Google Voice on U.S. Cellular with Android Phones
I’ve been using Google Voice for three years now. It was at a time that I started a new volunteer position with a non-profit organization and I was fine selecting a new number to give to people. It is a very handy productivity tool. There are a number of nice features, such as:
- Voicemail transcription
- One number that can ring multiple other phones, such as home, work, and your U.S. Cellular Android SmartPhone
- Personalized greetings – different greetings based on groups that you put your contacts in
- International calling
- SMS to email and SMS from your computer or other devices (from the same Google Voice number)
- Share voicemails
- Block callers
- Screen callers (similar to the old fashioned answering machine screening)
- Mobile app for your U.S. Cellular Android SmartPhone
- Conference calls
One of the great things about it is that you can use Google Voice as your voicemail, even if dialers call your U.S. Cellular phone number instead of your Google Voice number. This allows you to check your voicemail on your phone(s) and on your computer. You can opt to receive a transcript (with varying degrees of accuracy) of your messages so that you don’t have to listen to your messages.
As a US Cellular Customer Crew member, I’m always looking for ways to help other customers. These instructions will show you how to set up Google Voice with your U.S. Cellular Android SmartPhone.
- Sign up for Google Voice using your Google Account.
- Login to your Google Voice account at http://www.google.com/voice and create your custom voicemail greeting.
- Download the Google Voice app from Google Play. Follow the prompts to set up your device with Google Voice.
- During the setup process of the Google Voice app, you’ll run into an issue when the automatic/wizard configuration included with the initial setup fails because the carrier (U.S. Cellular) doesn’t support Google Voice’s voicemail configuration. I called U.S. Cellular and asked for the codes for conditional call forwarding. I was told that the codes for these can change depending on your region (I live in Southern Wisconsin). I later found the codes at http://www.uscellular.com/features/calling.html#forwarding as well.
Note: if you are setting up Google Voice to point to your U.S. Cellular Android phone through the http://www.google.com/voice site and you click the Activate Google voicemail on this phone link, you’ll be prompted to dial: *74 + [Your 10-digit Google Voice Number] and then press “Send” or “Call” on your phone. This does not work! You’ll here a rapid busy signal.
Here are the numbers necessary in order to set up Google Voice on U.S. Cellular:
- No Answer Call Forwarding – Forwards incoming calls to your Google Voice number (instead of your USCC voicemail), when call is not answered (usually after about 4 to 6 rings), or if the phone is not on.
- Turn on, dial: *92 + [Your 10-digit Google Voice Number] –> Call
- Turn off, dial: *920 –> Call
- Busy Call Forwarding – Forwards incoming calls to your your Google Voice number (instead of your USCC voicemail) when busy on another call.
- Turn on, dial: *90 + [Your 10-digit Google Voice Number] –> Call
- Turn off, dial: *900 –> Send
After you dial each of those numbers, you should hear a tone. After you hear that tone, the call will automatically disconnect. You can now test your phone by calling it from a different phone and seeing if Google Voice is used for voicemail instead U.S. Cellular’s voicemail. If you hear your Google Voice voicemail greeting, then you have been successful!
Note: There is also an Immediate Call Forwarding option shown on the U.S. Cellular web site. I do not use that because I have my U.S. Cellular Samsung Galaxy S III set up as one of the phones that my Google Voice number forwards to. This setting would cause all calls, including calls to my Google Voice number, to bypass ringing on my mobile phone.
Be aware that, unfortunately, MMS is not currently support by Google Voice numbers. So, if you send/receive photos or videos, you’ll still need to use the default messaging app on your phone.
Did these instructions work for you? Leave a comment to provide more feedback.