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

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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TOPICS: Google, Mobility, Telcos, AT&T
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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, Mobility, Telcos, AT&T

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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41 comments
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  • Google Voice = Landline = Number portability?

    Tell me how you pulled off that trick. Last time I attempted to assign an existing # to GVoice, I was told it wasn't a current feature.
    scott.koegler
    • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

      @scott.koegler "Google" it.. Took less than a minute to find out.
      Jeffro34tx
  • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

    I wasted my time reading this. Why would you even put Google Voice in your title? Yeah, you were trying to use GV, but that's not your problem.

    Your saying what lots of others have complained about for years and years. AT&T sucks, their coverage is shotty. It doesn't matter where you are. Your in the largest city in your county?? What do you think all the People in NY or San Francisco think when they cant get any bars at home?

    C'mon, we've heard this story a thousand times, by putting GV in the title, your just wasting our time to read through it.
    Jeffro34tx
    • Headline says it all

      @Jeffro34tx
      The phrase <i>hint: it's AT&Ts fault</i> didn't tip you off?
      use_what_works_4_U
  • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

    Thats not true! My samsung focus gets 3 bars at work inside and the boss man has an iphone 4 that gets no bars. When he wants to make a call he has to go outside! He is not the only one. It is all the iphone 4.
    imsimsj
    • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

      @imsimsj Thank you Troll but that is a load of BS. People need to start checking coverage maps for the their cellular network before they move. Largest city in the country blah blah blah. Go cry to AT&T. My iPhone boosts my signal when compared to others I know with AT&T and no iPhone, and also I get service everywhere. All cell companies are evil, trust me I have no real love for AT&T after what they just did to my mom's monthly plan (Added a 2GB data plan without her knowing it to her Tilt 2 which she has had for a year with no data plan). AT&T can go cram that BS. If you don't have a contract David, then just ditch them! Problem solved?
      Bates_
      • imsimsj did provide some info

        @Bates_
        Your post is total BS
        FADS_z
    • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

      @imsimsj
      Yet the iPhone outsells any Android phone... hmmm
      Hasam1991
      • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

        @Hasam1991 Can you say, "Sheeple?"
        MadWhiteHatter
      • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

        @Hasam1991 sheep buy whatever their masters tell them to buy.
        timspublic1@...
  • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

    Lame Story. Take your phone to somewhere there is signal and set it up !!!!!!!!

    This is your fault not AT&T. You can not blame the carrier because they do not service an area, just because you moved there.
    mrlinux
    • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

      @mrlinux
      They have had plenty of time to build out their 3g network. But, no they whined about iPhone users and now are whining that they don't have the coverage so try to buy T-Mobile. What a friggin joke.
      hoaxoner
      • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

        @hoaxoner You are not looking at the key sentence of this article:

        "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."

        Really? Lol, seems like a simple fix to me.
        Bates_
      • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

        @hoaxoner

        3G? AT&T has the least coverage and slowest 4G of all the nationwide carriers. AT&T said that AT&T won't catch up to where Verizon is now for 2 years. By the way, check out their earnings reports. Capital improvement costs are NOT keeping up with rate/revenue increases. If you buy AT&T, you buy less for more, and then AT&T tells everyone how stupid you are at the shareholder meetings.
        tkejlboom
    • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

      @mrlinux EXACTLY! You moved to a location with no coverage, who's fault is that? Aren't you smart enough to check first? Then you blame ATT for not having coverage where you decided they should...lame. Sure there are places ATT does not have coverage. That exact same can be said of EVERY network...including V.
      timspublic1@...
      • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

        @timspublic1@...

        That was my reaction too... someone who claims to be in the technology world doesn't even think to pull out their cell phone and check reception when house hunting? And why didn't he port his land-line PRIOR to moving? I would have done that as part of the move preparations.
        aep528
  • Maybe rightwingers are right regarding welfare being bad...

    They get lots in taxpayer subsidy ("welfare", "socialism", whatever the popular buzzword is today) to prop up their company - and that's gone back for at least 18 years, based on the years represented in this article: http://www.ctj.org/html/layoffs.htm

    If they need our help so badly, how come their service is constantly so bad?
    HypnoToad72
  • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

    omg!!!!!!!!! switch to VERIZON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hasam1991
  • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

    If only you had moved to cocoa beach :)
    LoverockDavidson
  • RE: My frustrating day with Google Voice. Hint: it's AT&T's fault.

    With my old WinMo phone, I had better AT&T reception than I do at home with my new 4G Android. I think a lot of it is in the phone. That said, why buy an iPhone anyway? They suck compared to most of the bigger Androids on the market now. You are out of your contract. Find a good phone on a good provider's network. Stop whining. Start winning.
    MadWhiteHatter