The tech/telecom world is still focused on AT&T-Mobile and its prospects this morning. Meanwhile Sprint has gone "all in" with Google Voice. The carrier also introduced the Google Nexus S (Samsung) 4G handset with NFC capability.
In terms of the Google Voice integration, Sprint and Google Voice users can:
It's a little bit confusing at first blush. In the former case Google Voice number becomes your Sprint mobile number (this is number porting). In the latter scenario, the existing Google Voice number is replaced by the Sprint phone number.
This is another step toward Google as "carrier 2.0" and the mainstreaming of Google Voice. For users the benefit of this is more control over how calls are received and routed. Google explains how it works:
Sprint customers will be able to use their existing Sprint mobile number as their Google Voice number and have it ring multiple other phones simultaneously. So now, calls to your Sprint mobile number can easily be answered from your office or your home phone, or even your computer through Gmail. Calls from Gmail and text messages sent from google.com/voice will also display your Sprint number. This basically gives Sprint customers all the benefits of Google Voice without the need to change or port their number.
Alternatively, Google Voice users can choose to replace their Sprint number with their Google Voice number when placing calls or sending text messages from their Sprint handset. This feature works on all Sprint phones and gives Sprint users all the benefits of Google Voice without the need for an app.
In either event Google Voice will replace Sprint voice mail. There are international calling benefits (via Google Voice) as part of the deal as well.