Most probably your cell phone provider offers you a pretty basic (dump) voicemail feature. To listen to your voicemails you have to dial a number and check all messages one by one.
Using this simple trick you can take your voicemail to the next level:
- online access to your voicemails
- download important messages to your computer
- receive voicemails as by emails as mp3 attachments
- SMS notifications
The trick consists in conditional forwarding (if you don’t answer, you’re busy or unreachable) your calls to a free GrandCentral number.
Step 1. Create a free GrandCentral account (GrandCentral was briefly presented in this post) and do basic settings. Do not define any phone numbers since you want the voicemail to handle all incoming calls.
Don’t worry! You don’t have to change your phone number! Your GrandCentral number will remain hidden behind the scene, while you’ll continue using your regular cell phone number. People will not even know about this little trick of yours.
Step 2. This step is optional but important if you wish to go back to your old voicemail system. Check with your cell phone provider the current status of conditional forwarding and voice mailbox number.
If you have a GSM phone the following codes, typed on your phone keypad, should give you this information:
*#61# [SEND] (forward on no answer)
*#62# [SEND] (forward on unreachable)
*#67# [SEND] (forward on busy)
Normally all three should be forwarded to the same number.
Step 3. Activate/Change conditional call forwarding feature for your cell phone.
Depending on the wireless carrier or network, the activation procedure may differ:
For GSM networks (T-Mobile, AT&T/Cingular), dial the following number sequence, as if you’re dialing someone: *004*YOUR_GC_NUMBER*11#
It’s also possible to specify the interval after which your calls are forwarded (on no answer). In this case the sequence is: *004*YOUR_GC_NUMBER*11*x#, where x is the amount of time from 5-30 seconds in increments of 5,
For CDMA networks (Verizon), dial any of these codes followed by your GC number: *71, *90, *92
For all other wireless carriers, is recommended to contact them to check this information.
Note: Using the same technique, you can even skip your company PBX voicemail system altogether and forward your business phone number to GrandCentral.
For an alternative solution, check callwave.com
SimulScribe offers visual voicemail for mobile phones as well, but the service takes things a step further by also automatically transcribing your voicemail so you can read it. They have a free trial at www.simulscribe.com
These new services for getting rid of the crappy stock voicemail are awesome. Callwave is cool but as far as the basic voicemail system I prefer Youmail which to me was easier to use and set up as well as being more customizable.
I am a product manager at CallWave, so if we are going to promote products (DSB and John) we might as well be up front about it. CallWave offers visual voicemail, like the others, and voice transcription, like SimulScribe, but is completely free. Not just for seven days before a required subscription of $9.95 a month is necessary for only 40 transcriptions. Plus, CallWave offers widgets that are compatible with Apple, Google, Yahoo!, and Vista to allow you to view your messages through these outlets as well as in your e-mail, on your mobile as a text message, and via the web. Widgets are also available that allow you to text anyone in the United States for free.
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