If the part of Google Voice that most appeals to you is transcribed, web-accessible voicemail, you don’t need to transition to a new number. A single phone call and settings tweak can send all your unanswered calls to Google Voice.
It’s not a new trick by any means, but conditional call forwarding isn’t a trick that cell phone carriers go out of their way to explain to new customers. Put simply, there are codes you can punch into nearly any cell phone to make it forward calls that you don’t pick up because you’re busy, out of range or powered off, or simply not answering, to another number. Make that second number your Google Voice number and set Google Voice to “Do Not Disturb,” and it’ll pick up the call forward instantly, just like your primary voicemail.
T-Mobile and AT&T (known as “GSM carriers”) follow a fairly standard forwading scheme outlined at Wikipedia’s helpful call forwarding page, linked below. The Howard Forums site is a great resource for discovering other forwarding codes, including those for Verizon and Sprint. Take heed, however, as not all call forwarding is free. T-Mobile users get 500 minutes of forwarding free with most plans, for example, while Sprint users report forwarding fees of $0.10-$0.20 per minute, so it may not be worth the voicemail switch-over.
Got another helpful call forwarding trick you’ve used? Tell us about it in the comments. Thanks Alexander!Call forwarding [Wikipedia]
October 6, 2009
Use Google Voice Voicemail Without Changing Numbers [Voicemail]