two cell #'s, one person
March 24, 2012 8:19 AM   Subscribe

I have a new smart phone on Virgin Mobile. I could have ported to Google Voice initially, using a number on GV I already had, but chose not to. I'm now getting calls from the cell's # and my GV #. Should I port over to GV completely and have just one number?

When I got my Optimus on Virgin Mobile, I thought it would be useful to segregate business calls on the VM # and personal calls on the Google Voice number I have had for some time now. In practice I'm not seeing much advantage to doing this and wondering if I could now switch to Google Voice totally, have one number, and not lose the cell # and the calls that are coming to it.
I get calls often for a small business I run. I thought it would be convenient to know that a caller was calling on a particular number so I could be prepared to deal with the caller based on personal or business calls. The phone doesn't tell me what service they are calling on, so that's not much use.
Google Voice has a lot of functionality, like better voice quality on recordings and calls, transcriptions and and Android app compared to Virgin's voicemail capability. Plus when I call out, the phone is asking me if I want to use GV service or VM to make the call, which adds another step to making a call.
So, I have two numbers, one Virgin Mobile for business calls, and one GV for personal calls. The functionality of this arrangement is not optimal as the VM voicemail is poor compared to GV, plus there's added complications to doing outbound calls,, plus I don't know on what service people are calling on.
What options might I have to improve this, given I don't want to lose the VM # with it's business related history, meaning people have this # and I don't want to lose it.
Thanks for any tips or information.
posted by diode to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite just to clarify, have you tried using the GV option where the caller ID for all GV calls that shows up on the receiving line (your cell) is the GV number? That helps me a lot, since then I know the call came from the subset of people (ecommerce outfits and other people from the Internet, mostly) who have that number. Otherwise, could you just change GV to be your voicemail provider, so you're not using it for all your phone calls, but you get the benefits of its voicemail transcription, etc.? That's what I do, and it works great.
posted by limeonaire at 8:30 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and there should be a checkbox that'll resolve the thing where it asks what service you want to use to make calls, so you shouldn't have to answer that all the time just to have the GV app on your phone or as a calling option just in case.
posted by limeonaire at 8:34 AM on March 24, 2012

Long story short, on a reread, I think you can get all the things you want out of having both numbers directing calls to one phone without too much difficulty. You just need to make sure that 1) you set GV to forward its OWN number as caller ID for calls it routes to your VM number (in GV settings), 2) you switch your VM service over to GV voicemail (also can be initiated through GV settings), and 3) the next time you make an outgoing call, you check the box that says to always use this app/service BEFORE selecting the Android Phone app. I think those three steps will get you most of the way to where you want to be, unless I'm misunderstanding the question!
posted by limeonaire at 8:45 AM on March 24, 2012

Although, I will say, my arrangement works better when the GV number is the business one and the VM or other provider's number is the personal one. 'Cause if you enable the GV-number-as-caller-ID-display-number option the way you have it, you won't be able to screen personal calls effectively. It's funny - if you could port each of your numbers to the opposite service, I think you'd be home free! That actually might be possible, but the question would be which order to do it in so you don't lose either number... Alternately, you could switch to using your GV number for everything, and maybe VM has some way to forward all calls to your phone number with them to another (your GV) number.
posted by limeonaire at 8:54 AM on March 24, 2012

Virgin Mobile customer and Google Voice user here. Worth noting is that Virgin Mobile doesn't allow call forwarding, period. This means that you can't redirect Virgin Mobile voicemail to Google Voice (i.e., you can't have Google Voice record the voicemails left by people who've called your VM number). You can call Virgin Mobile customer service and ask them to disable your voicemail entirely, which will cause two things to happen:

- When people call your Google Voice number, your VM cell phone will ring but the GV voicemail system will pick up if you don't answer. (Good!)
- When people call your VM number, your VM cell phone will ring but no voicemail will pick up at all. (Bad.)

This works for me because I want Google Voice to handle 100% of my cell phone activity. I don't even have my VM number memorized. In order for this to work for you, you would have to port your current VM number to Google Voice, open a new account with a new number with Virgin Mobile (since porting cancels your service!), and make sure everyone always calls you on your "business number." In other words, you'd have to port the number you care about to GV and use this as your only number.

By the way, there's a somewhat active Virgin Mobile community over at HowardForums. I found their post history useful when I was new to VM - Maybe you will too!
posted by lizzicide at 10:38 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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