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Old 05-17-2010, 06:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Google Voice BlackBerry App on T-Mobile Prepaid (no data)

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So, here's my current situation: I have an 8120 on T-Mobile Pay-as-you-go Prepaid (not flexpay), with no data. I just got a Google Voice number and downloaded the BB Google Voice app and was actually shocked that it worked, especially because no other google apps seem to work without data (even with a wifi connection).

So really my question is just one of curiosity: how is it that I'm still getting the visual (and transcription) voice-mail service that Google Voice provides without a data plan? I just did a quick test by leaving myself a junk voice mail message, and it seemed like checking it used up 1 minute of my prepaid balance. I'm wondering if that balance reduction is a "flat" 1 minute charge or if it is dependent on how long the message is (probably the latter, right?). Does it charge me when I listen to the message or when the app checks for messages and displays them?

On a related note: are the messages themselves stored on the BB or are they streamed? Say, for example, I listened to a message several times. Would I be charged each time or only that first time (because it's already been saved to some cache on the BB)? Really, I'm just sorta puzzled that this is working over voice and not data.

One last question that is pretty much entirely unrelated to BBs, so feel free to just ignore it: has anyone been able to get tmo to set up voicemail forwarding from your tmo phone number to your Google Voice mail box? GV's interface says it's not possible with tmo prepaid, but I've read some scattered postings in the Google help forums that if you talk to the right customer service rep, they can make it happen. Just wondering if anyone else has had success.

Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (L'neuf trois)

Hmmm that's definitely weird. Didn't think the app would work without some sort of data plan (even a generic plan works). As you are on pre-paid they might do things a bit different but I'm not familiar with how Tmobile's pre-paid plans work in general. I would be careful that they are not charging you per kb or per mb of data. That could get expensive. Best way is to call their CS and find out. Better to find out when you owe $10 rather than $100.

As for GV voicemails, I doubt the voicemails are stored on your BB. I think the app preloads the message (buffer?) so the playback is smooth.

As for your last question: haven't tried it myself, but I'm wondering what would happen if you set your Google Voice number as the call forwarding options (Home screen, press call button, menu key, options, call forwarding).

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Old 05-17-2010, 11:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'll probably call up CS and find out, thanks.

I tried changing my call forwarding number to my GV number, but I got this error message:

"Forwarding number [GV number] not set for If Busy*:. Please check the number and try again."

*I got three different error message, each time switching out for the phrases "If Busy", "If No Reply" and "If Not Reachable" (ie: the three forwarding options)

It sounds similar to problems other people were having with setting GV as their forwarding number on tmo prepaid (with non-BBs).

I'll just ask the CS rep if they can weasel me into forwarding.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (L'neuf trois)

If you can let us know how it turns out. I'm a bit curious now.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jontyl View Post
Yeah, I'll probably call up CS and find out, thanks.

I tried changing my call forwarding number to my GV number, but I got this error message:

"Forwarding number [GV number] not set for If Busy*:. Please check the number and try again."

*I got three different error message, each time switching out for the phrases "If Busy", "If No Reply" and "If Not Reachable" (ie: the three forwarding options)

It sounds similar to problems other people were having with setting GV as their forwarding number on tmo prepaid (with non-BBs).

I'll just ask the CS rep if they can weasel me into forwarding.

Thanks for the reply!
T-Mobile prepaid US doesn't allow call forwarding.
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm aware that t-mobile prepaid doesn't allow forwarding, but I've actually read a forum post somewhere (I believe the Google Voice help forums) that stated that they were able to get a savvy CS rep to allow forwarding from them (whether or not that's true is another story) I'm guessing it's a not a technical limitation. Anyway, that's not really a dealbreaker from me.

I just got off the phone with t-mobile customer service. The first person had no idea what I was asking (she kept on telling me that data isn't available prepaid, which I repeatedly stated that I already knew). I'm not even convinced she knew what Google Voice was. I asked to be forwarded to tech support, and I got the "BlackBerry Specialist" team. The guy I talked to knew what I was talking about but was basically mystified that I got the visual voicemail to even work. He said he couldn't give me a good answer and would have to go to someone else with actual Google Voice expertise. I guess I'm heading to the Google Voice forums...
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Old 05-22-2010, 02:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[BUMP]
So I haven't gotten any definite answers to my situation after posting it in several places (tmo forums, GV forums), but I did some more testing myself and found something VERY interesting.

I think I may have screwed up my earlier testing. I left myself another junk voice mail, and after refreshing the GV app to listen to the message, my account balance did not change. That's right, I was able to view and listen to my voice mail for free, which is funny because I get charged for checking my regular voice mail (since I'm making a call).

Also, once I set GV to not forward SMSes sent to my GV number to my regular number, I'm getting free texting! If I send or receive texts from/to my GV number (through the GV app), my account balance is not being affected.

I've read somewhere that texts sent to the GV app are solely data (one of the perks of GV is that you can text without getting SMS charges), so this must be some kind of bug with T-Mobile. The only thing I can think is that this is such an odd (possibly unique?) situation, that there is some sort of loophole in the system. Really crazy.

Frankly, I don't mind actually paying for the service (I mean, I don't mind paying for regular voice mail and SMS); I just started out wanting to know the actual costs so I don't dig myself into a hole. I'll have to monitor this and see how long it lasts.

...now I just need to figure out if I can ACTUALLY get a tmo rep to allow conditional forwarding...
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Old 05-22-2010, 02:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (L'neuf trois)

Yes SMS sent to your GV are only data (assuming you use the app or mobile site to check) unless you have it set to forward them to your actual number.

Still can't explain how the GV app is working for you even though you don't have data. It doesn't make sense but this isn't the 1st time I've heard of something weird happening when it shouldn't.

I say enjoy it but monitor your account least they decide to plug the loophole.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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FYI: seems like the free ride is over. Last week the google voice app stopped working. I tried doing a couple things (battery pull, uninstall/reinstall), but it still isn't working. I guess tmo plugged the hole.

Oh, well.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (L'neuf trois)

Awww. Well that's expected...
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