Can I use Google Voice for voicemail without a real phone number?
May 1, 2010 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Another ditch-the-cell-phone-bill/Google Voice question: Google Voice made me give them my cell phone number (800-OLD-CELL) when I signed up, and then assigned me a new number (800-GGL-VOIC). However, I don't have calls forwarded from the Google Voice number to my actual cell phone - Instead, everything goes to voicemail. What happens if I cancel my old cell phone number?

I'm about ready to ditch my iPhone and go all iPad. I never make calls, I do all my texting through Google Voice, and I've never exceeded the 250mb of data that would cost $15/month on the iPad. So we're talking about a difference between paying $86/month for the iPhone and paying $15/month for the iPad.

Only one or two calls come in each month, so I want to give out my Google Voice number and set all calls to forward directly to Google Voicemail. Callers would leave me a message, I'd be alerted of the new message by email either on my iPad or on my computer, and if the situation required an actual call back, I could call them from Skype (which I've never used) or someone else's phone.

My question is, what happens to Google Voice if I call AT&T and have them shut off my original phone number, 800-OLD-CELL? Will people still be able to call 800-GGL-VOIC and leave me a message?

If this isn't feasible, can anyone recommend the best way I can make this work? My requirements are:
- Phone number I can hand out that redirects to voicemail
- Email alerts of new voicemail
- Ability to send and receive SMS.
posted by lizzicide to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
have you considered getting a el cheapo prepaid phone in case of emergencies? it'll only set you back a few bucks a year, and you can use it with google voice.
posted by lia at 10:06 AM on May 1, 2010

Response by poster: Haha, "el cheapo" indeed. I'm considering it, if Google Voice is going to collapse on itself in a furious blaze if I cancel my current number.

Can anyone recommend a specific company that can sell me minutes that don't expire and will save my phone number even if I don't use it for a few months?
posted by lizzicide at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2010

Install the Gizmo5 VoiP client on your computer. Google Voice works with this client well. You can use it to make and receive phone calls through your GV number.

You can also tell GV to forward SMS to your email.
posted by zippy at 10:30 AM on May 1, 2010

Response by poster: zippy: Gizmo5 got bought out by Google and is now closed to newcomers. If anything else has sprung up in its wake, though...
posted by lizzicide at 11:35 AM on May 1, 2010

7-11 used to sell "Speak Out" branded pre-paid service that featured a 365-day expiration period for purchased minutes. Not sure they still have that deal, though.
posted by Dimpy at 1:42 PM on May 1, 2010

Tmobile prepaid will give you 1000 minutes and 365 days for $100. After that initial year, you only need to give them $10 a year to keep it going (if you haven't gone through the minutes). I've had two lines with them for 3-4 years like this.
posted by hey you over in the corner at 3:53 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are online shops that sell refill codes at a 10-15% discount, if you go the prepaid route. With T-mobile, you might only need a new SIM card..
posted by unmake at 6:15 PM on May 1, 2010

You don't need to have GV forward to any phone. Try unticking all your phones, it still works fine and goes to voicemail.

Also I tested it with my disconnected Sprint # which is still there, same result. I would be wary of keeping a disconnected number in GV as carriers will recycle your number and will eventually your calls will be routed to someones cell phone.
posted by wongcorgi at 10:47 PM on May 1, 2010

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