As the endless brouhaha ringing from all corners of the Internet has proven, AT&T (or Apple, or whoever takes the blame in the end) really dropped the ball on this Google Voice thing. Whether it was rejected outright or shelved indefinitely, competing parties have been quick to play on their delays.
First, Palm essentially put third-party Google Voice dialer gDialPro on its shoulders and carried it across the finish line by ensuring that it was one of the first (and still one of just a few) applications to land on the webOS App Catalog. Now, Sprint has come along and done something rare: they’ve dropped long-established fees. With Google Voice’s new keep-your-number feature in mind, Sprint will be doing away with the call forwarding fees associated with third-party voicemail services come mid-November.
As it currently stands, call forwarding on Sprint currently costs $0.20 per minute. For example: if a user has their line set to forward to their Google Voice mailbox after a certain number of rings and the caller leaves a 5 minute message, that call would cost the user a buck. No longer, says Sprint; for any type of call forwarding required for the use of a third-party service (such as while the line is busy, or when calls go unanswered), the minutes will go uncounted.
In Sprint’s own words:
. Conditional call forwarding for busy calls or calls not answered using the customer’s wireless phone will be free, beginning mid-November. (Standard charges will continue to apply for immediate call forwarding.)3 This change will give Sprint customers the opportunity to access third-party voice services, including the new voicemail feature in Google VoiceTM.
Clarification: As pointed out by James B in the comments below, Sprint is the last of the major carriers to hop on board with free conditional call forwarding.
[Thanks for the heads-up, Mike!]