Newbie to Smartphones & Google Voice!

I have recently purchased and activated two Samsung Transform Ultra devices (with 2 new phone #’s) , one  from Ting (refurb) & the other from Craig’s List (device wasn’t  available from Ting at the time). I am new to the smartphone world and need clarification on several topics before I terminate my Sprint Service:

*Background: *

As it stands now, my Ting projected costs are $55 using 2000 voice minute (I actually averaged about 1,300 actual mins for both Sprint Lines), 1000 texts, and 100mb data bytes. I have been paying $50 a month on a grandfathered -  Powerpack 1000 minute Sprint plan (customer since 1997). Though I had all kinds of free perks, such as 200 extra minutes, mobile to mobile, Pick 3, 1000 texts each line, $20 credit on account for 2 years, currently $25 credit for next 2 months, etc., I never negotiated free data! Now, unless I change my plan and triple my costs TO $150, I will not be able to have a smartphone on my account. Basically, I am forever stuck using feature phones.  As another option, If  I want to add data to each line it would be $15 per line.  Hence, bringing total cost of plan to $80. Sure, I could negotiate, and probably get the data plan charges reduced, but I still would be would be stuck with using feature phones.

Long story short:

* With Ting, I would essentially be paying the same amount as I was with Sprint (or possibly/probably less!) for two lines of service, BUT with upgraded devices. I have played around with the Samsung Transform Ultra and I love it! I actually had considered getting (investing in) the Samsung Galaxy SIII, but I am satisfied with my device choice for now because I still like using the QWERTY keyboard. *

I absolutely want to keep my two phone numbers from Sprint! However with Line #1, I am interested in utilizing the Google Voice/ GrooveIP** option to reduce my voice minute and text charges.  I have Wi-Fi Access at home, work and many other locations that I frequent. Line #2 is for my sister and I need to keep her device usage uncomplicated – she uses more texts than calls, and I have informed her of how to utilize Wi-Fi for data whenever possible. **

My questions:

***QUESTION #1:

Is this the best process to follow to keep Sprint # and to be able to use Google Voice/ GrooveIP?

** https://help.ting.com/entries/20993213-using-google-voice-on-your-ting-phone?page=1       POST BY JOE MENDEZ ,SEPTEMBER 2,2012**

Step-1: Purchase and active your Ting handset.  You will get a Ting phone number (which you will never give to anyone).

Step-2: Port your Sprint number to Google Voice.  Costs $20 and takes 24 hours.  

Step-3: After your Sprint number has been ported to GV, add the Ting phone number to GV.

Step-4: On your android Ting phone, open the GV app.  Click on Menu > Settings > Making Calls.  Select "Use Google Voice to make all calls"

After that, I am not totally clear on the next step in the process to set up **GrooveIP. To be honest, all the information is a little overwhelming, and I would not beat all upset with just paying the approximately $55 per month!!! However . . . it seems that I could significantly cut down on my voice/text charges. Thus, my question is: What is the next step to utilize GrooveIP?**

***QUESTION #2:

What is the best time to take action to make the changes? I would like to avoid being without service for an extended period of time.

***QUESTION#3:

I am definitely a newbie to Smartphones and I am curious about the prompting to enter my Google account info. I do have an account that I rarely use, but I am thinking about creating another one to use because the 1st one is basically my given name at google.com. I have a slight sense of “Big Brother” is watching! Is using a Google account really required to access the many features of the phone?

***QUESTION#4:

Is there a way to transfer numbers from current Sprint phone to the Ting Samsung Transform Ultra? Such as taking it to a Sprint store and they could do the transfer?  Or, would it be best to enter in contact info into Google account so that it could (somehow) be transferred to my device?  Or, would I have to do it the old-fashioned way, by entering contacts one-by-one?

***QUESTION#5:

Are there other APPS I should consider adding that could help me to better manage my device/account? I have seen the Tasker APP mentioned?

Thank you for your assistance!

 

 

 

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Comments

3 comments
  • Hi K B,

    I'm going to do my best to answer some of these questions as appropriate from a Ting support perspective.

    1 - I'll leave this to the community to answer, though my inclination is that yes, it is the best method as if it likely would have been updated already if it weren't.

    On the other hand, if you find a better way, please do share it with us.

    2 - The best time to port your phone number to Ting is when you a) know all of the information about the Sprint account that you'll be transferring the number from (account number, billing info...); 2) when you're in an area where you're getting a good network data signal with your Ting phone so you can complete the device activation once the port completes; and 3) when you want it to.

    A port submitted with correct account info should complete within a few hours, but one submitted with incorrect info can drag on indefinitely. Technically this doesn't really matter as goes interrupting your service, as the Sprint phone will keep working until the number is with Ting.

    The more important aspect here has to do with the network data signal (meaning no Wi-Fi), as once the port is complete, your phone will be a virtual local network only brick until you complete the hands free activation on the device itself.

    3 - Yes, you'll need a Google account to make full use of the phone, and if you have any disinclination to using your primary Google account, go ahead and create a secondary one. It's entirely up to you

    4 - Some of the most common ways of transferring contacts include are via microSD, Bluetooth, or your Google Account contacts (e.g. through Gmail or another Android phone).

    5 - I'll leave this one to the community as well.

    Cheers!

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  • Google Voice only uses the G.711 mu-law Voice over IP codec, which is designed for wired, not wireless (WiFi) IP use, and does not use compression to save bandwidth.  Hence, it depends on sending a clear, clean stream of data over a reliable connection.  It will break up and distort often over WiFi, because it assumes a relatively robust, low-latency connection, and it can't easily recover from WiFi issues.  Talkatone and GrooveIP can't do much about this, and call quality will be unreliable. If you happen to have a very strong WiFi connection, you may be satisfied with using those apps over WiFi.

    If you don't care about any of those limitations, and your main interest is free calls go for it.  But if you want better call quality, pick another solution like the OBI http://www.obihai.com/googlevoice.html at home and use your native Ting service outside the house placing calls through Google voice using the GV app to route your calls so that your contacts aren't confused with different numbers showing up.

    I have a very strong connection and a great Linksys N router but my results with WiFi are unrerliable being poor most of the time but through the ATA are undisernable to a quality landline connection.

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  • I should point out I am only responding to the last part of your question #1 regarding GrooveIP. The bit by Joe Mendez 1 - 4 sounds good.

    You can check that your mobile number can be ported here https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/porting

    if the message you get is Ooops! This number appears to be from an area we don't currently support.

    you will not be able to port your number to Google Voice.

     

    #3 Nothing wrong with a dedicated account.

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