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My Great Skype Experiment


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I only have a cellphone. 

In fact, I haven’t had a landline since I left college over ten years ago (gheez, I feel old after typing that).  Every now and then, I miss a call when my phone is on the charger and I’m in another room. 


After reading several blogs (OK, just LifeHacker) about Google Voice and Skype working together, I thought I could fix that problem.  I could get a Skype number and a Google Voice number then use Google voice as my primary number and forward the calls to my cell and a Skype number.  I didn’t want to give everyone a new number, I wanted to port my cell number to Google voice, get a new number for my cell, and Google Voice could forward my calls to my new cell phone number.  This whole process would be transparent to the people who call my old cell phone number .  However since I’m sporting a contract Lumia 920 and I really don’t want to pay ETF I figured I’d have to sweet-talk AT&T.


After reading several blogs (OK, just LifeHacker) about how to get your number to Google voice without an ETF, I tried calling AT&T and visiting a store.  After much confusion, in the end they told me there was no way to do this without me paying a bunch of money due to an ETF.  However, I did find another way. 

I got a Skype number (a 3 month subscription so I can try this out).  In my Lumia, I went to setting>applications>phone>call forwarding.  I am now forwarding my calls to my Skype number.  When I get a call, I simply see a Skype call on my phone.

The end result… 
Whenever I get a call, it shows up as a Skype call on my cell, my PC, my Surface, and my backup cell phone (eBay’ed Verizon HTC 8x used on wifi only – for those playing at home who don’t want to eBay a phone with someone else’s DNA on it, you can go for an off contract Lumia 521) and eventually my Xbox one will also ring.  As MS incorporates Skype deeper and deeper into the OS, this will get more and more useful.    


The only snag I got to in the end was I couldn’t get the voicemail to work on Skype.  The fix I
got working is now I have Skype forward the call to my Google Voice number after 16 seconds.  I have Google Voice go to voicemail immediately.  Now if I get a voicemail I get the Google Voice advantage of a transcription of the voicemail and MP3 of the voicemail emailed to me.


I’m only a couple days into it, but so far I’m happy with the results.  Most the calls I’ve had so
far was me calling myself to test the system out - but let’s be honest here, who really who uses their phone as a phone.


This leaves two things I still need to figure out.  Is there a way to send my text messages to my
email or Skype automatically?  Is there potential savings dropping the phone service entirely and just getting a mi-fi?    


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Nice writeup. Thanks.


Only 10 years since you left college? Hah! You're a baby. I left college before you were born :D To evidence that, "who uses a phone as a phone?" --> I do, and so does my wife :)


We, too, only have cell phones. We still get mail (the snail variety) from our former land-line supplier, wanting us to come back. Yeah, that's gonna happen.... NOT.

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It's been a week into my experiment now.  Thanks to water in my basement, I've received a call on my cell phone that was redirected to Skype.  To me, it was exactly like a normal phone call with the word Skype in the top right corner.  I also made a phone call from my backup cell and the only difference was my Skype name came up on my parent's caller ID.


The bugs I found so far is if I miss a call (normally just me calling my cell from my work number to test my system out) my backup cell will then receive a Skype call that happened a few hours ago when I return to a Wi-Fi area.


In general, I think  my 1 call per week average proves my "who uses a phone as a phone" point at lest for me.

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I'm only counting my personal calls.  I get many more work related calls, but they go to my office number.


Fortunately my 4-legged children don't know how to call me, or else my phone would ring constantly with treat requests.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Very interesting project and great write up!

I having been using Google Voice 100% for almost 3 years now, with no major issues.  (still pay a cell phone bill; GV is only a forwarding service.)  I have often wondered what I would do if Google shuts the service down.  I thought that Skype might be an option and I really like what you have done here. 


Sorry I don't have an answer about your text messages though. If I come up with something I will post again.

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OneSmartphone with ATT is about $90 monthly.  One MiFi is about $50 monthly.
 That's your call.  Your only issue might be emergency calls which
Skype doesn't do.  For about $8.33 a month you could keep a GoPhone around
just in case of an emergency.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Actually the rumors I've been reading it sounds like wp9 or gdr3 will have SMS syncing with the PC which should fix that issue. Actually the current SkyDrive SMS syncing seems to do a decent job off getting the messages to the other phones, but I'm not sure how instant it is

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