My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

Summary:It shouldn't be like this. Just sayin'.

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As many of you know, my wife and I recently bought a house and have been renovating it. Although we've been generally living in it for a few months (minus most of the amenities), I've been working from the old house, until now.

Last week was the week I moved the office over from the old house to the new one.

Part of that move involved moving my office land line to Google Voice. I didn't want to lose my old land line just because I was in a new, physical location. The good news is that, after jumping through a few hoops, it is possible to move a land line to Google Voice.

So, there's that.

Unfortunately, I have an iPhone. An AT&T iPhone.

I've spent most of the day trying to connect my new Google Voice number (which now happens to be my precious main contact number) to my iPhone.

The problem is the iPhone. To be specific, the problem is AT&T's complete lack of service on the iPhone.

I'll admit that Central Florida is far from real civilization. They call pizza "New York Pizza" here. Back where I come from, they just called pizza "pizza". Even so, although we're not in a metro area, this is a very big, suburban town. Palm Bay is the largest town in Brevard County, home of the Kennedy Space Center.

In other words, we're not in the boonies. So, why is it that the AT&T service level here in my new house has absolutely flat bars? Flat.

I blame AT&T.

And that brings us back to Google Voice. For Google Voice to connect to a cell phone, it needs to be able to dial the phone -- and the person on the other end needs to be able to answer it and type in a code. Google Voice can't dial my phone because my phone has no service here.

Google Voice also wants to dial the phone to allow me to record a voice mail message. Once again, that's not going to happen because Google Voice dials, but the AT&T iPhone doesn't answer.

Did I mention I have flat bars? Did I mention we're the largest city in the county?

I know I can get a nice little AT&T MicroCell and have it provide me with cellular service. But I don't feel like paying $150 for the privilege of using the almost $100 in monthly service fees I pay now to AT&T. Plus, adding insult to injury, AT&T wants an extra $20 a month, just to use the MicroCell.

Further, I haven't been able to get any reliable, trustworthy confirmation from AT&T that adding the MicroCell doesn't renew my contract. I've been out of contract for a few years now, and I have no intention of inadvertently kicking it back on, just because I'd like to use my phone.

So, for now, until I find time to pack up my laptop and phone, hunker down somewhere where I can get good WiFi along with a good phone signal, my original land line will remain somewhere in Google Voice/AT&T limbo.

You know what makes even more infuriating?

Every time you log into the AT&T Web site, there's a big banner displayed under the AT&T Death Star logo. The words on it: "Rethink Possible". For the record, I don't have anything to rethink. I just want my phone to work. Stick that in your possible and smoke it.

It shouldn't be like this. Just sayin'.

Update: Borrowed a friend's MicroCell (which lets you add guest phones). So my main number is now working. I'll deal with the issue of getting my own MicroCell later in the week. Stay tuned, there might also be a post on an interesting MicroCell security issue I'm researching now.

Topics: Google, AT&T, Mobility, Telcos

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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