Who Is This? (Sprint + Google Voice Is Hopeless)

You can’t say I didn’t give it an honest try. It was over a year ago now that I tried switching from an Android phone to the iPhone. The main reason I had waited so long was my tether to Google Voice – I’m all in there after porting my phone number to them a few years ago. And Google Voice never worked natively on the iPhone.

Until Sprint, that is. Their partnership with Google let me use my Google Voice number as my Sprint iPhone number, bypassing Apple completely and letting me use Google Voice natively for SMS, phone log dialing, etc.

So I switched to Sprint and enabled Google Voice and I thought all my problems were fixed (putting aside Sprint’s awful signal and data issues). I even got one of those Sprint Airwave boxes to get a signal at home. I was committed to making this work.

It doesn’t work. It never really has. I give up now.

Phone Calls: If I initiate a call from Google Voice in the browser to my iPhone everything works great. If I initiate the call directly from the iPhone, then about half the time my caller id shows my Google Voice number, and half the time it shows the original Sprint number. It tends to do this in bunches, so as soon as I think it’s settled on one number or the other it switches on me again. People have no idea who’s calling them, and eventually they end up storing both my phone numbers and it’s a mess.

SMS: Same thing. If I text from the browser it’s all good. But when I use my phone it mostly uses the original Sprint phone number. Text messages sent to my Google Voice number sometimes, but don’t always, show up on my phone. Text messages from my phone only show up in Google Voice in the browser if the phone happened to use the Google Voice number that time.

A common (daily) sms exchange with me looks something like this:

You: Hey Mike
Me: Hey
You: Who is this?

That’s because they send a SMS to my GV number. It was forwarded to my phone (which sometimes happens, sometimes not). I respond but Sprint uses the old Sprint number, so it sets up a whole new thread on the other person’s phone. They have no idea who I am.

Then we have a whole discussion about it being me and how Google Voice is weird and oh yeah there went another five minutes of my life.

None of these issues are new, they’ve plagued the partnership since the beginning. I just kept hoping they’d fix it.

It’s clear they aren’t in any hurry to fix it, though, and I’m done. It’s time for me to cycle back to Android anyway to keep current on that platform.

So I’m unboxing that Nexus 4 that Google sent me last month and I’ll get Google Voice running natively on that in no time.

As for home service, by the way, that whole OBiTalk with Google Voice thing was a big bust, too. It worked except it didn’t ring. Meaning if I happened to pick up the phone when someone was calling I’d get a good connection. But that was a loser’s game and I kept missing calls at home. So I switched to Vonage.