UPDATE: After some feedback from readers about being charged even with NZ Best Mate, I spoke with resident Vodafone guru johnr. NZ Best Mate and best mate don't apply to redirected calls. The only way to get this for free is to have it come out of any free minutes you receive per month. Thanks to everyone who emailed me about it, and to John for clarifying. Apologies for errors in this post.
I loathe Vodafone's (Telecom/2degrees are just as bad) voicemail system. I have no issues with paying $0.20 to access it, it's just navigating it using a phone's keypad seems so antiquated. Smart phones are now more prevalent than ever so there should be an app/menu that allows you to easily navigate voicemails, save them, delete them etc. Pressing 1,2,3 # to navigate messages, remembering which message you are on, and jumping between messages is as hard as getting sbiddle to shout you a beer.
The closest I could get to an improvement on the voicemail system was messagePage, where an operator answers your calls and sends the details in a SMS. It worked well for some time, but the costs rack up quickly if your calling volume is high.
The best solution is voicemail-to-email. You can store them, delete them, and forward to a colleague if required. Until johnr and his boys enable this in the Vodafone core, I have a dirty hack to get this going. You will need NZBestMate enabled on your mobile.
1. Sign up to 2talk's Go Free plan.
It'll cost you nothing a month as we are using them purely for inbound calls, not outbound. Keep track of the 028 number, we'll need this later.
2. Enable Do Not Disturb
Login to the 2Talk portal, and under the column marked Inbound Calls click Do Not Disturb.
Under Do Not Disturb tick Enable Do not Disturb Service and click Save Options. This will force all calls to your new 028 number to go to voicemail.
3. Setup voicemail service
Now that 2Talk will be handling your voicemail, you need to setup your greetings. You can either have 2Talk call you to record, or upload an MP3.
In the field Send a copy of my voicemail messages to the following email address: enter the email you want your voicemails to go to.
4. Call Vodafone to setup NZBestMate
Call 777 and give them your new 028 number. This will zero rate any calls made from your mobile to your 2Talk number.
5. Setup voicemail redirection on your phone
This is tricky as it varies from phone to phone. On my Galaxy SII, it's under Settings > Call > Call forwarding > Voice call. Modify busy, unanswered and unreachable to be your 2Talk number.
Do a couple of test calls to make sure it all works. I've had this setup for a few months now - mine is slightly different as my 028 number registers to work, and my voicemails go through our VoIP PBX, but exactly the same concept.
The best thing is: I never have to use Vodafone's voicemail system ever again.
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