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Virgin Mobile and Google Voice


  1. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    I recently migrated my entire family from Verizon to Virgin Mobile and so far it's a mostly positive experience, especially since I'm saving $70/month, despite the corporate discount I had with Verizon.

    I was disappointed to discover that I can't use Google Voice's automatic transcription of voicemails (which I used on Verizon with my Droid Eris), since Virgin Mobile doesn't support forwarding of calls.

    Since we Virgin Mobile customers have no contract, I think this might be a good time to port my number to Google Voice. I.e., I'd wait until near the end of my prepaid month, pay Google $20 to port my number and then get a new number (with my existing LG Optimus Slider) from Virgin Mobile. Then I'd forward my Google Voice number to my new Virgin Mobile #, and I'd get my transcribed voicemails. It would also give me the possibility to automatically route calls from my cell phone to home or office.

    Has anyone out there done this with Virgin Mobile? Potential downsides include being without phone service for a few days, and having two potential points-of-failure in my phone service, i.e. both Google Voice and my phone provider (Virgin Mobile for now). Also to avoid people seeing my new number, all my outgoing calls would need to be placed via Google Voice. This doesn't seem so attractive, and I'm concerned about the resulting call quality and coverage issues.

    There's no good opportunity to save money here by placing fewer calls over the VM network, since I'm on the $35 plan and will never come close to using my 300 minutes anyhow.

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  2. bobgee

    bobgee New Member

    Check out Groove IP.
  3. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    Interesting and somewhat related, but of course not addressing the issues I raised in the original post.
  4. sramaswamy

    sramaswamy New Member

    I do have the combination of Google Voice on my landline and a Virgin Mobile cell phone. I ported the number from a landline --> T-Mobile cell phone number --> Google Voice. It took about 24 Hr cycle to port the second half from T-Mobile to Google Voice.

    I do not use my Virgin Mobile number except to pay the monthly charges. Now, I have the forwarding number set to my Virgin Mobile number. As you said, Virgin Mobile does not allow the voice mail to be forwarded to Google Voice. I do receive the message left on the Google Voice reaches me as a text attachment.
    jae_63 likes this.
  5. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, sramaswamy ... do you think that your voice quality is poorer using Google Voice than it would be if you were using Virgin Mobile's airtime natively?

    Have you observed any significant Google Voice downtimes which impede your ability to place and receive calls?

    Any other problems worth noting?
  6. MacFett

    MacFett Well-Known Member

    I have noticed if I call using my voice minute via google talk I get the tinny VoIP sound you get with a slower connection. No problems with that via wifi however. Never tried with 3G.
  7. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    Google Talk uses VOIP the whole way but Google Voice uses your voice connection as a bridge to a high bandwidth voip session.

    http://support.google.com/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1083068

    So one would expect google talk to be tinny over low bandwidth connections but it is less clear what would happen with google voice.
  8. MacFett

    MacFett Well-Known Member

    I meant google voice.
  9. dth202

    dth202 New Member

    I know it this is a late response to the thread, but I think it is important to mention that picture texts do not work through google voice. If you want to be able to send and receive picture texts you will have to do it through your virgin mobile number.

    Why this is annoying:
    1. If someone tries to send you a picture text, say for a new born baby, GV does not notify you that someone tried to send you a picture, plus the person who sent it wont know you didn't get it unless they ask you if you did.
    2. To try to avoid annoyance #1 you give people your VM number and tell them to send all picture texts to you at your VM number, now they have 2 numbers for you, and they often get confused which one they are suppose to be communicating to you on.

    Other than that, I love to be able to respond to texts from my computer, and on those days were I forget my phone at home I can still get voicemail and make calls through gmail chat.
  10. hiwatt

    hiwatt Well-Known Member

    That's a know issue/limitation that GV have been working on for some time now. If I send a pic message to someone with a GV account, it forwards the pic to their Gmail automatically however.
  11. qu4ttro

    qu4ttro Well-Known Member

    I have done exactly what you are talking about, I originally ported my number into Virgin Mobile and used it like that for a few months, then I ported that number to Google Voice and am using it with my VM line. I waited until my billing cycle was almost up, because if you port out before your month is over any remaining minutes are forfeit. I was without service during the port, IIRC texting started working within 24 hours, voice started coming through in about 48 hours. I reactivated my VM phone as if it were a new account, got a new phone number from them, and just set Google Voice to forward to my VM number.

    Using Google Voice is not a hassle at all with Android, just download and sign into the Google Voice app. It automatically places all of your outgoing calls through GV, so you don't have to call into their number, press 1 to accept a call, etc. It's all completely transparent with the GV app. Anyone you call will see your GV number on their caller ID. In my experience, there is no loss of call quality as you are using your cellular voice connection. I have not experienced a GV outage either in the 6+ months that I've had this setup. The one exception is that I have text forwarding turned off (so my texts only show up in the GV app and don't get forwarded again as an SMS) so I'll occasionally get a text late if I don't have a data connection.

    As was mentioned already, MMS (picture messages) will not come through on Google Voice. You can set GV to forward ALL SMS/MMS to your Gmail account, but this is a less than perfect solution. Again, you're doubling (or tripling) your notifications when you receive a standard text message, and the picture messages only seem to get forwarded to Gmail for some people. Officially, GV only supports MMS forwarding to Gmail on Sprint, but there have been sporadic reports of it working on other carriers. Personally, it did not work for me. I still have to have people send picture messages to my VM number, or just have them send it to email (who doesn't have email on their phone now?)

