Number transfer process for Google Voice
December 30, 2011 8:36 AM   Subscribe

How can I switch my phone to Google Voice once I'm no longer in the country? Any recommendations on services similar to google voice to consider?

I've a T-mobile prepaid number I'm switching to Google Voice or a similar service. Can I do so once I'm no longer in the U.S., perhaps no longer receiving SMSs messages on the phone?

If so, how to they authenticate that you own the number? I'd assume Google SMSs you an authentication code which T-mobile pre-paid might not deliver abroad in my remaining questions.

How long does the process take? Could I just do it form the wifi at the airport?

How long does the authentication token last? Could I create it now and enter it online once I reach my destination, giving me a phone at the airport.

Any recommendations for lists of services similar to google voice to peruse?
posted by jeffburdges to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a Port your number into Google Voice FAQ that might answer some questions.
posted by jaimev at 8:51 AM on December 30, 2011

You should be able to set up Google Voice in a short amount of time. This was many months ago, but when I activated Google Voice on my phone before leaving the country it was just a matter of receiving a few text messages to confirm. Might be best to do this before leaving the country.

Once your number is enabled and confirmed you are set! I've been out of the U.S. almost 6 months now and I turned off forwarding to my phone and instead all calls just bounce directly to my Google Voice number. It's a great tool to have for family and friends to call without having to pay international calling rates. They leave me a voicemail and an e-mail is dropped in my inbox. I can also send SMS messages. The only downside is that it's all linked to your e-mail so it's not very mobile, but I find it the best (and free!) way to keep in touch and have others stay in touch with me.
posted by melizabeth at 10:18 AM on December 30, 2011

I'd port the number the day you leave the US - if you trust airport wifi, you can do it there. I ported my number to Google Voice when I was in Canada and it was a complicated mess. I couldn't even begin the porting process probably because I had a Canadian IP address. I had to give my sister my password so she could login as me and start the process.

If I remember correctly, the time period to input the authentication code is really short - 10 minutes, maybe? I was in a panic at the time so I could be wrong.

The process from logging in to Google Voice to the "Congratulations, you've ported!" email doesn't take too long - 15 minutes? Definitely under 30.

If you have an Android phone and want the Google Voice app, make sure it's installed before you leave the country. I think it needs a US number just for installation, after that you can swap in your regular SIM and you can send SMS via the app via your data plan/wifi just fine.
posted by zix at 10:40 AM on December 30, 2011

google voice only works- as in permits a forwarding number which is a sine qua non for getting it to work- in one place outside the US, and that for some reason is in the 403 area code (southern Alberta). Even with that proviso you have to use Anchor Free or some other IP masker to sign up. You cannot otherwise use google voice.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:48 PM on December 30, 2011

Also - don't do what Zix recommends. Yes you can sign up via a US forwarding number in the US, but the APP (and it's available for every mobile platform, not just Android) routes every call through a Virginia (I think, US based regardless) area code- it does not "call you"as it does when you dial up via the web based google voice; it instead treats every call as a long-distance US call. This is of course no problem for the vast majority of US customers (and 99.99% of gvoice customers are US based since it's only supported in the US, remember) have unlimited domestic calling, but for me it means that making a gv call, from Calgary using the gv app for BlackBerry made every call treated as a ROAMING long distance call- that's $3 per minute. From France? You'll go bankrupt doing this. DO NOT USE THE APP. If you do visit the US or do what you can to get your account set up, only make calls via the website or the mobile website from your phone's browser and it'll be treated as an incoming call, which if you're in your home region shouldn't cost anything aside from your minutes.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:55 PM on December 30, 2011

I ended up failing to convert my T-mobile number because I'd never configured my T-mobile online account. I simply claimed a new number with google voice instead, although marginally less preferable, distributing the new number might actually be worth google's $20 transfer fee.

Does anyone have recommendations for alternative service providers that're less paranoid about residency? I simply want a U.S. number forwarded to a SIP account that I access through a multi-protocol instant messaging client like Jitsi.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:40 PM on December 30, 2011

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