What would you think about having a VoIP phone that can make calls without needing an active cellular provider? Thanks to Google Voice, this is now a reality.
Google Voice has been around for a long time. But up until now, you could only receive incoming calls from your phone. Outgoing VoIP calling was never an option. Instead, people have been using Google Hangouts for audio chats between mobile devices over Wi-Fi.
Now that Google offers VoIP calling as part of its mobile and web app, customers have a clever way to save money on making phone calls! Here’s how you can make VoIP calls with Google Voice.
Making VoIP Calls With Google Voice
In April 2018, Google announced an open beta program for Android users to test VoIP calling using Google Voice. Signing up for the program is as easy as filling out this simple Google Form and updating your Google Voice app.
Download: Google Voice for Android (Free)
When you install Google Voice on your phone, it’ll ask you to link the service to the phone you’ve installed it on. This is so you can make and receive Google Voice calls using the service.
You also have the option to forward incoming Google Voice number calls to your main phone number. You can link the number during setup but then unlink it once the Google Voice app is installed.
Previously, if you installed Google Voice on a phone without cellular service, you couldn’t make outgoing calls. It’s quite significant that you can in the latest update.
On the final setup screen titled Call with Google Voice you’ll see the calling options. These include using Google Voice to make all calls via your phone’s call app, only international calls, or to decide which number to use each time.
If you’re setting up Google Voice to create a VoIP phone using an inactive smartphone, you’ll want to choose the first option.
Setting Up Your Google Voice VoIP Phone
Once the app is installed, you can finish setting up your inactive phone as a VoIP phone by changing a few settings inside the Settings menu in Google Voice:
- First, select Linked numbers, and delete the linked number connected to your main phone number.
- Next, tap Make and receive calls, and select Prefer Wi-Fi and mobile data.
- Finally, choose Incoming calls, and make sure the mobile phone you’ve installed the Google Voice app on is enabled.
If you set up Google Voice on a regular smartphone with an existing number, you can set up Google Voice to prompt you which phone number to use. In an area without any cell service, but access to Wi-Fi, you can choose to make the call via Google Voice.
If you’re installing the app on an inactive smartphone, you can configure Google Voice to make the call without any prompts.
Key Features of the Google Voice App
The Google Voice app on an inactive phone activates all of the features you’d expect from a calling plan. That is, so long as you have access to a Wi-Fi network.
With Google Voice you can send SMS text messages or make phone calls to any number. You even have access to a voicemail system that’s as good or better than any voicemail system you’d get on any cellular plan.
The biggest advantage over a cellular service is that you get all of this for free.
If you’re a single person paying for a monthly cell phone service, the savings when you can cancel that plan are significant. If you’re a family of four with four lines and a family mobile data plan, the savings are astronomical.
Does This Mean You Can Drop Cellular Service?
With these changes, it’s possible for you to buy an inactive phone for cheap, install Google Voice, and start making phone calls when you’re connected to any Wi-Fi network.
With the proliferation of public Wi-Fi networks across the world, the inconvenience of having to locate a Wi-Fi hotspot to make a call may be well worth the cost savings of not having to purchase cell service.
Some of the benefits of using Google Voice over Wi-Fi for all your phone calls include:
- Within the US, all phone calls using Google Voice are free.
- International calls are low cost and will prevent typical roaming fees.
- Tremendous cost savings from not needing to purchase a phone plan.
- You can still make phone calls in locations that are cellular dead spots.
- You can even make calls from your tablet or any Chrome browser.
Some of the disadvantages of using Google Voice without cellular service include:
- You can’t make calls if you can’t find or access Wi-Fi service.
- Potential costs of having to pay for access to Wi-Fi networks.
- Poor audio quality when calling on slow or busy networks.
Thus, there are some limitations to setting up a VoIP phone using Google Voice. But if you’re on a tight budget and you need to make calls without having to pay for an expensive cellular plan, this is an excellent solution.
With VoIP Calling, Google Voice Gets Even Better
In addition to outgoing calls, the new Google Voice has lots of great features and a modern UI upgrade to enjoy.
As cellular rates continue to climb every year, it’s nice to have access to yet another service that can help you cut costs while not giving up too many features in the process. So long as you don’t mind seeking out a Wi-Fi network whenever you need to make a phone call, Google Voice is an excellent solution.
However, if you’re thinking that you’ll use Google Voice to get a US phone number, you’re out of luck. The service isn’t available outside of the United States. However, there are plenty of other options for getting a free US phone number if that’s what you need. We’ve also looked at the best phones with answering machines for a lower-tech solution.