    One additional thing to consider, if you want GV to handle your voicemail (and why wouldn't you?) be sure to set it to pick up before the Virgin Mobile voicemail picks up. Supposedly, you can call VM and completely disable voicemail on your account... I did this, and they told me it was disabled, but it's still there. Easy solution is to just have GV pick up one ring sooner than VM.

    Good luck, and let us know what you do (or did!)
    jae_63 likes this.
  12. jae_63

    jae_63 Well-Known Member

    Many thanks, qu4ttro! I have wimped out on this so far, but will reconsider next month in light of your valuable input.
  13. kcmartz

    kcmartz Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking of doing this, but one thing is stopping me, does the normal Virgin Mobile 3g still work if the number gets ported correctly?
  14. qu4ttro

    qu4ttro Well-Known Member

    As soon as the port initiates, it closes your VM account. So 3G, data, calling, etc will not work. You will have to get a new phone number from Virgin anyway since your existing number is going to Google Voice.

    The way I did this was I initiated the port two days before my billing cycle ended (just in case the port didn't start immediately - it did though) and I removed auto billing from my account. As soon as my VM service cut off (your phone will say "No Service" or something similar) I went online and activated a new account under the same plan with my existing phone. This gets you a new phone number with VM, which you will set as your 'forward to' number on Google Voice.

    The one potential caveat here is if you're on a grandfathered plan, such as the $25/month Android plan. In that case, you should call VM customer service first and tell them you are planning on porting your number out, but want to continue your plan with a new number. Not sure if they can do this, but I'm sure they can tell you your options there.
  15. tlopez1973

    tlopez1973 Well-Known Member

    Don't do it my brother lost his $25 plan because of that. the representative told him it could be done and at the end he lost it.because your number is linked to then $25 plan..if you in a number it it switches you to the 35 dollar plan. in my humble opinion I think that groove ip is the best solution for me :)
  16. mackdieselx27

    mackdieselx27 Member

    This. I just ported over from Big Red. When I was with Verizon I had to give out two numbers to friends and family who are also Verizon subscribers. Part of it was because of the above quote AND because I chose to cut back on the texting plan in favor of GV. The other part was because of mobile-to-mobile. The result? Numerous friends and family members had a hard time trying to figure out which number was to be used for what purpose.

    Now that I moved to VM I just give out and use my GV number exclusively, especially since VM doesn't do call forwarding and there is no longer any kind of "mobile-to-mobile" perk with my mobile number. If someone wants to send me a pic I just tell them to e-mail me.
  17. tishma

    tishma New Member

    Very interesting. I'm new here so forgive me.
    When you call on your cell phone through GV, does VM still charge you minutes for the outgoing call? I assume you get charged by VM for incoming GV calls if the calls are forwarded to your cell phone. Am i correct? Thanks
  18. MacFett

    MacFett Well-Known Member

    VM charges you for both in and out calls using Google voice. The alternative is to use an app such as groove ip which routes your calls through your data connection.
    tishma likes this.
  19. retromind

    retromind Well-Known Member

    It's been a while since this was discussed. I do have a few questions:
    When you port your number to GV, if you have any balance left in you VM account does it freeze? Do they actually cancel your whole account or just your plan?

    And what do you exactly mean by:
    Do I need to configure GV's voicemail before getting a new number from VM?
  20. qu4ttro

    qu4ttro Well-Known Member

    Not sure about this one.

    Yes, they close your whole account. Be sure to initiate the port near the end of your billing cycle so you don't lose too many days that you've paid for. Then, simply activate a new account with your existing phone.

    You don't need to, but some of your calls may be picked up by the Google voicemail and some may make it to your Virgin voicemail. To make them all go to Google Voice, you'll have to either set GV to go to voicemail before Virgin, or call Virgin and ask them to disable voicemail on your account (which I did, and they said they disabled it, but it didn't work.)
  21. retromind

    retromind Well-Known Member

    So were you able to forward call and/or voicemails to your phone from your VM number?
    I tried the 'activate voicemail' in settings and dialed the number but I get that the number I dialed is wrong.
  22. qu4ttro

    qu4ttro Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're asking, but let me take a stab at it. Your Google Voice number will not be tied into your Virgin voicemail at all, no numbers to dial, no standard voicemail icon in the notification bar. Instead, assuming everything is set up right, your voicemail will come through the Google Voice app. You will get a notification in the bar, but it will be a different icon. When you click on it, you will be taken to the Google Voice app, where you can read the voicemail as text or play it as audio.

    Basically, when someone calls your GV number, it goes to Google's servers, which then forward the call to your Virgin phone number (and any other phones you have set up.) As long as GV is set to go to voicemail in fewer rings than Virgin, your call will be sent to GV voicemail. As far as Virgin is concerned, the caller hung up before it hit enough rings for (Virgin's) voicemail to pick up.

    You do have the Google Voice app installed, right? Even if you have GrooveIP, you will still need the Google Voice app too if you want your voicemail to fully function.

    If I didn't hit on what exactly you were asking, let me know. :thumbup:
  23. qu4ttro

    qu4ttro Well-Known Member

    One more thing: where are you clicking "Activate voicemail?" In the phone settings or in the Google Voice app settings? You shouldn't need to dial a number to get to your voicemail with GV...
  24. MacFett

    MacFett Well-Known Member

    It is an option in Google voice, it sets up your voicemail to forward to your google voicemail so if a call does go to your carrier's voicemail it sends it directly to google voice.

    Virgin USA doesn't allow any call forwarding.
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