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
  • I found a bit more information here:

    "Telephone numbers are assigned to "Local Exchange Carriers", or LECs.  Originally, these were just the Bell Operating Companies and a couple of others (e.g. the company formerly known as General Telephone).  After deregulation, those companies were called Incumbent LECs, or ILECs.  The competing carriers, called CLECs, and the mobile carriers, are assigned various blocks of area code-prefix combinations in various exchanges.  A given LEC can't pick from any phone number in the universe of numbers in an area code.  Google mainly obtains numbers from a CLEC called  bandwidth.com.  If a carrier doesn't have any presence on the switch, on the block of numbers your number falls under, then you are SOL."

    http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/voice/L_isDWeuOAc/NHP-j9-2Cr4J

    Even though my cell number can be ported to Ting (I just happened to have a Ting rep suggest I check it with them) it can't be ported to Google evidently. Google seems to be more limited with their block of numbers.  

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  • I thought I should add this link if you are thinking about porting your number to Google, it might save you a lot of pain to check first:

    https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/porting

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  • I have a similar situation with a business number. I am considering using a very cheap burner phone for the first part of the process and then port to GV. I have taken to following drug dealers waiting for them to toss their phones in the trash. The movies and TV episodes show all drug dealers tossing out phones on a regular basis. Shouldn't be long now. ;) 

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  • If you really need to keep the same number, and I have had a conversation with a Ting support rep about this, you could port your current number to Ting, that will be a $6 charge, then port that same number to Google Voice, you will then need to be provisioned with another number by Ting, that will be another $6 charge. I was told that this should be possible, it will cost a few bucks to pull off but it should work. I opted to just switch my main contact number to the Google Voice number I chose when I first signed up for it rather than hop that many times to keep my current phone number. I hope that helps.

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  • @Brad, I would guess that wouldn't be an option for me because my issue isn't because mine was a business number?

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  • @Mike

    I would try. Google does have restrictions which may not apply to Ting or apply in the same way. I had considered Ting but didn't want to become a PITA to Ting which is why I thought of the burner phone. If it was a suggestion from Ting and an acceptable method I would give it a try. No harm if it also doesn't work. 

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  • You may want to run your scenario past a Ting rep on their support line first, but I was led to believe that they should be able to port a number from Ting to Google Voice. If you can port your number to Ting, there is a decent chance you should be able to move it from Ting to GV.

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  • Ting can't port a number TO Google Voice. Google will need to port a number from Ting. The process is Ting ports your old number to Ting. Then from Google you port the number from Ting to GV. Porting the number from Ting will deactivate the Ting phone. You will then need to call Ting to get a new number applied to your Ting phone and reactivate the phone. Porting from Ting to GV takes almost exactly 24 hours. Your Ting phone will be active until that 24 hours is up so start the process so that it is convenient and Ting is available by phone. 

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  • You got me Zarthan, on a technicality no less. So I misspoke in exactly how I said it would occur, yes Ting wouldn't port a number to GV, GV would pull the number from Ting. The basic premise of my statement stands though. I have not done it myself however.

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  • @Brad

    Your basic premise does stand and I just wanted to clarify the process. I have gone through the process from Sprint to GV a couple of times and based on your earlier post I will give Ting a call for my situation.    

    Porting a land line from one provider to another can take weeks. Cellphones form carrier to carrier on the other hand are usually processed while you wait. Many years ago when number portability was first introduced I did port a land line to a cell phone. I don't remember how long it took but it seems like it was closer to the land line time frame. 

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  • 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.

    Mike, my situation is somewhat similar (my Verizon strength is fine, but the phone keeps flapping between the terrible Sprint signal and the good VZ one).  You might want to check out the Roam Control app; it's the only real solution, unless you get an AirRave.  Maybe Sprint did some fixes in my area; it's not quite as bad as it was.

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  • B -  I am currently testing an Airave.  I hope that will be the answer.  (still doing some testing)  I thought about Google voice but my numbers can't be ported to Google.  (some can't depending on location and other variables - like a business number)  And Roam Control doesn't seem to be compatible with my model of phone - LG

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  • I'm another one who's having difficulty with the call quality when using GrooVe IP. I'm going back to using the voice plan. I don't talk on the phone that much, and its not worth it to have my calls routed thru an app that makes my voice inaudible just to save $3 a month. NOTE: I have a vocal cord disorder (Spasmodic Dysphonia) which makes my voice weak & breathy, and it's often hard for people to hear me, especially on the phone. However, people had no trouble hearing me on my Galaxy 3 when I was using the regular voice plan with Google Voice. (And yes, I did turn the mic gain on the GrooVe IP app all the way up).

    I'm posting this simply as further info for those considering (but not yet using) GrooVe IP.

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  • I just ordered my Ting phone and I am eager to join the community. I read thru this thread as much as I could before I got lost in some of it. Can someone answer some questions?

