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Thread: Streamlining the Google Voice experience

  1. #1
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    Streamlining the Google Voice experience

    Hello,

    I was with GV since the earliest days - just after Google purchased Grand Central. I've loved the flexibility and cost savings over the years. My family has hated it all along because it seems quirky compared to their native lines on their devices, particularly iPhones.

    Well - now I need help to avoid war with the family. They paid a ton of money to put grandma onto iPhone and she does not use a single unique feature of that ecosystem. To drop from Verizon at $44 per month I have started porting her number, converting it to Google Voice. I changed her handset to Android because of the clunky nature of Voice dialouts on iPhone.

    How do I best position her for mobile use on a modern GV handset? She is in the house a great majority of the time. So, her calls will be essentially voip while home? Most of the cheap plans have unlimited voice and text but limited data. If I want her phone to behave itself at all times, should I just find a cheap data plan and have all traffic coming in over data? I don't think she is capable of changing settings to save data while out of the house. How much mobile data per month if she rarely travels and rarely uses the phone during local road trips?

    Sorry if this is too long-winded. I so prefer to make providers compete for my business while keeping a permanent contact number on GV. Deals can be limited to "new customers only" as I discovered when I tried to buy a RedPocket renewal over Memorial Day.

    Thanks,

    Dan

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    I have used my GV #s over data only since March, 2017. It is very doable for a semi-tech-capable person. I have never recommended the GV "system" to anybody that 1) I thought might not be technically-capable or 2) didn't have patience to appreciate the ins and outs of using GV.

    My 85 year old parents use iPhones, but with a native plan. I didn't want to confuse the issue by involving GV.

    You know you grandma, so it's up to you on how to proceed, but if it were me, I'd put her on a native plan, and not involve GV.

    Why is she paying $44/mo for a Vzw plan?

    If her usage is as low as you stated, she should do just fine on a Tracfone plan. If you're going to be around to help her, put her on the TF AT&T 1200/1200/3GB/1 Year plan from https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tracfone-Pr...a/283493024108 and buy a new one every year with a service transfer so any remaining balances roll over. That comes to $4.17/mo.

    Or, if you prefer monthly, put her on the Red Pocket 100/100/500 plan for $60/360 days, which is $5/30 days, on either the AT&T or Vzw network from https://www.ebay.com/itm/133058476404.

  3. #3
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    If you REALLY want your grandma to use GV over data only, I suggest either the T-Mobile Prepaid $10/mo 2GB data only plan, or the FreedomPop AT&T $49.99, which is $4.17/mo (less if on sale), annual prepaid plan with 1GB/mo for a year from either Target or Best Buy.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    I have used my GV #s over data only since March, 2017. It is very doable for a semi-tech-capable person. I have never recommended the GV "system" to anybody that 1) I thought might not be technically-capable or 2) didn't have patience to appreciate the ins and outs of using GV.

    My 85 year old parents use iPhones, but with a native plan. I didn't want to confuse the issue by involving GV.

    You know you grandma, so it's up to you on how to proceed, but if it were me, I'd put her on a native plan, and not involve GV.

    Why is she paying $44/mo for a Vzw plan?

    If her usage is as low as you stated, she should do just fine on a Tracfone plan. If you're going to be around to help her, put her on the TF AT&T 1200/1200/3GB/1 Year plan from https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tracfone-Pr...a/283493024108 and buy a new one every year with a service transfer so any remaining balances roll over. That comes to $4.17/mo.

    Or, if you prefer monthly, put her on the Red Pocket 100/100/500 plan for $60/360 days, which is $5/30 days, on either the AT&T or Vzw network from https://www.ebay.com/itm/133058476404.
    Thanks for your feedback Boz1. I've watched others try to be Barbara's "tech support" for many years now. The $44 price was my brother-in-laws choice to add a line to his overpriced plan to seize control of the number from other relatives that had been carrying that cost previously. I would have been the correct person all along since we had a limited time to "teach an old dog new tricks." They insisted on native number on Verizon on iPhone but never turned on voice control or taught her to use Siri. She has a form of Parkinson's that limits her finger dexterity.

