Using Google Voice on your Ting phone

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.

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Comments

404 comments
  • The GV calls from the computer to a landline or a cellphone are free. With GrooveIP (there are other apps that work the same way with GV) you can also make cell to landline or cell. While GrooveIP can use your cell dataplan it will be more expensive per minute than using cell minutes so set GrooveIP to use wifi only.    

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  • More confusion here. I have read on earlier posts here (06/2012 & not answered) and over at Google Voice(10/2011)  that mms messages are not supported on GV?  (I also did a search at Google Voice)   

    So still no mms messaging with GV?

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  • @Mike,

    That is (unfortunately) correct.  No MMS on GV. 

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  • GV MMS support is still pretty much a no for the time being. It's a work in progress, I think it will be a reality someday.

    For the time being, they have enabled MMS to email forwarding for Sprint customers ( I have no idea if Ting would be in on this, I would guess no since we don't have native GV support)

    Read more here: http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/google-voice-mms-is-slowly-rolling-out-20111014/

    And here: http://lifehacker.com/5849679/google-and-sprint-begin-rolling-out-mms-support-for-google-voicesort-of

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  • ....For the time being, they have enabled MMS to email forwarding for Sprint customers ( I have no idea if Ting would be in on this, I would guess no

    Correct, MMS only works with Sprint integration.

    ...since we don't have native GV support)

    We don't have Sprint integration (benefits of porting without paying for it) but we do have full android GV support. Sprint integration (other than the MMS) is nothing more than selecting to use your Sprint number as your GV number without porting

    http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/sprint-integrates-google-voice.html

    http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/google-voice-and-sprint-integration-is.html

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  • Just a small comment on Groove IP. I've had it for a while (paid version) on other phones, tried to set it up on my new Ting GS3, but no amount of tweaking would remove static, which actually got quite disturbing, making me sound as if I was stuttering.

    However, there is a new kid on the block: Talkatone.  It's not really new, has long been the iOS equivalent of Groove IP, but it gor recently ported to Android.  Does not offer as many settings / options as Groove IP, but voice clarity is a lot better - at least for me.

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  • Thanks for chiming in Zoli. Welcome to Ting!

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  • Zoli, thanks for your comment. I have GrooveIP running on two Ting phones. Let me say that GrooveIP is ok and relatively useable for many calls. However my opinion of it has degraded somewhat since I last spoke about it here. GrooveIP seems to be a bit scratchy along with audio cutting out for the person on the other end of the line more often than I would like, this is speaking for calling over Wifi, I haven't tested it extensively over 3G since the point of this is to make Wifi calls. Let me say that GrooveIP could stand to make bigger strides in improving voice quality, especially for the person on the other end of the line, in my experience.

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  • You may have a point with Talkatone. I downloaded it free from the Google Play store, signed into it and called a friend who was on a regular cell phone. I talked to him for a few minutes on GrooveIP and Talkatone over my home wifi, strong signal for both. In his opinion the winner is Talkatone, he says it sounds better. Keep in mind this is the paid version of GrooveIP vs the free and untweaked Talkatone. I will do some additional testing but initially Talkatone is making a case for supplanting GrooveIP on my phone.

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  • ...and then you have another case on the same day, later I made a call to another person using Talkatone first then GrooveIP, still in an area with good wifi strength, stayed in the same place for both calls so that variable is controlled. The verdict from this person, both were fine, GrooveIP sounded noticeably better. So confused...

    I'm starting to think that all of these VOIP programs are just a case of YMMV, see what works best and go with it. It's hard to tell you with any certainty what works best in all or most cases.

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  • I don't think it's so much the program as the network and servers involved -- at the least you're running through Google's SIP-PSTN gateways, and on top of that you may be routing through the software provider's servers too (e.g. Talkatone's).  Theoretically you'd get better results with your own dedicated SIP gateway -- that's kind of what I'd like to see Ting provide us for more seamless WiFi calling....

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  • Getting back to the original subject (GV)...   Besides that mms is not supported on GV, what other negatives (if any)  might GV have when used with Ting?  (Using GV as my public number and not giving out the Ting number)     

     

    I was thinking about porting my ATT numbers over to GV and then forward calls to my Ting phones and possibly to my home number.  (At my home my Ting phone is roaming to Verizon)  Although I can still receive a call at home on Ting, I could also just pick up my home land line since GV can send the call to both. That way I wouldn't be burning minutes on Ting.    Thoughts?

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  • Mike, personally I'm wary of using Google Voice for lots of reasons -- including reliability, privacy, LATENCY, convenience, and the simple fact that because you're not paying for it you have little recourse when service degrades or disappears.  I'd rather Ting provide its own WiFi Calling (they've actually responded positively to my feature request) or use my own paid SIP provider of some kind, or even Skype.  Besides, my existing VoIP provider can already do much of what GV does including "simulring".

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  • @Mike:

    I've been running that way for 3 years, seldom a glitch.

    If you decide to go VoIP I recommend SIP over XMPP

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  • @B Ting

    The issues/concerns you're referring to only apply to using a VoIP program (e.g. GrooVeIP, Talkatone) to make Google Voice calls, which is not what Mike is asking about.

    @Mike

    Similar to Robin, I have been using Google Voice for about 2 years (forwarding calls to my cellular number). The past year, I have also been routing these calls via VoIP when on Wi-Fi. I do experience occasional latency when on VoIP, but using VoIP is not necessary to use Google Voice (it just reduces your cellular usage). I have not ever had issues using Google Voice via a standard phone call connection (cellular/landline). The only negative I can think of for what you're describing is the $20 that Google Voice will charge to port your numbers (per line).

