I just got off the phone with T-Mobile customer service confirming this works. Note that you only get 500 minutes of call forwarding a month so if you get more than 500 minutes of voice mail (VM) a month I don’t recommend this. The 500 minutes a month of call forwarding don’t count against your plan’s regular minutes – they are separate. Voicemail and call forwarding star codes may be different for other carriers.
Anyways Google voice has a voice mail feature, which will take your message, save it for web or phone retrieval, and then transcribe it automatically using voice recognition. From here you can have it a) email you the transcript or b) SMS you the first 320 words (2 SMS messages) or c) both. You can always call in to listen to your google voice VM like on a traditional phone system. This is pretty amazing if you have a blackberry with unlimited data (email) and/or SMS and you, like me, hate listening to 12 minutes of voice mail. It takes about 1-2 minutes for google to auto-transcribe your voice mail and send it to you. It’s a pretty incredible service, using google voice in this fashion is like having your own personal secretary to type out your messages for you.
Did I mention this is FREE? Anyways this is how you do it using T-Mobile:
- Sign up for google voice – https://www.google.com/voice
- Pick your number
- Turn off google voice’s call forwarding feature
- Record your VM message, VM name
- Type in this string to your T-Mobile cell phone: **61*1(your Google voice number)**20#
- Hit send
You can change the “20″ in that string in 5 second increments, from 0 to 30. That exact string will let your phone ring for 20 seconds before forwarding the call to your free voice mail transcription service (Google voice).
Now people can call your cell, leave a voice mail, and then it will be transcribed and emailed/SMS’d to your phone for retrieval. It sounds too good to be true but it’s functioning just fine on my blackberry. The future has arrived.