    She now lives with me and due to pandemic I am around all the time. I have home automation through Google Home but she forgets it is there. I was hoping that an Android phone through Google Voice would allow her minutes/texts to drop to zero because she is on WiFi all the time. However, if she does try to be mobile with the phone then the GV complexities emerge as her calls may need to jump from voip to regular cellular.

    I will try GV on Android with as many accessibility enhancements as I can turn on. If she can't acclimate to Android and I have to go back to iPhone I will port to a native service per your suggestions as the cost will be minimal as I shop around.

    Great feedback!

    Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by saverdan View Post
    Thanks for your feedback Boz1. I've watched others try to be Barbara's "tech support" for many years now. The $44 price was my brother-in-laws choice to add a line to his overpriced plan to seize control of the number from other relatives that had been carrying that cost previously. I would have been the correct person all along since we had a limited time to "teach an old dog new tricks." They insisted on native number on Verizon on iPhone but never turned on voice control or taught her to use Siri. She has a form of Parkinson's that limits her finger dexterity.

    She now lives with me and due to pandemic I am around all the time. I have home automation through Google Home but she forgets it is there. I was hoping that an Android phone through Google Voice would allow her minutes/texts to drop to zero because she is on WiFi all the time. However, if she does try to be mobile with the phone then the GV complexities emerge as her calls may need to jump from voip to regular cellular.

    I will try GV on Android with as many accessibility enhancements as I can turn on. If she can't acclimate to Android and I have to go back to iPhone I will port to a native service per your suggestions as the cost will be minimal as I shop around.

    Great feedback!

    Dan
    There are so many pitfalls and caveats about Google Voice that I wold never try to set it up for a senior with limited tech skills. I use it for everything myself and still get confused occasionally.

    Some things to consider:

    The GV app will do Wifi calling for free with the GV number if you set the GV app for Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data for Making and receiving calls. My experience has been that the audio delay latency of such VOIP calls* is only borderline ok and I usually experience breakups and dropouts, but generally not completely dropped calls. To make data calls you have to use the GV dialer, not the native dialer. The native dialer will make calls using the GV number if you set the GV app for that, but it requires real cell service and uses cell plan minutes. It also requires a small amount of data (Wifi or mobile) to initiate the call.

    Away from WiFi, the GV app will try to use mobile data for calls. Calling over mobile data has never worked well for me. I would want my grandmother to have reliable calls away from home WiFi.

    Android Assistant can make calls by talking to the phone, but it will not use the GV app to place the call, only the native dialer or other registered dialer app. GV does not register as a dialer app.

    I'm pretty frugal, but I would never try to setup my grandma with only GV calling. I don't think I could streamline it enough.

    GV does not handle 911 calls at all. I don't know if the phone would take over for a 911 call with its emergency service. Reliable 911 would be a must have for my grandma.

    How much calling does grandma do?

    There is prepaidcompare.net to look for inexpensive paid real cell service. If there is not much calling, it can be pretty inexpensive, like $2.50 a month with Page Plus that uses Verizon.

    *This is not unique to GV VOIP calls. I have gotten about 600 ms round-trip audio delay with several VOIP apps that I have tried.

    Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    There are so many pitfalls and caveats about Google Voice that I wold never try to set it up for a senior with limited tech skills. I use it for everything myself and still get confused occasionally.

    Some things to consider:

    The GV app will do Wifi calling for free with the GV number if you set the GV app for Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data for Making and receiving calls. My experience has been that the audio delay latency of such VOIP calls* is only borderline ok and I usually experience breakups and dropouts, but generally not completely dropped calls. To make data calls you have to use the GV dialer, not the native dialer. The native dialer will make calls using the GV number if you set the GV app for that, but it requires real cell service and uses cell plan minutes. It also requires a small amount of data (Wifi or mobile) to initiate the call.