    I work at home and I am there about 90% of the time during the day and have great wifi. When at home I would like calls to my cell phone to either

    1. Forward to my landline

    or

    1. Receive them via wifi

    What do I need to do for option 1?

    After reading this thread thru, for option 2 it appears I need to have GoogleVoice and GrooveIP or similar app. I've never used GV and I have no clue what it offers and how to set it up. I seem to recall some sort of issue porting numbers to GV from Sprint and back when it first started, so I was leery to try. I am confused as what I should do with what phone number. All of my clients have my current cell number and I do not want to have to inform all of them of a new phone number. I was planning on porting my number to Ting. If I need GV for either option, would it be better for me to port my current cell number to GV and have Ting assign my cell phone a new number? I am just not sure of all the steps I need to pull this off properly. I have a feeling I need to read thru this thread a couple times to figure some of these steps out.

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  • Option 1 should be simple. First I would log onto Google Voice website (the link should be in a previous post I made) and be sure your number can be ported to Google. (You didn't specify if you have an existing number with another carrier or if you will be porting the Ting number.)    If it's with another carrier, you just go onto Google's site and port it over. (you will need some specific info, also explained in a previous post) Then you put in your Ting # and your landline number. 

    If you don't have a current number at another carrier, you just open up a new Google Voice account and use the number they give you.

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  • @Karl

    Instead of having your current cell phone number ported to your new Ting phone you could have your current cell phone number ported to Google Voice. Once the number is ported to Google Voice you can have the Google Voice number forward to your new Ting number AND your landline at the same time. If you are at home, simply answer on the landline. If you are out and about, answer on the Ting phone. If you have an Android Ting phone then you can install Google Voice. If you make a call from the Ting phone you can choose to have the call appear to come from your original cell number using Google Voice or from the number assigned to your Ting phone. 

    GroveIP is only necessary if you want to use VOIP using Google Voice. 

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  • @Karl:

    I've been using Google voice over 3 years and seldom a problem but many would advise against using Google Voice with a business.

    Users can not directly contact Google if something goes wrong.

    It's a great management tool but if your communications are an important part of your lively-hood then you may want to reconsider the free option.

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  • Thank you for the replies.

    I am currently a Sprint customer. I believe I can port my number to Google Voice with having to pay the $20 fee. I guess if I want to try it out, I should do it before I switch from Sprint.

    If I go this route and setup GV to ring my home line as well as my cell, what happens when my home answering machine picks up the call? I am guessing I need to set it for more rings so GV will take the message instead?

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  • The Sprint GV integration isn't the same as a ported number and it doesn't "stick" when you leave Sprint.. It  will give you taste but make sure you do an official GV port before leaving Sprint. 

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  • Ahh okay. Thank you for the heads up.

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  • Should have added that when you "Officially" port your number to GV your Sprint phone will be deactivated immediately. If you still want Sprint service you will need to re activate.

    Sprint GV integration does not have the same same issue. 

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  • I definitely have some things to think about then. Thank you all for your responses.

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  • I currently have Google Voice + Sprint integration (which is different than just using Google Voice with a Sprint number). I have a few questions:

     

    1. Are there any issues in switching an integrated number to Ting?

    2. Am I correct that I cannot actually have the same integration with TIng but instead simply add my phone to Google Voice as anyone with another carrier might have to do?

    3. What differences should I know about from how it works with Ting vs with Sprint integration?

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  • There should be no issues. Sprint integration is lost when you switch.

    You are correct. To get the same effect as Sprint integration you need to port your number to GV. 

    You do have two numbers - - the cell number and your GV number and you can use them independently. You can set the GV app to prompt when you make a call to choose which number to use. You can then have a personal and a business number or wife and girlfriend or . . . With GV you do loose MMS. MMS will work directly to the phone however. Can cause confusion and have dire consequences in the wife girlfriend scenario. ;-) 

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  • Anyone had experience Ting charging for more (much more) minutes when using GV to dial out?  I got charged an hour for a 5-minute call.

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  • @Jim

    Call Ting support. It sounds like perhaps like the call didn't hang up or the Google side of the call didn't.

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  • I put in a ticket.  I am just wondering whether this may be a common occurrence, in which case I need to rethink my strategy.

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  • @Jim

    I didn't have any issues with GV and Sprint over a couple of years. I had a business number with GV and my personal cell number. I made and received business calls through the phone without issue. I expect this is just some anomaly but worth checking. 

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  • I've just started using the app I saw suggested here,  AutoAir, to switch between Airplane Mode with GrooveIP, and cell calling + data when leaving my wifi area. 

    The problem: AutoAir turns bluetooth off when it turns Airplane Mode on. That's a bummer as when I get in the car, I've still got a wifi signal. The car starts and can't find my phone because the phone bluetooth is off. So I would have to remember to turn bluetooth on at some point before starting the car, and that kind of defeats the whole no-hands transition idea.

    Anyone have a good solution to this? I did 

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  • Sorry, that last comment was cut off. I did not find any solution so far, maybe use tasker or something. 

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