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GoogleVoice handling Voicemail; international roaming question


GoogleVoice handling Voicemail; international roaming question


 Can I avoid international roaming on AT&T for voicemail if I use Google Voice on my US iPhone for voicemail?

I am aware that AT&T charges a variety of fees for voicemail while overseas. (

What's not clear to me, however, is that all of these charges have to deal with accessing AT&T servers (whether it be AT&T voicemail or the AT&T server that has visual voicemail). If I use Google Voice (avoiding AT&T altogether), can I avoid these fees? Google Voice does not work with visual voicemail, which appears to be the worst offender in terms of random international fees.


Message 1 of 4

Re: GoogleVoice handling Voicemail; international roaming question

You can greatly reduce your charges if you do it correctly.  First, you need to understand the problem.  When you call your phone normally and the call goes to voicemail, there is a conditional call forward which says if the phone does not answer the phone send the call onto voicemail.  When this happens in the US, ATT eats the charge and there is no problem. 


When you go to Europe and the same thing happens, the call gets sent to Europe and is rerouted back to your US voicemail on the foreign carriers interntional lines.  If you have an inbound and outbound international call, plus you have the cost associated with retrieving the call (either data for visual voicemail or minutes if you call in). 


If you use Google's suggested code for forwarding your ATT calls to Google Voice, you change your conditional call forward to Google Voice and will have the same problems.  If you set the call forward as an unconditional call forward "*21*12125551212,# you will not incur international minutes but the call forward will come out of domestic minutes.  This happens because the unconditional forward happens on ATT's UJSA switch and the call never reaches Europe.  You will not be able to answer the call because the call never leaves the USA.


Now, you need to retrieve the message.  If you call for the message, you will burn interntional minutes.  If you suck it down over data, you will use international data, but ATT has some foreign data bundles that won't bleed you dry.  If you retrieve the message over wifi, the message is free. 

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Message 2 of 4

Re: GoogleVoice handling Voicemail; international roaming question

Thank you!

Message 3 of 4

Re: GoogleVoice handling Voicemail; international roaming question

Wow, that is easily the most informative information on international voicemail I've ever seen. Major thanks to stufried!


One follow up question, though -- if I turn the phone (completely) off while overseas, what does that do to the equation? Say I don't set up the unconditional forward -- will turning the phone off when I'm not using it serve to accomplish the same thing?


I would think it has to, unless AT&T is storing my last known location and routing the call to Europe based on that.

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