    Away from WiFi, the GV app will try to use mobile data for calls. Calling over mobile data has never worked well for me. I would want my grandmother to have reliable calls away from home WiFi.

    Android Assistant can make calls by talking to the phone, but it will not use the GV app to place the call, only the native dialer or other registered dialer app. GV does not register as a dialer app.

    I'm pretty frugal, but I would never try to setup my grandma with only GV calling. I don't think I could streamline it enough.

    GV does not handle 911 calls at all. I don't know if the phone would take over for a 911 call with its emergency service. Reliable 911 would be a must have for my grandma.

    How much calling does grandma do?

    There is prepaidcompare.net to look for inexpensive paid real cell service. If there is not much calling, it can be pretty inexpensive, like $2.50 a month with Page Plus that uses Verizon.

    *This is not unique to GV VOIP calls. I have gotten about 600 ms round-trip audio delay with several VOIP apps that I have tried.

    Good luck
    "Grandma" is my mother-in-law. She is homebound much of the time and we try to have someone here with her. For safety we have some cameras and she wears the "I've fallen and I can't get up" pendant.

    I agree that latency is a call quality issue. Other issues you have raised have also triggered concern. I will experiment for a chunk of time now that the number is porting to Google Voice. I can always pay an additional $3 to port out to an affordable plan with perhaps some HD Voice and WiFi calling enabled.

    She struggles to call anyone or even swipe to answer the phone. I set up auto-answer on her iPhone which led to some unwanted incoming calls.

    I will update this thread with outcomes. I can make her Android run on either my Visible line or my Sprint Kickstarter while debating whether to keep the number on GV or port to a native service.

    Thanks again!

    Dan

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    The last time I checked, if you paid $20 to port a # INTO GV, there's no charge to port it OUT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by saverdan View Post

    She struggles to call anyone or even swipe to answer the phone. I set up auto-answer on her iPhone which led to some unwanted incoming calls.
    You can place voice calls via Google Voice using Siri. Can't do that on Android/Google Assistant.

    The iPhone has a "Silence Unknown Callers" feature which blocks all callers not in her Contacts from ringing through.

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    If Grandma can’t learn GV, then just get a cheap phone plan for her so she can do native calling and texting.

    Some non-Sprint phones now work on Tello (si tested two of my non-Sprint iPhones on Tello’s device check). An unlimited call/text plan (no data) is just $8 per mo.

    If she wants to play with apps, she can just use WiFi at home.

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    Keep in mind you don't HAVE to use VoIP for GV calls.

    You can use GV over the regular voice call connection.

    This might be the easiest for her as dialing can be done with the regular dialer or Google Assistant.

    All you need then is a decent unlimited talk plan, such as Mint's $15 plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maru View Post
    If Grandma can’t learn GV, then just get a cheap phone plan for her so she can do native calling and texting.

    Some non-Sprint phones now work on Tello (si tested two of my non-Sprint iPhones on Tello’s device check). An unlimited call/text plan (no data) is just $8 per mo.

    If she wants to play with apps, she can just use WiFi at home.
    Verizon has her number locked up tight and my brother-in-law keeps giving me account PIN instead of number transfer PIN. Based on feedback I think GV will seem too complex and my other family will be pissed at me if I force her over since they can grab her iPhone from her hands and work what they think is phone magic.

    I will likely try Tello Unimited 1GB since it is only $10 and I can keep her on WiFi most of the time for data. My Sprint Kickstarter phones seem to have good signal although my calls may be going out VoLTE while hers will be CDMA from her iPhone 6S.

    I will keep all ideas in mind pending signal quality of CDMA once her phone number ports native to Tello.

    Thanks again!

    Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by saverdan View Post
    Verizon has her number locked up tight and my brother-in-law keeps giving me account PIN instead of number transfer PIN. Based on feedback I think GV will seem too complex and my other family will be pissed at me if I force her over since they can grab her iPhone from her hands and work what they think is phone magic.