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  • Thanks David, I realize that the discussion had drifted over to VoIP and thought there was a bit of confusion.  I'm not really worried about using minutes so I wasn't considering using VoIP.  The main thing that attracted me to GV was it's flexibility of routing calls etc.

    GV allows you block calls and texts from spamers doesn't it?  I thought it had a "spamer's" database.    Have you used GV "groups" in routing some calls?  

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  • @Mike, absolutely, I've been using groups, block list for years, it's a major help.

    Another benefit of GV is the "lifetime" number... we're all happy with Ting (hey, we're all newbies here), but who knows what the future brings, it's nice to not have to change numbers with a provider change. 

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  • @Mike

    Correct, GV has a phone number spam DB and allows you to block numbers in that DB. I used to use GV to route certain contact groups differently (when I had a work landline), and it worked very well. It uses the existing (or new) groups in your Google contact list, which is handy. I don't use that feature anymore, but only because I personally don't have a practical reason to do so.

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  • I did have an issue with the Google contact list/groups. It seems that anything added to the pre-defined "Friends" or "Family" groups do not sync up to Google for some reason. I had to create 'My Friends' and put them in there to get it to sync up.

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  • @Mike:

    I noticed you used the plural when you mentioned porting AT&T number*s*

    Due to the way GV maps cell phones for SMS text messaging, a cell phone can only be associated with one GV account. but any phone set as type=home or type=work can be associated with two GV accounts.

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  • Robin - So you just have to set up a separate GV account for each cell number?  And you can have the same numbers to forward to on both?  

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  • @Mike:

    You can have up to 6 phones associated with one GV account any combination. I have 3 mobiles and 3 SIP. we share the number between two of us and for us that setup works great YMMV, one mobile is a $10.00 per year prepay that we havent retired yet. the extra SIP numbers just happened from testing and such a few years ago but having backups is good sometimes ;)

    The issue is when someone opens a second GV account and wants to forward it to the mobiles that are set up on the first account. I see hundreds of request for this functionality.

    A Phone identified as** type=mobile** can only be used on one account due to the way GV maps cell phones for SMS text messaging

    But you can forward your GV from two accounts to your landline or type=home **I share my SIP numbers on 2 accounts (type=home** and type=work are the same)

    Some people that really need to be able to receive calls from two GV numbers on one mobile will simply change the setting to type=home on both accounts at the expense of the SMS forwarding to the mobile. the phone it's self and the GV app are still able to receive SMS though

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  • David, I'm not sure what you mean -- the reservations I mentioned ("wary of using Google Voice for lots of reasons -- including reliability, privacy, LATENCY, convenience, and the simple fact that because you're not paying for it you have little recourse when service degrades or disappears") have NOTHING to do with any particular software, and they are all worrying factors in using plain old Google Voice.  You're getting a free service with no "consideration" or recourse.

     

    Though of course it's good to hear that it works for you.

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  • @B Ting:

    I understand what you mean, and should've been more clear in my response. What I meant by that was that over the past 2 years I have been using Google Voice, I have not experienced any of the issues you expressed concern about (with the exception of using GV over VoIP).

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  • Cool.  I've got to try it more often (had an account since Grand Central).  Other than the Googleopoly concerns and fear of latency, the other other thing that bugged me was the "press key to answer" business.

     

    I've looked at paid competitors to GV but haven't really found anything great.  RingCentral, eVoice, etc.  Thanks.

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  • You can disable the "press key to answer" prompt in GV settings in your browser under the Calls tab. Just disable Call Screening.

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  • Thanks!  Huh, I probably knew that at one point too.  :)

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  • Today I believe almost all of our phone calls --land line or cell-- involve packet switching somewhere along their travels. Once there is a more complete LTE buildout I think all our mobile calls will start moving from circuit switched to packet switched possibly even within the next two years. Considering that most of the home cable / phone or DSL / phone bundles are VOIP it shouldn't be long there as well. 

    I too have been using GV for a couple of years and haven't experienced any issues. I will say that I trust Google far more than I trust ANY of the big cell phone providers. As for convenience, how great is it to have two numbers on your cell. 

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  • Iv'e been exploring using Google Voice on my Ting phone.  I ran across this message at Google's website after keying in my current ATT phone number:

    "Porting your mobile number to Google Voice is unavailable

    Your mobile number can not be ported at this time.
    - This number appears to be from an area we don't currently support for porting."

    This has put a cramp in my plans.  Google's site wasn't very helpful with an explanation.

    Does anyone here know the reason Google can't port my number?

    Besides the options Google Voice gives, it could also ring my home phones. This would help me because I have very poor signal strength in my house.  My phone is roaming back and forth to Verizon. At times I lose all connection.   (There is an "x" above my signal strength bars) When I roam over to Verizon I get a green triangle, sometimes even a bar or two. When it flips back to Sprint, I rarely get even one bar.

     

    « Back

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  • Mike:

    Your right about Google being a little vague about reasons I have no idea why.

    You can try to see that the number can be ported here http://www.google.com/voice/b/0/porting

    Your number could have been associated with a corporate account or one of the few areas not supported for any number of reasons.

    Google Voice blocks a handful of US telephone numbers that charge excessive "termination" fees. but if you can forward your calls to the number then it's probably blocked from porting due to it being in a corporate block at some point in it's history.

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