Canadians can use Google Voice to substantially reduce their smart phone cell phone expense.
There maybe other, even less expensive, ways to achieve this but this is the one way that I know and use.
By using Google Voice, you effectively convert outgoing calls into incoming calls.
Its is not free, but it is cheap!
In this example, using Voip.ms, you will get 3,500 minutes per month of ‘converted’ outgoing calls for $4.95 USD to anywhere in North America. ($4.95 / 3500 = $0.0014 per minute) Plus, you can use Google Voice for Voice Mail – it will email you the actual voice message and also a transcript!
|You need to have the following included in your smart phone cell phone plan:
The things that you must do:
- Get a ‘Direct Inward Dial’ (DID) phone number from Voip.ms for any US city and forward this new US phone number to your cell phone number.
- Get a Google Voice account from Google and set it up to use your new Voip.ms DID number – the DID number will become what is know as a ‘Callback number’.
- Download the Google Voice+ application to your smart phone and set it up pointing to your Google Voice account & the Callback number.
Once this is done, every time you dial a number on your cell phone, you will be asked if you want to complete the call using either your ‘Callback number’ or your ‘phone’.
If you choose your ‘phone’, you will be charged for minutes by your cell phone service provider.
But, if you choose your Callback number, your Google Voice+ application will use your data plan to send the phone number that you have dialed to your Google Voice account and then disconnect. Your Google Voice account will call the number that you dialed and then connect the call to your Callback number, which will now ring as an Incoming call on your cell phone – answer your phone and you are connected to the number that you initially dialed. All of this takes place in a second or two. You will only pay for a little data and no minutes on your cell plan. This can be used for either local or long distance calls to North America.
There are two issues for Canadians to overcome to be able to set up a Google Voice account to work the way we want it to work:
- When you go to create a Google Voice account, Google ‘knows’ that your computer is not located in the USA. Google voice is only officially available to people in the USA – you need to ‘trick’ Google Voice into thinking that your computer is in the USA.
- Once you successfully ‘trick’ Google into believing that you are in the USA, the Google Voice set up process will require you to enter a US phone number. Google Voice uses this US phone number to call or text you a verification number which must be entered to finalize your Google Voice account set up. Also, Google Voice will only forward calls that it receives to this US phone number.
Tricking Google into believing that you are in the USA:
‘Tricking’ Google into believing that your computer is located in the US requires that you install a free software, HotSpotShield, to intercept the output of your browser and to re-direct it through one of their servers located in the US – Google Voice will think that your computer is located in the USA.
If you are using FireFox as your web browser, you can install a free extension called ‘FoxyProxy’ or ‘Proxy Tool’ and use it to trick Google. HotSpotShield is Hide My Ass! is what we will use in this in this example.
Step 1 – Getting a US telephone number:
A) Non-Free From Voip.ms:
(Please note that you must make a pre-payment of $25.00 USD to setup a Voip.ms account by Credit Card or PayPal.)
Setting up your Voip.ms account:
- go to www.voip.ms and click on ‘Sign Up’.
- complete the form and submit it.
- An email will be sent to you to confirm your sign up – do what it asks.
- Login to you new Voip.ms account.
- Click on ‘Finances’ and then ‘Add Funds’
- You need to add a minimum of $25.00 – all amounts are in USD. Once added, your usage will be subtracted.
- Click on the ‘DID Numbers’ menu and then click on ‘Call Forwarding’.
- Click on ‘Add Forwarding’ and enter your cell phone’s telephone number, eg: 15143650000 and click ‘Save’. (you can leave all the other fields blank.)
- Click on ‘DID Numbers’ again and then click on ‘Order DID(s)’
- Under ‘Local Numbers’, click on ‘United States’
- Click on the ‘By State’ drop-down and select a continental state and then click on ‘View numbers’ under the ‘Order’ column for the city that you want – any continental state/city combination will do.
- Select a DID number.
- Select your ‘plan’ – the default is the ‘Per Mintute Plan’ at $0.99 per month plus $0.01 per minute. You can switch to the ‘Flat rate’ plan ($4.95) now or anytime later.
- Skip ‘CallerID Name Lookup’ because it is not needed for our purpose.
- Select a ‘DID POP’ near you or just accept the default. The ‘DID POP’ is the location of the actual VOIP.ms server – you can switch this now or any time later. Any will do.
- In the ‘Routing’ section, click the ‘Call Forwarding’ dot – you should see you cell phone number in the drop-down box to the right. If not, you’ll have to go back to ‘Call Forwarding’ to enter it again and remember to click ‘Save’, and then start the process of ordering a DID again.
- Click ‘Order DID’. If you did not ‘Add Funds’ at the start, you will need to do it and then proceed again.
- Click ‘Confirm order’.
- You now have a US VOIP.ms telephone number which is forwarded to your cell phone number.
- That’s all you need to do for this section of the set up – now we will move on to setting up a Google Voice account.
Step 2 – Setting up your Google Voice account:
First, if you already have a Gmail account, it is advisable to set up a new Google Gmail account to be used only for your Google Voice usage. This is done purely for potential privacy issues. If you are running HotSpotShield, you can use your existing “Canadian” Gmail address & password to “SIGN UP“ for a Google Voice account, if you want.
So, here is how to ‘trick’ Google so that you can set up a Google Voice account, if you are not located in the USA:
Once you have a new Gmail account, or if you are using your existing Gmail account, it is time to set up a Google Voice account:
- Browse to: https://www.google.com/voice/ and enter your Gmail address & password into the “Sign in” box but do not click “Sign in”. Click the “SIGN UP” box in the upper right-hand corner.
You will now be able to get your Google Voice number. During the setup process, you will be asked to enter a phone number for Google Voice to call to give you a ‘verification code’ – enter the US number that you have previously obtained and ‘forwarded’ to your cell or home phone. Once you get the Google Voice call, enter the ‘verification code’ where indicated on the screen and your done!