In the past I recommended using Sipgate with Google Voice if you wanted to gain access to your Google Voice number through a soft-phone on your Mac computer. This provided international access to Google Voice, and made it possible to call the USA and Canada free from anywhere in the world (anywhere you have Internet access). Sipgate is closing their service on October 31st, 2013, so I went looking for a Sipgate alternative. In this article I share the best Sipgate alternative I found, and how to set this up with Google Voice.
Google Voice provides users with a free US phone number. That number has to forward to another US number to be of any use. Normally this would be your US mobile number, or a US home number, or any other US number. If you live or travel outside the USA it becomes impossible or very expensive to receive your Google Voice calls. The way around this issue is to use a soft-phone. That’s a phone you run (as software) on your computer (or on your smart phone, tablet, iPad, etc.). So long as the device has Internet access, you can receive your Google Voice calls with it.
A soft-phone utilises what is called SIP VOIP (session initiated protocol, voice over Internet protocol). But Google Voice does not offer SIP access to their service. So the answer is to get another free US number that does provide SIP/VOIP access. Sipgate was a great company providing exactly that. As mentioned, on October 31st 2013 they are closing up shop. We need a Sipgate alternative.
CallCentric – the Sipgate Alternative
After much research online, I found CallCentric to be the best alternative to Sipgate. Unlike Sipgate, CallCentric only provides free incoming numbers in New York. But that’s fine, because you will never give this number out, and no one will call it.
Setting it all up
These instructions are for setting up your Mac computer to receive Google Voice calls. If you want to set up on Android, iOS, or Windows, the steps will be similar except you will use a different application or app as the SIP/VOIP soft-phone.
1. Go to www.callcentric.com and sign up for a free New York number.
2. If you don’t already have a soft-phone installed, download and install a soft-phone.
There are many options. Here is a small list of the soft-phones I have used and can recommend:
- Telephone – find it in the App Store
- Jitsi – found here.
- iSoftPhone – found here.
- Blink – found here.
There are various commercial phones. The pro version of iSoftPhone is good, as is Bria. There is also a pro version of Blink.
3. CallCentric give you a CallCentric “extension” number. This is different from the DID (phone) number they issue you. It is the extension number you will use as your SIP username. Access the CallCentric Dashboard (on their web site, after you login) to see your CallCentric Extension #.
4. In the soft-phone add a new account. Use the CallCentric Extension # as the username. Use the password your set up with your CallCentric account. Use callcentric.com as the domain name.
CallCentric also provides instructions on how to download and set-up a soft-phone on various devices.
5. Your soft-phone should indicate it is connected. It might do this with a “status” that says “online” or “available”, etc. Now you need to instruct Google Voice to forward to your new CallCentric number
6. Log into your Google Voice account. Go to your account settings. Add a new forwarding number, using the New York number CallCentric issued you. This is NOT the 1777… number (your Extensions #), but the actual phone number they gave you.
7. Google Voice will make a call to your CallCentric number. You will answer this call on your soft-phone. Enter in the code Google Voice provides you with.
You now have Google Voice set up to forward calls to your soft-phone.
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Tag: Google Voice