Tuesday, September 28, 2010

AT&T and Google Voice: a cautionary tale

Even though I don't have an Android phone (I have a Nokia Symbian phone), I decided to try out google voice this summer. The Google Voicemail service seemed like a fun service to try out, so I gave it a go.

And now I've found out that it cost me, significantly. Or at least in the form of 44 overage minutes and all of my rollover minutes. Why?

What isn't explained in the google voice voicemail activation steps is that you are actually setting up a call forwarding service. Instead of going to AT&Ts voicemail (which doesn't 'count' as call forwarding), the calls are forwarded to an external service (google) which does.

This is important to understanding why my minute usage soared after activating the voicemail feature of google voice on my phone. Every single time I had a missed that went to voicemail, it cost me 1 minute of call time in call forwarding minutes. Not checking the voicemail, but rather every telemarketer who simply called me and hung up cost me a minute of call time.

Add to that a significant other who will call upwards of 6 times a day, and a public listing of the number as a government contractor (a few years expired), and you have about 400 minute increase in usage over two months (200 per month). In other words, all of my rollover minutes are gone, and I got to shell out extra for some 45 minutes at 0.45 cents per minute.

I just wish the disclaimer on Google's end had been more explicit, including a warning that using their voicemail service (while free on their end) would cost call forwarding minutes from your carrier.