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Google Voice to roll out free to Sprint customers

Mar 21, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Sprint's Nexus S 4G Android phone will offer the first pre-installed access to the Google Voice VoIP service — which will soon be available for download onto any CDMA-based Sprint smartphone. Sprint customers can use their existing numbers as Google Voice numbers, and have access to cheap international calls, call screening and routing, and personalized greetings features, says the carrier.

As we reported earlier today, Sprint's 4G version of Google's Samsung-manufactured Nexus S will ship with the Google Voice VoIP and call management technology. In addition to being pre-installed on the upcoming Nexus S 4G (right), the technology will also soon be made available for all Sprint CDMA customers, says Sprint. 

With Google Voice, Sprint customers can have a single contact number, and a single call can be made to ring their mobile phone, home phone and office, or a total of up to six devices, says the carrier. Alternatively, calls to all phones can be routed to just their mobile phone.

Users can also set up the service to block certain numbers, send selected numbers straight to voice mail, or route certain numbers to one device - for example, routing calls from the boss to their office phone. In addition, customers can receive transcribed voice mail, read or listen to voice mail online, and read, send, and search text messages online, says Sprint. Customizations such as personalized greetings are also possible.

Using Google Voice, Sprint customers can also enjoy low international rates, says Sprint. For example, rates run as low as two cents a minute to Argentina or seven cents a minute to Zambia.

On Jan. 25, Google announced that number portability had become a part of Google Voice, so users could keep their longtime phone numbers and apply them to their Google Voice accounts. That ability, however, was offered with a one-time $20 fee, What's more, activating it resulted in the termination of a user's contract with their carrier and potentially an early-termination fee — $350 should Verizon, for example, be that carrier.

Stated Kevin McGinnis, vice president of product and technology development at Sprint, "As part of our partnership with Google, our customers will appreciate having the easiest set-up experience of any wireless carrier for Google Voice across all of our CDMA phones, using their existing Sprint phone number."


To sign up for Google Voice, Sprint customers can visit Google's Google Voice page for Sprint, and click a box to have their Sprint phone number used as a Google Voice number once the service becomes available. Google takes care of notifying Sprint.

The Google Voice application is free, but to use it, Sprint customers will need to have an Everything Data plan with Any Mobile, Anytime service, which starts at $70 a month and requires a $10 Premium Data plan. Sprint customers who already have a Google Voice number can display that number on their Sprint phone, without the need for the separate application.

Laptop has already published a how-to story showing the benefits of Google Voice on Sprint phones.

Michelle Maisto is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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