "1 min" sessions logged with the GV number as the "from" number "to" the Ting number.  I was surprised there were two let alone any charges.  Did I mess up?  Is it a bug or network error?  I'd hate to get charged for what little forwarding there will be but I can work around it I think.

    I know the major cell carriers have a deal with google that this doesn't happen on their networks.  According to the Ting rep I spoke with that has not, apparently,  carried over to Ting and that what is happening is correct.  So, has anyone noticed this or perhaps you were already aware of it?  I was surprised it was not mentioned any where.  If this is correct, you may want to make it clear to potential customers.  Small charges add up and nobody likes little financial surprises :-)

    Also, With the Ting VM enabled and all forwarding disabled, the Ting number rings 2-3 times and VM picks up; that seems really short.  I haven't gone thru the full VM set-up on the phone; perhaps I need to do that first?  I only have the VM enabled in the Ting panel.

     

    Yes, the GV number will be the one given to the public but close friends, etc, will have both numbers; besides GV has some nice VM features.

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  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    FYI to anyone interested in android automation and circumstantial triggers: try tasker, I love that app. Gives control over all phone Functions under any circumstance. Some of the advanced functions will need root, secure settings and busybox.

    Also, you guys using google voice mail, are you getting charged minutes against your ting account for the call forwarding from gv to the ting number?

    Have you any recommendations for grooveip tweaks for sound quality? I love tweaking and am always interested what others come up with.

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Prince

    Although I have it setup to forward to google, it never does because I simply don't give out my Ting phone number. I consider and use my google voice number as my only personal phone number. It is set up to ring my mobile and work number during work hours. If someone calls my google number and i'm not on wifi, it will forward to my mobile. I have yet to have any circumstance where using google voice as my primary and only number was not effective and efficient.

    I also use google voice for texting and have texting disabled on my Ting account. Depending on how much you text vs. how much data you use, this can be cheaper. Texting over data (when not on wifi) uses very very small amounts of data.

    While we're on the side topic of tinkering, I'm thinking about using Groove IP and google voice to make calls over data when I'm not on wifi. Again, this depends on how much you talk vs. how much data you use. But this is the kind of tinkering I like. As for settings of Groove IP, I think the settings have great explanations of what they do and how their work; so does their site. Also, I found that asking people about call quality when talking helped me get allot of things right initially. I found that it helped to ask people that "got" what I was doing with voip (is there an echo, delay, do I sound robotic, how is the volume, etc). I know I increased the mic volume in groove, probably a few other minor things...otherwise it was ready to go from install and haven't had a complaint in the two months using it.

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  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    I'm sold on the idea of using GV as you are, I just need to do more testing under various circumstances so I know what is happening under what circumstances; and so I can advise others should asked.  I'm already using the GV for texting with ting texting disabled.  That works fine but I do notice some lag if a period of time passes with no texting.  Example:  open GV app on phone, send text and you may notice it "queuing" for about 30 seconds or so the it will be marked as sent.  Wait a few mins, send another, it is marked as sent with little to no delay and there is no queuing notice.  Perhaps hours later, it may queue again.  Doesn't matter if it's on wifi or 3g.  Have you noticed anything like that Anthony?

    As for the forwarding charges and voicemail:

    Here is my set-up:

    1. GV # forwarded to my Ting #
    2. GV # forwarded to Google Chat
    3. Ting device has voicemail disabled
    4. Ting device has "busy" and "no answer" calls forwarded to my GV #

    I made a call to the Ting #, after 6 rings GVmail answers, message is left then call ends.  On the ting details page, there appeared two "1 min" sessions from the GV# to the Ting# with time stamps that didn't match the time of the aforementioned call.   I'm mainly confused about what triggered those two 1 min charges.  Did the sequence go like this:  Ring x6>  forwards to GV#> GV forwards it back to Ting# while engaging the GVmail?  If so, I suspect it was the forwarding from GVmail to ting# that did it; but that still doesn't explain the two charges.  I suspect that if one were to call the GV#, it would ring the ting number and after 6 rings dump directly into GV without any forwarding.  I'll be transferring a land number I've had my entire adult life to ting so it can't be helped that some folks (rare as it may be) will call that number to trigger the above scenario.  In practice moving forward, I'll just tell everyone to use the GV number as the main for all contact purposes.

    I'll do more testing once I get my own phone next week as my friend got tired of my "meddling" with things (on her phone) and just wanted to use Ting VM for her number.  If something is still unclear to me, I'll say something to Ting support.

    In any event, I hope Sprint eventually eases up on Ting and allows them to enter the same "free forwarding" agreement as the rest of the carriers.  Sprint network issues (I'm looking at you 3g) aside, I see no reason why Ting can't become a major competator to "big cell" within the next year.