    I will likely try Tello Unimited 1GB since it is only $10 and I can keep her on WiFi most of the time for data. My Sprint Kickstarter phones seem to have good signal although my calls may be going out VoLTE while hers will be CDMA from her iPhone 6S.

    I will keep all ideas in mind pending signal quality of CDMA once her phone number ports native to Tello.

    Thanks again!

    Dan
    If she needs unlimited minutes, Tello is a great idea, if the Sprint MVNO network is good in your area.

    As you know from my first reply above, I don't recommend GV for any person that might not be able understand exactly how it works.

    Good luck getting the correct info from your b-i-l, which you'll still need to port your gma's # to Tello!

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    Quote Originally Posted by saverdan View Post
    Verizon has her number locked up tight and my brother-in-law keeps giving me account PIN instead of number transfer PIN. Based on feedback I think GV will seem too complex and my other family will be pissed at me if I force her over since they can grab her iPhone from her hands and work what they think is phone magic.

    I will likely try Tello Unimited 1GB since it is only $10 and I can keep her on WiFi most of the time for data. My Sprint Kickstarter phones seem to have good signal although my calls may be going out VoLTE while hers will be CDMA from her iPhone 6S.

    I will keep all ideas in mind pending signal quality of CDMA once her phone number ports native to Tello.

    Thanks again!

    Dan
    Send this link to ur BIL to accompany your request to him to get the number transfer PIN.

    https://www.verizon.com/support/port-out-faqs/

    Your BIL will then be educated on how porting out works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by saverdan View Post
    Verizon has her number locked up tight and my brother-in-law keeps giving me account PIN instead of number transfer PIN. Based on feedback I think GV will seem too complex and my other family will be pissed at me if I force her over since they can grab her iPhone from her hands and work what they think is phone magic.

    I will likely try Tello Unimited 1GB since it is only $10 and I can keep her on WiFi most of the time for data. My Sprint Kickstarter phones seem to have good signal although my calls may be going out VoLTE while hers will be CDMA from her iPhone 6S.

    I will keep all ideas in mind pending signal quality of CDMA once her phone number ports native to Tello.

    Thanks again!

    Dan
    Sprint has been bought by T-Mobile. The exact details and timeline of Sprint's future is unknown. We don't know how T-Mo will treat Sprint MVNOs. T-Mo will get rid of Sprint CDMA in the transition as soon as they can. My guess is in a year or two.

    Other than the uncertain future of Tello with Sprint, I have used them for three years on paygo. My experience with the company has been all good.

    Does MIL need mobile data? US Mobile has unlimited talk and text with no data for $12/mo on Verizon.

    Another thought: You can get a Tracfone bundle from HSN or QVC that includes a phone, basic case, a year of service time, and 1200-1500 units each of talk minutes, texts, and data MB for $50-$70. Refills are reasonable and easy. 1200 minutes is 20 hours of talk. The phones are on the high side of low end, not dregs of junk. They generally use Verizon. I got a Moto E5 this way recently. It is a nice phone that I would have no problem using as my daily phone. Occasionally the price is lower on sale. My E5 was $30. After a year you can get it unlocked to use elsewhere.

    On using phone voice control: You have to speak clearly, deliberately, and without pausing to get the command recognized in full.

    Good luck

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    I don't understand why grandma needs data or GV. And I don't have to.

    Just throwing this out there Good2Go Mobile has AT&T UTT no data for $10 autopay every month (30 days?) + taxes & fees.

    My line costs $13.38 otd. No muss no fuss. Most all states will be lower than $3.38 in t&f.
    If my actions include deeds of philanthropy in charity and acts of loving kindness I am living in my Faith.

    Red Pocket (AT&T) UTT 5GB exp 09.27.20
    Good2Go (AT&T) UTT recurring {12*26} $13.38 otd/mo
    T-Mobile Gold Rewards $10yr exp 01.11.21
    Tello x2 (Sprint) $5 1-use/3mo no exp by 07.08.20

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