Free Unlimited Calling: Make Google Voice One of Your Five

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to get free, unlimited calling to anyone from your cell phone, without having to pay for your cell phone company’s premium unlimited plan? Well… there might be!

First, a little warning

What I’m about to propose may be prohibited by your cell phone company. After all, they want to make as much money as possible from you. So make sure to check your cell provider’s terms of use before making this your full-time way of calling.

Now the good stuff

Google has built up a reputation of giving things away for free. Their Google Docs tools essentially replace Microsoft Office (for free), YouTube (owned by Google) lets you watch all the free video you want, while the ubiquitous GMail provides email access to millions (also free). Click here for a list of free Google services.

But one Google product you might not be familiar with yet is Google Voice. The service gives you a free local phone number from which you can make and receive unlimited national calls without paying a dime (their international rates are also some of the lowest I’ve seen).

How does it work? Google forwards all calls it receives on your Google Voice phone number to any other phone number(s) you specify. This can be a land line, cell phone, or any combination of multiple numbers. Thus, you can give out your Google Voice phone number and when someone calls, you can have it ring your home phone, your work phone and your cell phone all at the same time.

But here’s the killer feature… Google Voice lets you decide whether you want incoming calls to show the actual caller ID of the person calling you, or just your Google Voice phone number. So if you set things up right, every single call coming in from your new Google Voice phone number will look like it’s coming from only your Google Voice phone number. This is a really good thing if your cell phone plan has a “Top 5 Friends” feature (or something similar) where you can choose several phone numbers to make and receive unlimited calls from.

Suppose you add your Google Voice phone number to your “Top 5″, so that all calls coming from that number are free. Then, only give out your Google Voice phone number so that whenever someone calls you, they’re calling you through Google Voice. Remember, your Google Voice phone number is showing up on the caller ID for every call you receive, so as far as your cell phone provider is concerned, it will appear as if you are making and receiving calls to and from only one phone number… a phone number in your Top 5.

Now call up your cell phone provider and drop your plan to the lowest priced one they offer (which still has the Top 5, or similar feature). You’ll pay the lower rate to your cell phone company and use the free Google Voice phone number to make and receive calls on. Since the Google Voice number is in your Top 5, all calls to and from that number will be free.

Voila! Depending on your current plan, you might’ve just saved yourself $50 or $60 a month. Of course, the catch is that you’ll have to get your friends and family to start calling a new phone number, but it’s really not as difficult as it might seem.

How to get a Google Voice phone number

Right now, Google Voice is still in “beta”… meaning it isn’t quite ready for primetime. So, the only way to get a Google Voice phone number is to get an invitation. You can sign up to request one from Google, or ask a friend who already uses Google Voice if they were given any invitations they can pass on.

But since it’s a cool service, offers dirt cheap international calling, and provides you with a unified phone number that can ring all your phones (for free!), its probably worth the wait for your invite to come.

Request a Google Voice phone number from Google.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Murry Katz

    Good suggestion. I will have to try it. In the meantime, I have Straight Talk on the Verizon network. Bought it at Walmart and it's an amazing deal. The Samsung Finesse is a very cool smartphone and paying only $45 a month for unlimited everything is the best deal going!

    Who needs an iPhone? LOL!!

  • BOB

    I just sent a request. I hope it works.

    P.S My real name is undercover.

  • http://www.sellgoldtampa.com Sell Gold Tampa

    I love Google tools they make my life so easy.

  • Luke

    Hey, I've got a question. How does this interact with outgoing calls? I can see how it works with incoming easily enough, but when you make a phone call aren't you still calling the subject in question, rather than the google voice number?

  • http://www.eminiacademy.com Chris Dunn

    I haven't used this yet, but it seems like a pretty convenient service. I've been using Skype for a while now… and it's become even more useful now that they have an iphone app for it! ;-)

    Chris Dunn

  • Matt

    You can download a Google Voice (GV) interface to your computer and import your contacts to it. From there you can select a contact. GV will ask you which phone you would like to call them from (home, cell, etc.) You make your selection and GV will place the call and then the phone you selected will ring. You pick it up and you will hear the other end ringing.

    I've only been using it for a couple weeks and am still trying to get comfortable with it. One thing the article didn't mention is the free voice mail it offers. I disabled my home voice mail and it now get's handled by GV. Once someone leaves me a message, it is transcribed and sent to me via e-mail and text. The transcription is 70-80% accurate but like the author says, this is still a Beta version.

  • Drdtrdt2Q

    no real caller id then? ALL calls come from the google number? dislike

  • Anthony

    Google Voice is out of Beta now, just FYI…so everyone can sign up for it.

  • http://www.moneytalksnews.com/ Dan Schointuch

    Google Voice has a call screening function that announces the caller when you first pick up. You then have a few options: Pressing 1 answers the call, pressing 2 sends it to voicemail, etc.

    Here is the info on call screening: http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer….

  • http://www.moneytalksnews.com/ Dan Schointuch

    Just call your own Google Voice number and press “2″ to make an outgoing call. Then dial the number you want to call. Since you're still connected to the Google Voice number, that's what the phone company and person you're calling see.

    If you set up a call from their website, Google Voice will first dial your phone. Once you pick up, it will then dial the person you want to call and make the connection.

    More info on making calls: http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer….

  • Dvine0722

    how does it work from the cel.. i mean won't it still affect your minutes.. for instance i have verizon wireless.. if i 4ward my google voice number 2 my cel and ppl call the google voice # which is now linked 2 my cel won't it still affect my minutes??

  • http://www.moneytalksnews.com/ Dan Schointuch

    Good question. You have add your Google Voice number to your selected unlimited calling numbers.

    I know AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile all offer services that let you pick 5 or 10 phone numbers to make/receive unlimited calls from, but you'll have to check with your provider to see if it's offered with your plan. (Commercials for this often mention “top 5″ or “favorite 5″ or “who's in your five?”).

    Verizon's perk is called “Friends & Family” and is included with certain plans: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/splash/frien

  • PTZpilot

    not if you do it right. You have to make your new goole number one of your “fave five” or “top ten” or what ever your provider calls the “free” ones you get with your cheapest plan.

  • PTZpilot

    no its your choice. you can choose to have your google voice number show up on ppl's caller ID and if you do that then your service provider is unaware.

  • ali

    Chris, how does Skype works? Does the caller on the other have the same service with Skype to communicate? Ali

  • Dancaw44

    Can I use an old cell phone that does not have a plan? I alos have a pay as you go phone with no monthly bill, can I use this to my advantage and how?

  • NyeAngel

    Well I have a blackberry and so I need the everything plan for the internet, so I am kind of stuck.

  • MsJKG

    I'd rate the voice-to-text more like 60-70% accuracy, but it's still good enough for me to tell whether or not to listen to the actual message, or if it's just a junk call I can ignore.

  • Maria76Sweetness

    Like You Said You Have Verizon Wireless. They Along With At&t Charge You For Forwarding Calls, & Any Standard Free Calls On A Land Line! Roaming Even Though They Not Supposed To Charge For That! I'm Just As Curious As You Are?

  • Maria76Sweetness

    At&t Doesn't Have Top 10 Or Fave 5! Prepaid Or Pay As You Go T-Mobile Don't Have Fave 5's EIther!