Google Voice is a VoIP provider. It provides internet-based numbers that allow you to make calls over the internet, without a SIM card.
It’s owned by Google, and it’s an excellent service – but it has some significant drawbacks.
It’s primarily designed for US customers – they’re the only ones who can get a US number for free (other than GSuite customers). While it works great for calls to other US numbers, international calling is not free.
International rates vary and tend to be decent, but you need to load at least $10 to your credit balance to be able to make international calls. If you want to make free international calls, you’ll need another app.
Furthermore, international texting is not supported at all. Unfortunately, if you want to text a friend in another country, you’re out of luck.
Google Voice also isn’t the best choice for business users. Google Voice does offer business plans to companies that require advanced solutions.
Despite that, Google Voice is lacking some features that are important to many businesses. For example, you can’t get a toll-free number (like an 800 or 888 number) with Google Voice.
Google Voice is also popular for those who require 2FA texts but don’t have a SIM card, such as those traveling on business trips abroad. However, not all banks and fintech companies support Google Voice numbers, and it requires a WiFi connection or a local SIM card (for cellular data) to work.
Fortunately, many awesome Google Voice alternatives exist, providing solutions to all the above problems. Whether you need Google Voice for personal or business purposes, read on to discover the best ones for you.
TextNow is the best alternative to Google Voice. Like Google Voice, it provides free calling and texting to domestic numbers – calling both US and Canadian numbers is always free.
Similarly, it offers multiplatform support, which was also an important deciding factor when considering it for first place on this list.
TextNow has both Android and iOS apps, like many other VoIP apps. However, it also has downloadable apps for Windows and macOS.
As if that were not enough, TextNow has a web app that allows you to make phone calls and send texts from any desktop or laptop, regardless of your operating system.
That takes its multiplatform support beyond Windows and macOS and expands support to Chromebooks, Linux computers, and others. It’s also useful for laptops without enough space to download additional apps.
Desktop support also makes TextNow a good option for business owners who need a second line, though it’s not the best choice if you have a large team and many incoming calls.
TextNow’s international rates can sometimes be more expensive than Google Voice’s rates, but it depends on the country. Right now, for example, calling to Mexico is entirely free, while Google Voice charges for it.
TextNow offers international texting, which Google Voice does not. But prepare for your mind to be blown – texting to TextNow’s international carrier partners is entirely free!
Yes, you read right – you can text to many countries, including France, Brazil, and others for free (providing you text to numbers registered with specific mobile carriers).
For a full list of supported carriers, see this page.
Furthermore, unlike Google Voice, TextNow is available for download in many other countries. Over 30 countries and territories are currently supported – see availability here.
When you download TextNow in another country, you will be able to get a US number. If your friend or family member is in another country, they may be able to download TextNow and call or message you for free with their US number from TextNow.
Finally, TextNow offers a feature that you just won’t find elsewhere – a free SIM card, with free national calling and texting throughout the US over cellular networks.
TextNow is primarily a VoIP provider, which means you can use it over the internet. However, sometimes, you won’t have access to WiFi.
TextNow’s nationwide network allows you to make calls and texts for free over the regular cellular networks, providing you get a free SIM card from TextNow and have a supported device.
It sounds almost too good to be true, until you realize that TextNow is able to offer this free service by showing ads to users. Nevertheless, nothing beats free, and seeing a few ads is a small price to pay for free cellular service.
Check out this page for more information on TextNow’s cellular service. Scroll to the bottom for answers to commonly asked questions and links to the coverage map and supported device list.
If you don’t have a supported phone, you can buy one directly from TextNow.
It’s important to be active on TextNow to keep your free number. TextNow recommends making an outbound call or text every two days, but the exact period before your free number expires varies.
You can also upgrade your subscription to remove ads or keep your number without using it. If your number does expire, you can always get another one for free.
Explore the best alternatives to TextNow here.
If you need a full-fledged VoIP business solution, Grasshopper is the best alternative to Google Voice. It allows you to get a toll-free number, unlike Google Voice, and it has competitive plans and an easy-to-use interface.
Available toll-free numbers include 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888 area codes.
Furthermore, Grasshopper lets you get vanity numbers, unlike Google Voice.
Vanity numbers are custom numbers that can contain your business name. You may be familiar with some famous vanity numbers from TV or radio advertising, such as 1-800-FLOWERS.
Like Google Voice, Grasshopper provides multiplatform support, with Android, iOS, and desktop apps. You can also use it without an app by simply forwarding calls placed to your business number to your landline.
You can set up call holding, extensions, custom greetings, and more.
However, Grasshopper doesn’t just let you forward calls to your regular cellular or landline number. You may also use it as a VoIP solution, making all calls solely over WiFi, without a cellular connection (though that is not the default setting).
