So in September, when they rolled out better integration between gVoice and gHangouts, I was thrilled. Now when someone sent me a sms to my gVoice number, I'd see it in Hangouts. Plus if I replied to them in gHangouts, they'd see my gVoice number. If people sent me a SMS to my regular mobile number, I could still reply using gVoice number! In other words, finally one number to rule them all!!!
But not so fast....the integration left some unanswered questions:
- Does sending SMS from Google Hangouts use my texting plan or my data plan? And how much does it cost?
- Can I send an international SMS through Google Hangouts once it had been integrated with Google Voice?
- How much does it cost to send an international SMS?
If you have the Hangouts app on devices with Android 4.0 and higher, you can send and receive text messages (SMS & MMS), photos, and videos. Remember, your text message rates through your mobile carrier still apply.Ok, so it uses my texting plan. Since my carrier is Tmobile and I'm using their $30 ("Walmart") plan, I went back to Tmobile to see what the plan entailed. The $30 plan includes:
- 5GB up to 4G speed
- Unlimited Domestic and International Messaging
- 100 nationwide minutes ($0.10/minute for additional voice minutes)
I should point out this type of unlimited international text messaging is NOT the same as having an international plan. For this feature international txt messages must originate in the U.S. In contrast, an "international plan" would allow you to roam and use your phone while you're in other countries. There doesn't seem to be any charge for receiving international text messages. According to their website:
Unlike our competitors, there’s no need to purchase an expensive international plan—it’s now automatically included with our Simple Choice Plan.
Truly unlimited texting: T-Mobile is the only US wireless carrier to deliver unlimited international data and texting from 120+ countries and destinations, PLUS we’re now adding international texting from the U.S to virtually anywhere*– all at no extra charge.
The world is your network: Simple Choice customers can enjoy unlimited data, texting at no extra charge, and flat-rate calls for just 20 cents a minute, while traveling in 120+ countries and destinations—and growing."
Summary so far:
- Sending SMS from Google Hangouts utilizes SMS rates from carrier,
- my carrier (Tmobile) gives me UNLIMITED SMS to US, and
- my carrier (Tmobile) also gives unlimited SMS to most international numbers
The only way to fix it was to configure gHangouts to use either gVoice or regular mobile number in different circumstances. Open the gHangouts app, go to Settings -> SMS and choose the Smart Reply feature. Now I send international SMS using my regular mobile number (routed through my carrier) and domestic SMS using my gVoice number. Unfortunately, this means that my dream of one number to rule them all is gone. International contacts see my regular mobile number and domestic contacts see my gVoice number. Still since either way, it's free... I can hardly complain!