What happens if Google stops allowing free calls?

I am planning switching to Ting soon and taking advantage of the ability to use my Google Voice number to make all of my calls from home over wi fi.  The only question looming is, what happens when/if Google decides to stop allowing free calls over GV?  A lot of the benefit (in my case) of Ting flies out the window.

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16 comments
  • I can see the benefit right now for making calls via GV and WiFi (by using something like GrooveIP).

    However, most cellphone users still need a cellphone network to make calls while driving, at the park, at the store . . . anywhere where there is no WiFi. 

    Are you assuming that you do not ever need a cellphone tower/provider?

    Maybe I misunderstood your question. 

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  • Sorry, I wasn't very clear.  I was referring to using GrooveIP to make calls over WiFi, thus limiting the amount of minutes used and keeping my bill down, since 90% of my calls are when I'm on WiFi.  If Google stops providing this for free, then I'm assuming GrooveIP will stop working.

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  • You are right in that Google Voice only extends the "free Google Voice" service at the beginning of every year.

    So, far they have continued to make it free.

    So, if they start charging, I would suspect it would be more of a flat yearly or monthly fee. . . and hopefully not a metered fee use (by each call made).

    To answer your question, I think we will have to wait until Google does start charging. 

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  • I can't imagine the price being very high if they do end up charging for US calls. I plan to go with GV and if for some reason they started charging some crazy fee I'll just port the number back to my Ting phone and drop GV.

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  • Agreed, if Google Voice stops working, just sign up with a reputable VoIP service provider. Google Voice's call quality sucks anyhow, you'll get crystal clear calls (that put cellular and landlines to shame) if you're willing to spend 1.5 cents/minute on calls.

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  • Ryan (or others)  You said GV call quality sucks.  I was going to ask that very question.  I wondered if I was using GV as my ported number from ATT, if the quality of the calls would be lower on my Ting phone?

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  • I have used Google Voice for 2 years.  My quality over my wifi (6mbps down 1 mbps up) is fine when using google chat n my conputer.  I have never been able to get.Groove IP to work sufficiebtntly: lots if static, latency and dropped calls.  I am using Optimus Elite.  Using Google Chat allows you to make calla without using,minutes.  Any received calls that are answered use minutes.  Personally I will continue using google voice even if they start charging.  But I live in a dead zone where no carriers service works well.  I am still on Virgin Mobile and have great call quality when answering calls on my cell phone.  Virgin uses Sprint network just like Ting does.  Now Sprint does own Virgin Mobile but I don't see this would make any difference in call quality.  The only way to really know if call quality is good enough for you is to try it. I also used GV on Sprint &.AT&T   I saw no difference in quality of calls on my cell between any of these carriers.

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  • Still no announcement from Google.  Seems like in past years they announced it by now.  I'm curious to know.

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  • @Benjamin Jones:

    Google Voice only uses the G.711 mu-law Voice over IP codec, which is designed for wired, not wireless use.

    Using GrooveIP over WiFi deals with latency issues that Talkatone and GrooveIP can't properly deal with.

    Call quality will vary may be unreliable.

    For home use a wired ATA like the OBI is giving people quality results based on the comments. I use a PAP2.

    @Matthew Scott:

    The announcement will be posted soon.

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  • The cost overhead for Google probably is very little.  Given how well the company is doing, I don't foresee them charging anything.  Perhaps if the company starts to slip they might start charging, but given their momentum it wouldn't be for quite a few years yet.  The cellular arena is changing so fast that it's way too hard to predict how things will be a few years from now.  But you can bet there will be other options available.  You won't be stuck.  Worst case scenario is that you have to pay $20 to port your number to a system that is financially favorable for you.

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  • What I did was setup a PBX server using "PBX in a Flash" from http://pbxinaflash.net/ and free SIP service for Google Voice from here https://simonics.com/gvgw/

    Follow the guide from here to get GV setup on your PBX. http://nerdvittles.com/?p=832 You'll get inbound working through as many GV numbers as you want, and outbound will be through just one GV number, with the other as backups.

    Set your router to forward the necessary ports to your PBX system(or virtual server if you went that way) and you're set. Use any Android SIP app or android's built-in internet calling to log-in to your pbx from anywhere you have wifi OR 3g/4g.

    You can mess with codecs in the settings of the server if you want, but I have no idea if it will change anything if GV only uses the one codec.

    Now use GV Integration to get all your texts going in and out through your GV number over your data(wifi or 3g/4g.

     

    When all is said and done, you'll have all of your calls and texts happening over wifi or 3g/4g when wifi isn't available. So no need for texts at all on your plan, and very few minutes, unless you insist on making calls straight from your Ting number. To estimate the amount of data you would use for X minutes on various codecs, use this calculator. http://www.faktortel.com.au/support/faq/basics/q16.php

    I currently have 4 Google Voice numbers on my phone that work all at the same time(calls only go out through one number though, but you can switch which number to call out on). The only thing I need now, is to figure out how to setup different ringtones for each GV number. Android doesn't have the functionality built-in. At least with the PBX I get a ton of extra features, like intercom, call recording, wake-up calls, my own voicemail system, and countless other features that I don't even know how to BEGIN to use. Trying to find out how to setup a voice-operated automated response system thingamajig.

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  • Forgot to mention. Even though the PBX is setup to send all calls out through the same GV number, the way you'll setup each extention, the other person will still see the correct caller id. So if your number is 555-1234, but the server uses 555-9999 for all outbound calls, you'll have it set so that other people will still see 555-1234 on their caller id.

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  • Damn, a third post. Really wish I could edit my posts. My final point, I swear.

    Just want to point out why my post is relevant to the topic. Because your phone is communicating with your own server, rather than directly with Google, you can choose your own codecs. So if you choose one that will use very small amounts of data, you can keep data usage low a.k.a. cheap. Now, since the server is free(unless you buy an old pc off Craigslist to run it, max $30), the SIP service is free, and your data is cheap, even if Google starts charging what I assume would be a very reasonable monthly or yearly fee, you still come out on top. Your service should still be nice and cheap(nearly free anytime you have wifi), plus you get the ability to add tons of cool features to your phones. You can even offer free voip Google numbers to your friends and family if you wanted. Free international calling, anyone?

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  • Daniel:

    Be sure you test thoroughly whenever you make a codec change.

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  • Daniel, it sounds like an intriguing set up and obviously quite cost effective.  The only caveat is that you've got to have your server running all the time.  If there's ever a power outage, it'll fail to function.  At least you've always got the Ting number possible through 3G/4G if the local cellular towers are still functioning.

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