Sending texts from your business number is also possible within the app, and you can add a virtual receptionist or auto attendant to your line. An automated response system can help customers get help for their problems at any time while lessening the burden of managing inbound calls.
You can also get a live virtual receptionist – a real human answering your calls for you. That adds a human touch and establishes better relationships with your customers.
Grasshopper will always be there for you, providing customer support 24/7.
Dingtone is an excellent VoIP app for Android and iOS. Unlike Google Voice, it supports international texting.
Furthermore, it allows you to earn free credits in the app besides purchasing them outright, allowing for free international calling and texting.
Dingtone will give you free credits every day for doing nothing – all you have to do is open the app and check in. You won’t get credits if you don’t open the app that day.
You can earn additional credits by completing tasks like watching videos, inviting friends, or completing offers. If the credits you get from those tasks are not enough, you can always purchase more.
One way to avoid needing to buy or earn credits is to get your friends or family members to download Dingtone. Calls and texts to other Dingtone users are always free.
To sign up, download the app and enter your phone number or email address. You’ll get a local number assigned to you, but you also have the option of getting a custom number, unlike Google Voice.
However, you’ll have to pay an extra (one-time fee) for a custom number. You can search for the custom number you want for free first to see if it’s available.
In the Contacts tab at the bottom of your screen, you will see all of your contacts that also have Dingtone accounts. Texting and calling them will be free, but reach out to them first to ensure they still have the app installed and are active on it.
If a contact is not on Dingtone, you can invite them.
There are three types of calls you can make on Dingtone:
- To other Dingtone users over WiFi
- WiFi calls to regular numbers
- Calls routed through your cell phone number, which don’t use the internet but your cell minutes.
Another Google Voice alternative with multi-platform support is TextFree. It is available on Android, iOS, and desktop computers (through the web app).
Texting domestic numbers is always free on TextFree, hence the name. That’s true even if you’re texting someone who does not have the TextFree app.
However, calling on TextFree isn’t free. Nevertheless, credits are cheap to buy, and you can also earn free credits.
TextFree, unlike Google Voice, does support international texting to around 36 countries. See a list of those countries here.
It’s important to note that you can’t text internationally from the web app – you need to download the mobile apps to do that.
Furthermore, it supports calling to a few countries: Canada, Mexico, India, and Singapore.
To keep your TextFree number for free, make an outbound call or text before 30 days of inactivity.
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textPlus is a Google Voice alternative that allows you to make international calls for free by earning credits. There are a few ways to get credits on textPlus, including watching videos and completing offers (you can earn thousands of credits for a single offer).
You can also trade in major brand gift cards for textPlus credits through the PayGarden partnership.
Supported gift cards include Starbucks, Best Buy, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Newegg, Office Depot, Pottery Barn, PetSmart, Target, TJ Maxx, and many others.
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A good business alternative to Google Voice is Line2. Unlike Google Voice, it allows you to get a 1-800 toll-free number or a vanity number, though you can opt for a standard local number instead.
You can make calls over WiFi or 4G data.
Line2 is perfect for businesses that need multiple phone numbers and advanced business solutions, such as an auto attendant, call forwarding, after-hours call handling, and other advanced solutions. It has apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.
Some other features you may find useful include call recording (for quality or training purposes) and call merging – you can have up to 99 people on a call.
Unlike Google Voice, Line2 also has an integrated internet fax solution, allowing you to send faxes from the web. However, it doesn’t come automatically included but must be purchased separately.
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Yolla is an excellent Google Voice alternative, particularly if you need to make international calls and texts. When comparing international rates for Yolla vs Google Voice, I found that Yolla was often cheaper.
Here are some examples:
- To Mexico: Yolla’s rates start from $0.007/minute, while Google Voice’s rates start from $0.01/minute.
- To Turkey: Yolla’s rates start from $0.028/minute, while Google Voice’s rates start from $0.04/minute.
- To Kenya: Yolla’s rates start from $0.12/minute, while Google Voice’s rates start from $0.16.
Note that it does depend on which country you are calling. For example, Yolla’s rates are similar to or more expensive than Google Voice if you’re calling certain European or African countries.
Also, rates are subject to change at all times. Yolla frequently holds weekly deals, which can help you save money when calling certain countries.
However, another thing that sets Yolla apart from Google voice is that it supports international texting. Not only that, but you won’t have to deal with confusing texting rates, as Yolla charges a flat fee of $0.15/text for every international text.
Furthermore, you can get free credits by inviting friends (you’ll get $3 for every friend who purchases credits).
All in all, Yolla is a good alternative to Google Voice, though you should compare rates for the country you are calling beforehand. If you’re calling friends or family in Mexico, it’s definitely worth it.
