Groove IP

Use Your Android Device to Make Free Calls Within US and Canada

In this article, we talk about how to turn your Android smartphone or tablet into a communication set that you can use to make local calls (within the US and Canada) for free. A small piece of software called Groove IP allows you to do that, with some other important requirements. Groove IP is the one thing that allows you the final touch – the glue that puts it all together. But let’s start with the beginning.

What You Need

  1. A smartphone or tablet device that runs Android 2.1 or later.
  2. A 3G/4G data plan, or Wi-Fi connectivity. This goes both ways, that is, you need to have the wireless protocol support on your device first, and then you need the network available. You can have a mobile data plan (3G or 4G), but that would not make things free. You are better off with a Wi-Fi network at home, as it is free.
  3. A Gmail account, which is very easy to obtain. Besides, it is the best free email service around. If you don’t have a Gmail account yet (and it’s a pity if that is the case while you are using Android), go to and register for a new email account. You will not be using the email here, but the calling feature attached to it, the softphone add-on that allows you to make calls. Actually, it is not present in your mailbox by default, you have to download and enable it. It is simple and light. Read more on Gmail calling here.
  1. A Google Voice account. This will only be used to receive calls on your mobile phone. Google Voice service is not available for people outside the US. What you will learn in this article will benefit you even if you are outside the US, but the Google Voice account needs to be created from within the US. Read more on Google Voice here.
  1. The Groove IP app, which can be downloaded from the Android Market. It costs $5. Download and install directly from your device.

Why Use Groove IP?

Especially if it is not free. Well, it adds the VoIP part to the whole lot. Google Voice only allows you to ring multiple phones through one phone number that it gives. Gmail calling allows free calls but not on mobile devices. Groove IP brings these two assets into one feature and allows you to use your Wi-Fi (free) connection to make and receive calls through your Android device. In this way, you can make unlimited calls to any phone within the US and Canada and receive calls from anyone in the world, without using the voice minutes of your mobile phone. This will not prevent you from using your phone as a normal mobile phone with the GSM network.

How to Proceed

  1. Register for a Gmail account.
  2. Register for a Google Voice account and obtain your phone number.
  3. Purchase, download and install Groove IP from the Android Market.
  4. Configure Groove IP. The interface is quite intuitive and user-friendly as are most Android-based interfaces. Provide your Gmail and Google Voice information.
  5. In order to make and receive calls through Groove IP, make sure you are within a Wi-Fi hotspot and connected.
  1. Making calls is quite easy, as it provides a simple softphone interface. Configure your phone to ring within the Google Voice account page for it to receive phone calls.

Points to Note

The calls are free only to phones within the US and Canada, as this is what Gmail offers. This offer has been extended until the end of 2012 and we hope it goes beyond that.

Groove IP needs to be running permanently on your device if you want to use it to receive calls as well. This will consume some additional battery charge, something you need to take into consideration.

There are no emergency calls possible with the system.

Gmail calling does not support 911.

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