Perhaps you’ve upgraded phones over the years and have an old android phone laying in a drawer or storage box.
With all the open Wi-Fi hotspots that you can find now (places like McDonalds, Starbucks and Taco Bell probably even have it), You can repurpose that old Android phone to be useful again. Provided that it’s at least Android 3, many popular calling apps work, but most apps have a limitation that they can only call other people who use the app for free. If you want to call landlines and other cellular phones, then you’ll end up paying money to make the call. As of this article, Google Voice via Hangouts and Hangouts Dialer is the only service that allows you to make calls throughout the USA for free to any phone.
There’s Only One Hitch… You Have To Signup Using An Active Phone First
You must have a Google Voice Account. The GVoice account must be setup using a working phone number. The way it works is this: You go to https://voice.google.com while you are logged into Gmail.com with the email account you want to associate with the Google voice phone number you’re about to get.
Next, once you’ve signed into Google Voice, which is done automatically, you have to choose the area code for your phone number. A list of phone numbers pops up and you just have to choose one.
Once you phone number has been chosen, you have to verify by either text or voice call to a working phone number. Don’t worry, you can stop Google Voice from forwarding calls to the line you use to verify with in the settings if needed.
You’ll get a 2 digit verification number and you’ll have to enter the number into the verification box.
Once this is done, your phone number is active and you can receive calls at a real phone number from anyone with a regular phone or cell phone.
Again, if you wish to not be bothered by calls on the phone you just used during verification, you can turn it off in the settings, but it cannot be deleted from the account unless you replace the phone number with another one by going through the same steps above.
Install the Google Hangouts Dialer app from the play store on the old Android phone.
Log in to the app using the email you had used to sign up with Google Voice.
Now, the real phone number will be associated with the old Android phone, and when calls come in, they will ring on the phone provided that it is on a wi-fi network!
Why Use A Google Voice Phone Number and Secondary Phone Anyway?
Having a secondary phone is perfect for those times when you don’t actually want to give your full-time main phone number out.
It’s perfect for when you are:
- Signing up for a new credit card
- Giving a real estate agent or auto salesman a number you want to ignore them at
- Using for sweepstakes and surveys
- Any other time you’re obligated to hand over a phone number
The best practice is to always have a second number that you can give out rather than your personal number friends and family call you on
A Note About 911 (Emergency Calls)
There’s also one added feature many of us have known about for a long time — The Android phone, when UNACTIVATED, but still inside the wireless network, can still be used for 911 calls when there’s an emergency. Use the phone’s main dialer, not the Google Hangouts Dialer App to make this call!
While dispatch will not get any information about you (such as name, phone number) many will still receive GPS coordinates of the phone as the call is placed, making it easier for help to get to you. Even if they don’t get GPS info, being able to call 911 at all is a plus.