Free Google Voice calls with T-Mobile myFaves

The following violates the fine-print for the MyFaves plans and I do not suggest you break rules. As mentioned by Josiah in the comments, the following guide goes against this statement on T-Mobile’s website: “Your five numbers must be US domestic numbers and must not include … customers’ own numbers; and single numbers allowing access to 500 or more persons.”

Some quick background: I’ve been a long-time customer of T-Mobile and have been extremely happy with their service. There have been four or five of us (friends and family) on a myFaves FamilyPlan for over four years now. We have free Mobile-to-Mobile, nights and weekends, unlimited SMS, five unlimited-call myFaves contacts and 700 minutes to share. With the $6 T-Zones internet, I pay only $37/month. life is good.

But it gets better. I rarely, if ever, am forced to use our daytime minutes thanks to Google Voice (formerly, GrandCentral).

Add your Google Voice number as a Fave


It’s not crazy, you do want your own phone number as a contact. Once you add your number to your MyFaves you can receive and make calls from/to that number with no charge. But first, make sure you set your incoming calls to display your Google Voice number instead of the caller’s number (so the calls appear from your MyFave contact):

Google Voice Set Caller ID

Why is this awesome? You never use your minutes and have more than one way to complete a call:

Google Voice call

  1. Call your number, dial a number: though not very practical, when you dial your Google Voice number from one of your existing phones (added to your Voice account) you are then prompted to listen to voicemail OR press 2 to dial a call. You can then dial a number and, while you’re still on the line, Google Voice will connect the call (unlimited talk time!). Keep in mind, the receiver will see the incoming call coming from your Google Voice number.
  2. Use the web service: your Google Voice contacts are the same as those in your Gmail account. If you sync your phone’s contacts with your Google Contacts then this is a seamless integration. All of your friends’ phone numbers appear in the Google Voice dashboard and you can click to call them. You are then called (the incoming number is your Google Voice) and your friend is connected. Again, since the call was from your Voice number, no charge!
  3. Use the mobile interface: same as the web interface, you can select a contact and have Google Voice connect the call by dialing your number (incoming from your Google Voice number).
  4. **iPhone app:** An application called [GV Mobile for the iPhone][4]is available in both a free and premium versions and will interface directly with your iPhone contacts. The premium version also allows you to do cool things like review your call history, incoming SMS messages (to the Voice number), and listen to voicemail.

    AT&T/Apple have pulled all iPhone applications for Google Voice (including an official one from Google).

Bonus: free conference calls

One thing you’ll notice about T-Mobile MyFaves is that toll and toll-free numbers can not be added as a Fave. Bummer! No free calls to customer service, conference call lines, etc. Lucky for us, there’s

FreeConferenceCall assigns you a phone number that is not a toll free dial-in (in my experience, all the numbers are area code 605). This means you can add your conference call number as a Fave, dial in, and never be charged for the call.

(or, yes, you can just connect to the conference number through Google Voice)

UPDATE: Some users have claimed that Google Voice acts as a forwarding service and you don’t need to turn on the ‘display Google Voice’ number setting in order to have your minutes counted as myFaves. This is false. I’m looking at my call records from T-Mobile and can easily identify two calls that were charged to me though they came through Google Voice number. The display number does matter. The call presentation (announcing who is calling) does not.