When I started this job a few years ago, the department admin handed me a phone which would be my work mobile, and it had already been activated. So I now had two cell phones to carry around. Most of the time, I felt as if I really had to carry both of them, because for different reasons, I didn’t want to miss a call or text aimed at either phone!
I got Google Voice as soon as it came out, because I love all things Google, but that was a third number entirely, so aside from a new number to give to new contacts, it didn’t solve the problem of all the people who had my personal cell phone number and might try to reach me on it someday. Sure, I’d try to give people the Google Voice number and ask them to make a note of the change, but when it’s a business like a doctor we go to just once a year or my kid’s school, I could be sure that some data field somewhere would retain the old number and not get changed. I’d had that personal cell phone for years and really couldn’t remember what all I’d used the number for. So I continued to pay for the phone each month and carry it around everywhere I went, just in case.
Yesterday I finally made a move that will give me the best of all worlds. I ported my personal cell phone number to Google Voice. The process was really easy. Note – I was on a month-to-month basis with Verizon on my personal account by then. If you do this before your contract is up, then you’ll end up having to pay all the early cancellation fees to your cell phone provider.
I logged into Google voice and began the process of the port. To get it finished up, I needed to have the personal cell phone with me and turned on, because Google would call it and give me a short code I’d need to type in when asked, during the online process in Google Voice. The other thing I needed was my Verizon account number. At first it was rejected by Google Voice, but I just needed to remove the hyphen and we were in good shape. Google charges a one-time fee of $20 to port your own mobile number to Google Voice, and I gladly did so.
Once I gave them all the information, Google indicated that the number would be ported in 24 hours and that text messages might not be working for three days. Of course I started checking obsessively, but it really was around 24 hours after I initiated the port that I finally got the email I’d been looking for.
The email mentions how if you want to use that particular mobile phone, now you’ll have to get a new number for that phone, but I already have a cell phone, thank you – and can now just carry the ONE cell phone. Also, Google Voice will keep your old GV number alive for a few months anyway, to give you time to alert your friends and family, but if you want to pay another one-time $20, you can keep that number too. You can’t call out “from” that old GV number, but you can sure give it to people and situations when you really don’t want to give out your “real” number but must give them a temporary way to reach you! Then you can use Google Voice to control when and who can call it!
Now anyone calling my personal cell number can be answered by my work cell phone, my home phone, or whatever phone I select. I’m not receiving texts to it (yet) of course, but that’s no problem at all. Thanks to Google, we’re getting into a situation where losing or breaking a physical device doesn’t mean we’re unreachable at a number we’re relying on, and we can add yet another layer of protection for our precious privacy and convenience.