I just noticed that Google Voice is charging me 1 cent/minute when I call my mom's home number. This used to be free, looking at their web pages I find the vague:

If you're calling from the United States and Canada to a number within those countries, almost all calls are free, but a few destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number.

Does anyone know under what conditions Google charges for these "few destinations"? Is it by city? Why did Google start charging for just some US numbers and not others?

2 Answers 2


So set up a Google Voice number just for your mom, and have the first 3 numbers be the same area code as her's. Then use that Google Voice number when you call her.

I know. Unnecessarily complicated. But maybe it will work. My GV no. uses my mother's area code, but I set it up that way orginally. Haven't been charged yet. Worth a try if you want to mess with having 2 GV numbers.

  • When trying to add her number as her home phone on her account gives error: There was an error with your request. Please try again. Not sure if that error is due to the number being one that is not free?
    – WilliamKF
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 21:39

Google does not disclose all the factors that determine whether or not a given telephone number incurs the one cent per minute charge in the U.S. In general, some local telephone carriers are charging unreasonably high rates to the phone company of the person making the call (Google Voice, in this case), to connect that call to their customers. Rather than just block these calls entirely, Google Voice charges the one cent/minute fee to partially cover the cost it is incurring on your behalf to call those numbers. This is a very small percentage of all telephone numbers in the U.S.

Some also hypothesize that the rate fee determination is based on which phone service providers engage in Traffic pumping.

Traffic pumping, also known as access stimulation, is a controversial practice by which some local exchange telephone carriers in rural areas of the United States inflate the volume of incoming calls to their networks, and profit from the greatly increased intercarrier compensation fees to which they are entitled by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.


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