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Rebtel is another superb alternative to Google Voice for international calling. It’s unique in that unlike Google Voice, which makes you top up credit and charges per minute for international calls, Rebtel uses a subscription-based model.
For just $10/month, you can make unlimited calls to landlines and mobile numbers in 51 countries. Yep, it’s unlimited – that means you will never have to worry about using up your credits or incurring hefty international calling fees, as all your calls are included in the flat monthly rate.
Those 51 countries are in the Americas (including North America, South America, and the Caribbean), Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Check the map on this page for supported countries.
Furthermore, this subscription is available as a free 7-day trial, so you can try it out for yourself at no cost.
Not only that, but Rebtel frequently has offers for new users. Right now, for example, you can buy 30 minutes of airtime to Nigeria for just $1 or 20 minutes of airtime to Cuba for $5, though other offers may be available by the time you are reading this.
The main takeaway here is that you can buy calling cards for specific countries, such as $5 for 33 minutes to Argentina. That may help you save money compared to using apps that make you top up your account with general credit that is not specific to a particular country.
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Hushed is an awesome alternative to Google Voice if you’d like to keep multiple VoIP numbers at once. Google Voice only allows you to get one free number per account – the only way to get an additional Google Voice number is to set up a new Gmail account.
On the other hand, Hushed lets you set up multiple numbers and keep them as long as you want. You can create and discard numbers at will.
That can be useful in multiple circumstances. For example, you may need separate phone lines for personal and business use.
Or, you may want to create multiple accounts on an app you use. If the app requires you to sign up with your phone number, Hushed can come in handy.
Additional features available to Hushed users include custom voicemails, call forwarding, and call routing. Furthermore, Hushed integrates with Slack, allowing you to send SMS messages over Hushed from your Slack account.
Hushed also integrates with Dropbox. This integration makes it possible to save voicemail recordings, pictures you received via text, and your text history to Dropbox.
It costs money to use Hushed, but pricing starts at just $1.99/month. Check out the pricing page for updated pricing details.
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Ooma is an interesting alternative to Google Voice because it is a full-fledged residential VoIP solution for your home.
It comes with features such as smart home connectivity, Amazon Alexa integration, 911 calls that route your home address to the emergency dispatcher, and other perks you won’t get with Google Voice.
You’ll need WiFi to use Ooma, and you’ll need to purchase an Ooma Telo device that adds VoIP calling connectivity to your home over WiFi. If you don’t have WiFi, you can get Ooma Telo 4G, which is a mobile hotspot device that provides internet for your VoIP phone calls at competitive rates.
Once you purchase your Ooma Telo device (for a one-time fee), however, the VoIP phone service will be free. You’ll only need to pay applicable taxes.
Alternatively, you can sign up for Ooma Premier. Ooma Premier allows you to add a second line to your home, so you can make calls even while the first line is in use by a family member.
You can even tie a second number to a specific device so only that device rings when someone calls that special number. That allows you to make a private number for your personal phone while still keeping a shared family number for everyone else.
Voicemail to email forwarding, voicemail monitoring, caller ID, three-way conferencing, and free calls to Canada and Mexico are just some other features included in Ooma Premier.
International calling costs extra. However, unlike Google Voice, Ooma allows you to sign up for a monthly Ooma World Plan subscription, which costs $17.99/month and allows you to make unlimited calls to over 60 countries.
For updated international call pricing, check this page.
In addition to residential VoIP phone systems, Ooma also provides solutions to small businesses and enterprises. Its small business VoIP solution includes features that Google Voice is missing, such as toll-free numbers and online faxing.
Other features small businesses can enjoy when using Ooma include video conferencing, voicemail transcription, call recording, and dozens more.
Both small businesses and families can use Ooma as a Google Voice alternative and enjoy a wider range of features.
11. Numero eSIM
Numero eSIM is a useful alternative to Google Voice if you would like to purchase a virtual number from a country other than the USA. You can get a virtual number from over 80 countries and use that number to call friends and relatives in those countries.
Furthermore, Numero eSIM has something else that Google Voice does not: eSIM plans. Many modern phones now support eSIMs, which are embedded SIM cards that allow you to travel to new countries and connect to local networks without purchasing physical SIM cards.
With a data plan from Numero eSIM, you can travel and connect to those local networks in supported countries. Just purchase a data plan in advance and activate the eSIM once you arrive in that country, and you can connect to the internet without WiFi.
It’s important to note that even if you have a phone that doesn’t have an eSIM and/or you don’t plan on traveling, you can still get virtual VoIP numbers from 80+ countries. The eSIM feature is entirely separate from the VoIP feature.
TextNow is the best alternative to Google Voice.
Like Google Voice, it includes multiplatform support, but it also adds free international texting, free video calling, and free calling and texting over the cellular networks with a TextNow SIM card (in the US only).
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.