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  • Comment author
    Anthony Prince

    Yes, I know exactly the lag you're talking about with Google Voice texting. I have not noticed it much, or perhaps any, since a recent update to Google Voice within the last few weeks.  I found two things in common when GV would seemingly freeze with a "sending" or "queue" message: 1. If I simply had a slow wi-fi/data connection (probably the obvious reason for the "sending" freeze) ; 2. When I was replying to a "old" text, usually from a previous day.  GV text inbox organizes texts by conversation with a person, and by day (I think the exception is when a new thread is started with the same person on the same day). If I was replying to an old text (previous day), I assumed it was creating a new thread.  Example I just tried: Reply to message in Inbox from previous day, It was Queued for several seconds, then a new window popped opened, showing only my sent text (not the entire string). This new window was the Text folder, not the Inbox folder. So I assumed, Google Voice was creating a new thread/folder.  Signing in to my Google Voice via a PC seemed to confirm this; there's a new texting conversation thread.

    Ultimately, I never cared enough to investigate it further, but I just googled "queued google voice text" and saw several of the same. 

     

    As for call forwarding, I have the same setup and the same 1 min charges.

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  • Comment author
    Sagi Quarius

    Understood, I thought as much, thank you.  I've had some complaints of folks hearing my voice cut out for a second but otherwise this set-up works pretty well.  Seems perhaps the voice buffer in grooveIP needs to be increased but I' rather not if I don't need to do so due to increased delay.  For the moment, I've read thru the grooveIP documentation and within my firewall settings have hard coded the phones mac address to an IP address, made that IP address have the highest priority in the QoS and punched holes thru the NAT/firewall for the ports mentioned in the grooveIP documentation.  That way I can be certain there is no interference from my router.  I'm going to contact the grooveIP creator and ask him about stun vs proper forwarding.

    As for the forwarding:  according to the call logs it's the forwarding from GV toTing that is triggering the charge and not the reverse (Ting panel set to forward no answer/busy to GV).  I suspect if I disable the call fowarding to the ting number in GV it won't happen.

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    As promised in my last posted (dated April 17), I'm checking back in to report on my success with the methods described above.  I'm pleased to say that I've been able to successfully replicate Anthony's configuration, and am loving it.  I have not installed anything apart from GrooveIP, as I do not really mind switching my antenna on and off manually.  I spend 90 percent of my day in wifi clouds, so I'll often go days without deactivating airplane mode.  Everything just works.  Thanks to all those who have built so much on my first humble post.

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  • Comment author
    Jeremiah Harris

    Thanks everybody for the comments.  I have replicated the method and everything seems to be working perfectly except for two minor concerns that I am hoping somebody smarter than myself has encountered. . 

    First, has anybody been able receive a multimedia message (MMS) via Google Voice?  I have done some reading and it appears that there are some concerns from Google's end that may be causing these problems.  As of now, the message is sent but nothing ever shows and the sender is never alerted that the message did not go through.  

    My second question relates to outgoing caller ID when I leave the WIFI network and call via the Sprint network.  It appears as if I have to I have to deal with my Ting number showing up rather then my Google Voice number or I have to disable the caller ID and the person on the other end sees that my number is restricted.  Currently I have my outgoing Caller ID disabled to avoid the two number problems (Ting and GV).  Is there some (legal) work around available that allows me to always have my GV number appear on the caller ID when I am not on WIFI? 

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    Jeremiah,

    In response to your issues:

    1. MMS is currently not supported by Google Voice, so the problems you're experiencing are not unique (don't worry!).  Hopefully, this functionality will be added in the future (though GVoice does not receive the same amount of care and attention as other Google services, so we may be waiting longer than we'd like).

    2. To be sure your GVoice number displays on your outgoing caller ID, be sure that you have "Use Google Voice to make all calls" set as your "Making calls" preference in the GVoice app (the Android app, that is; this option can't be set from the web app).  When you make a call, be sure that the phone's native dialer hands the call off to GVoice before proceeding.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Comment author
    Rick Lynch

    Just sent word of the 2 "1-min. charges" problem to ting in the "questions" area of the forum. Would love to see that fixed, so if you're getting this charge and would be willing to click the "would like to see this answered too" (or whatever it's called) button on the forum, it'd be appreciated!

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  • Comment author
    Jeremiah Harris

    Bryan, thanks for your help.  My caller ID works perfectly.  Now I am left hoping that Ting will take care of the 1-minute charges that are appearing in my account.  Hopefully Rick's question to Ting will get their attention.  The question was a little difficult to find so here is the link:  https://help.ting.com/entries/21511822-1-min-charges 

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  • Comment author
    David Sakmar

    If you set the use google voice for all outgoing calls option, does this mean VOIP calls are always made using the available 3g/4g network rather than the cell service available?

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    David: Making a VOIP call with GrooveIP (assuming this is the software you're using to make sure calls) doesn't rely on the GVoice application, but it does rely on a GVoice account.  GrooveIP must log into a GVoice account to function (it tried to do this automatically on launch).  VOIP calls are then passed through GVoice, and your GVoice number is displayed as your outgoing caller ID.  You can configure GrooveIP to place calls through either a wifi network, or over your provider's 3G/4G network.  In either case, the calls originate from your GVoice number displays as your outgoing caller ID.

    You can use the GVoice app to make calls too, but these will always originate from cell service.

    At least, this is my experience.

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  • Comment author
    Kathryn Behrenshausen

    (So sorry for all the typos in that response.  Please let me know if I can clarify anything.)

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  • Comment author
    David Sakmar

    One other question, with GV's option to forward text and MMS to email supported by sprint, does that work with Ting?

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