I’m impressed. Favorably impressed. StraightTalk was OK but ATT, my MVNO carrier had gotten lazy. StraightTalk was not offering ATT visual voicemail, data tethering, or WiFi calling.
Changes in ATT’s ranking in Consumer Reports prompted me to change from StraightTalk to Ting. Consumer Reports ranked T-Mobile above ATT as a carrier and Ting above StraightTalk as an MVNO. StraightTalk is a competent discount MVNO but had not been keeping up on ATT LTE capabilities rollout. The Ting rate plan model offers data tethering, WiFi calling, and visual voicemail across the board.
MVNO GSM Visual Voicemail is Colicky
Ting’s T-Mobile offering (and this seems to apply to all GSM MVNO) is having difficulty delivering Visual Voicemail to Apple iPhones. Ting’s agreement with T-Mobile makes the service available but it works for some phones but not others for reasons neither Ting nor T-Mobile have sorted. Ting Support suggested giving YouMail a try while they work to resolve the issue.
YouMail Alternative Voicemail
YouMail uses call forwarding to provide enhanced voicemail for mobile subscribers.Using an app, YouMail shows voicemail call date and time and the caller id. Paid subscribers receive two additional benefits. Voicemail transcription and RoboCall blocking. These services together cost about $5/month.
The best way to get started is to visit the YouMail.com website and elect the create an account option. This will prompt you to enter your phone number. YouMail will analyze the number to determine the carrier and advise if YouMail is available for that carrier. YouMail works with most mobile providers, most mobile MVNO providers, and many VoIP services. If your number is supported, you can proceed with App installation and setup.
Setup is painless. You install the YouMail app and perform initial configuration. It adds a YouMail contact to your contacts. You make calls sending the required control codes to your carrier to set up the call forwarding linkages. This begins a 30 day trial of the Plus service level (visual voicemail, voicemail transcription, and robocall management).
YouMail Plus is the place to be
YouMail plus is a paid service. It does away with adverts, enables voicemail transcription, and enables robocall slaughter. All for $6/month or $60/year billed monthly to your credit card or PayPal. You can change to the yearly plan at a future time to take effect at the end of the current period of performance.
YouMail and Google Voice
YouMail works only for your actual mobile number and not for virtual numbers from services like Google Voice. Google Voice provides many of the same services as YouMail for my GV virtual number. GV provides visual voicemail, voicemail to text (spoiled me), and spam filtering for the GV number that I give out. The GV number rings both my mobile and my OOMA secondary number.
YouMail deals with calls directly to my mobile (there are no legitimate calls because I don’t give out the device number to anybody, only my GV number). So any calls directly to my mobile are mis-dials or robocalls. That YouMail does robocall filtering should head off most of these. In my environment, it is unlikely that there will be a voicemail on the bare device but it can happen and they need to be sorted.