Sprint and Google testing Google Voice integration

Sprint and Google have already teased us about Google Voice integration on Android phones, and they were serious.  We're getting numerous reports that the beta program has started, and a little bit of information comes with them.  You'll have two options -- use your existing Sprint number to replace your Google Voice number, or use your Google Voice number to replace your Sprint number.  The first option sounds very much like a carrier-supported version of porting your cell number to Google Voice, while the second option should provide the benefit of using Android's native (or a third party) SMS/MMS client.  Both sound awful useful to me, and I can think of use case scenarios for each. 

The drawback to enrolling in this testing is the lack of customer support.  Instead of calling customer service, you'll be at the mercy of support via a Google Group.  I guess that beats Google's python script help center, though.  And to answer your next question -- no, there's no place to sign up, it looks like Sprint is cherry picking testers from their user base. 

I expect we'll see this open to the public sooner rather than later, but right now I'm more curious about where this one is heading, and Sprint's new relationship with Google.  Things could get very interesting here.  The full text of the email testers are receiving is after the break.  Thanks, Dave and riggsAndroid!

Hello,
You have been invited to start enjoying the benefits of the Sprint integration before anyone else! We are interested in your feedback as we roll this out to the entire user base and have listed an email address below where you can send feedback and or questions.
There are two ways to enable the integrated service:
1. Option 1: Keep your Sprint number (all the benefits of porting without the need to). In this case, your Sprint number becomes your Google Voice number so that when people call your Sprint mobile number, it rings all the phones you want.
How to enable this: click on the "change/port" link next to your GV # in the settings page, choose the option to use your existing number, enter your Sprint number and select the Sprint option.
2. Option 2: Replace your Sprint number with your Google Voice number (all the benefits of the app without the need for one). In this case, all calls made from your Sprint phone will display your Google Voice # natively (same for SMS).
How to enable this: click on the "enable Google Voice on your Sprint phone" link next to your Sprint forwarding phone. If the link does not show, click on edit and use the link to verify whether your phone is eligible.
In both cases, Google Voice replaces Sprint voicemail (pressing one on your phone links you to your Google Voicemail) and international calls made from the Sprint phone will be connected by Google Voice. Integrating your account with Sprint means you will still get the benefits of Any Mobile Any Time if that is included in your service plan.
Important Notes:
  • The integrated service only works with a valid Sprint mobile number.
  • For this early release, Sprint support channels will not be available for support, including Sprint Retail Stores, Sprint Customer Care, Sprint Telesales, Sprint Direct Sales Reps, etc.
  • If you need support, please direct your questions/comments to voice-sprint-preview@googlegroups.com with your Sprint or Google Voice number listed.
  • If you use the Google Voice app on Android, you will need to log out and log back in to make sure the app stops using call interception.
Thanks,
Vincent Paquet, on behalf of the Google Voice team
© 2011 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You are receiving this email announcement because you requested to be notified when the Sprint integration was available.