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Old 10-11-2015, 07:49   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Cell phone hack with Google Voice?

I'm not nearly educated, let alone a guru, but...

It appears that we may be able to take advantage of Google Voice' ability to ring many phone numbers, and act as a transfer point.

I've been a Vonage customer for MANY years, and it used to work well afloat, through our WiFi adapter. One particular feature we liked (aside from having my phone ring aboard whenever I had the bandwidth to support it, allowing multiple-handset conversations with friends and family, on the same number I have had for over 40 years, thanks to LNP) was that we could get phone calls any place we had WiFi connectivity, and the caller would be dialing a regular US number.

However, apparently, based on an extensive 'chat' with their techies, they've changed their setups so that WiFi, regardless of bandwidth, is not adequate to the task of transparent, no-lag/no-cutout connectivity, instead, now, requiring a DSL or Cable connection. So, the search for alternatives is on.

We found that bandwidth was so good on a Batelco data-only hotspot phone - at a net price very nearly that of Vonage's monthly charges - that we nearly always wound up using it for our internet connectivity. That included all the usual suspects, but also the admiral's US smartphone for facetime (which is considered data) - but not voice-only; for that we used Skype, whether in-house (to computer) or to landline numbers.

However, we still need to be able to have folks call us, which doesn't work on Skype unless we're up/online and the other party is, as well. Google Voice has the same functionalities, but we've not used it much.

However, there are 'hangouts' - like a voice call, including conference calls - which work on GV. In mucking around with my son, we confirmed that a non-active (not connected to any cell provider) smartphone, if using the hangout app, would make and receive calls and texts to 'normal' numbers, so long as it had internet connectivity (smartphones usually can use WiFi instead of a cell network; apparently that's so whether the phone is actually ever used as a cell phone).


The data phone might/could have a hangout app, with its number set to ring from GV, to which I'd LNP my original number. When we're in the states, it would ring both the admiral and my cell phones, and, perhaps, if we were ashore somewhere for an extended period, our hosts' phone. As the hangout would be a data, not voice call, the fact that we are in the Bahamas should not impact (any more than it did for Vonage) whether the US number assigned to that phone was someplace ex-USA.

We're away from the boat, where said hotspot phone is tucked into the Bahamas bag, along with our local, voice-only phone. However, it's an unlocked Samsung Galaxy J1 GSM, and when I have my hands on it again, I could get a new sim for my current cell provider, Net 10, and migrate my US cell number to that phone. So, in the Bahamas, it would be a hotspot only, and in the US, a cell phone. Based on the experimentation we did at my son's, I presume that I can make it into an extension of my Google Voice, and LNP the Vonage number to GV, making the transition transparent to anyone calling. Thus, someone calling my (previously Vonage) GV number would ring my and the admiral's - and any other we wanted - cell numbers, getting us wherever we were, whether we were on a US cell or a Batelco hotspot. Once we get back from the SSCA Melbourne Gam, and a trip to the FL panhandle after that, we can get our hands on that hotspot phone and play with it. But not until then, which will be the week after Thanksgiving...

Has anyone done this, or tried and failed? My thoughts at the moment are that Vonage is costly given that it no longer works reliably, which in itself would be a rationale for moving. But keeping my same number, and having the ability to ring multiple phones is key to me; GV can do that, but I am not certain that I can get the Batelco hotspot phone to behave in that fashion...



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