Use Google Voice with US Cellular

posted by adam johnson on November 6, 2011

Google Voice is a pretty amazing little service. One of the handy things that it enables you to do is use Google Voice as your voicemail. In doing this, you can check your voicemail on both your phone and on your computer. Google will also transcribe your voice message so that you don't have to actually listen to the message. All very handy. This tutorial will tell you how to set up Google Voice with your US Cellular powered Android device.

  1. The first thing to do would be to sign up for Google Voice with your Google Account.
  2. Afterward, download the Google Voice app from the Android Marketplace. Follow the on-screen instructions about how to set up your device with Google voice.
  3. If you are like me, you may run into a road block where the automatic/wizard configuration included with the initial setup fails. If that is the case, check out this documentation on the subject, Instructions to use Google Voice as your voicemail when people call your cell phone number. That page has instructions on how to set Google Voice up for most of the major carriers.
  4. For some reason, the instructions in the documentation above did not work for me. I had to call US Cellular and specifically ask them for the codes to set up Busy Call Forwarding, No Answer Call Forwarding, and Unreachable Call Forwarding. They mentioned that the codes for these can change depending on your area (I'm in northern West Virginia, for the record). At any rate, here are the numbers necessary in order to set up Google Voice on US Cellular:
    1. No Answer Call Forwarding:
      • Turn on, dial: *92 + [You Google Voice Number] --> Call
      • Turn off, dial: *920 --> Call
    2. Busy Call Forwarding:
      • Turn on, dial: *90 + [Your Google Voice Number] --> Call
      • Turn off, dial: *900 --> Send
    3. Unreachable Call Forwarding:
      • Turn on, dial: *76 + [Your Google Voice Number] --> Call
      • Turn off, dial: *77 --> Call

Update: US Cellular has since published official documentation about call forwarding. Please use US Cellular's documentation when setting up call forwarding for use with Google Voice. Thanks to Mike Hobby for the link.

After you dial each of those numbers, you should hear a tone. After you hear that tone, the call will disconnect. You can now test your phone by calling it and seeing if Google Voice is used for voicemail instead of your provider's default voicemail. If you hear Google Voice's voicemail, mission successful.

The next step is to login to Google Voice at http://www.google.com/voice and set up your custom voicemail message.

Use Google Voice as the number you give to people, forward it to your cell, and keep that number for life.

One cool feature that I wish I knew about before: if you ever get a new phone number, you should just tell people to use your Google Voice number instead of that new number from your cell provider. You would be able to keep your Google Voice number for life and simply register new cell numbers with Google Voice. The result: even if you were forced to change numbers/carriers, your Google Voice number would stay the same and you could just forward calls to the new cell number you just acquired.

Example: John calls your Google Voice number. Unbeknownst to John, he is automatically forwarded to the number you specify in Google Voice. Two years down the road you change your carrier and number. All you have to do is register the new number with Google Voice and you don't have to tell the world to call you at a new number. John can then call you at that same Google Voice number and the transition is seamless.

Check out this quick Google Voice promo on why it's awesome and what it does:

 

Lifehacker has written up a ton of cool how-to's about Google Voice. One of their articles, Ten Clever Google Voice Tricks, tells you how to use your location to determine which phones ring, set "Do not disturb" times, and how to upgrade your cell phone to get unlimited minutes using Google Voice as one of your "five favorite numbers".

Did these instructions work for you? Thumbs up the article (below) or leave a comment to provide more feedback. You can also keep an eye on US Cellular's Calling Features page for more documentation.

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