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Google last week teased us all with a test of number porting. Today it's gone live for everyone. You're going to need to think about this a bit before you dive in, however. If you port your current cell phone number to Google Voice, your current plan will be canceled, and you may be subject to an early termination penalty if you're still under contract. You'll then need to get a new plan, with a new number, which you'll then instruct Google Voice to ring.

For some, that's a bit much. For others, a godsend. [Google Voice Blog]

 
There are 23 comments

mjneid says:

seems like a big headache, why not just give you google voice number out to begin with?

when i signed up i just gave people my Google voice number and told them to use that from then on....

icebike says:

I agree. In fact, if you set up GV to make all outgoing calls, your contacts will only see the GV number on Caller ID, and never see your real one.

Still for people jumping carriers this may be a pretty good way to do a one time porting for 20 bucks, and not have to worry about changing phone numbers ever again.

It seems Land Lines are not supported yet.

SparkyXI says:

That's beside the point. The point is to keep the number you've had for 15 billion years, NOT give out a new one.

mjneid says:

like i said it seems like a lot of work just to use your "google voice" number.

uansari1 says:

I've had the same mobile number for a decade... if I could just figure out how to work a deal out with T-mo so I wouldn't lose my grandfathered contract and get charged an ETF. Maybe if I added a line and switched somethings around only to cancel it..?

eerongal says:

You should be able to call up t-mobile customer support and change your number without changing your plan, i think.

SparkyXI says:

1. Add a line. Make sure it's not changing your old plan (i.e. set up an individual plan on the new line).
2. Call customer care and have them swap the phone numbers.
3. PORT the wanted number to GV. (which will, in essence, cancel the line you just set up) Make sure you return the phone: do this before your 14 or 30 day trial period is up, or you'll get charged an ETF.

Problem solved.

jbona3 says:

I'm new to the Google Voice phenomenon and I'm confused as to what it actually is. I've done reading on it and can't tease out an actual answer...is it a VoIP solution, or a phone service or what? Can someone give me a quick and dirty on what it is? And if I port my number to Google Voice and my VZW contract gets canceled can I still make calls from my phone? I'm lost...thanks for any help.

icebike says:

Start here and read. There are videos linked to that page:

http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/topic.py?topic=

Its an elaborate answering machine, call screener, cheap international calling.

eerongal says:

It's essentially a call-forwarding service. You can set up any actual phone number to be rang by it. So for example, you have a cell phone with the number 111-1111, a land line with the number 222-2222 and a google voice number of 333-3333. If you set up both your land line and cell phone on google voice, you can tell it which number to ring (or more recently, tell it to ring your gmail so you can do voip through gtalk) so you can give people the number 333-3333 and have it ring either 111-1111, 222-2222 or your gmail gtalk session depending on your current availability.

jaeisber says:

This should help:
http://tinyurl.com/yd9ek7k

TekWarren says:

I like that this service is being developed with more options but I guess I don't understand the order of things. It seems like GV would make a lot more sense if it where an actual self sustaining VoIP service. It seems to me that they are banking a lot on how important a specific phone number is to a person...granted to some maybe it is. Most cell providers by now offer number porting don't they? So does this really save you anything? I do like the GV service and use it exclusively for it's voicemail functions, I also use the number I got for a sort of personal/public contact number since my phone is through my employer.

icebike says:

Number port to Google Voice if you are hopping to a different carrier and you never have to port again. In the bargain you get a free consistent Voice mail facility which will even transcribe your voice mails and send them to you as email.

Its not clear that Google is "Banking" on any aspect of GV other than cheap calling rates to other countries.

GV is the tip of the iceberg in Google's long range plans if you ask me. Its a proving ground for a technology that could, at the flip of a switch, become a world wide telephone carrier. Currently calls come and go via your cell minutes, but its easy to see that this could change instantly to work over your data connection (as it does when calling with Gmail or Google Talk from your computer).

With LTE's arrival, your carriers could become dumb pipes, data only, and voip services could become the norm. And when that happens, I predict GV will instantly switch over to calls via TCP/IP from smartphones.

Only issue as I see it is that people who call your original number can no longer use the in network portion of their or your plans so you might actually need to increase the amount of minutes in any given plan.

icebike says:

Thats true.

You can counter-act this by adding your GV number to your Fave 5, A-List, Friends/Fam. That way all inbound calls are free, but you can't tell who is calling (unless you screen calls with GV), because you have to set GV to always ring your phone with your GV # as the caller ID, rather than the original caller's number.

If you use it for outgoing calls, you would have to add each of your contacts to your A-list/FF. There are GV apps in the market that are designed to get around this by calling GV which then calls you back (again with your GV number).

wormeyman says:

Google voice is great for visual voicemail and text messages, the lag on phonecalls sucks though.

icebike says:

I haven't noticed the lag much recently. It was pretty bad initially.

jonnyl says:

This is awesome. I'm switching back to my old number now and going VOIP. Yeah, it'll be a pain in the ass, but how many people have numbers ending in 0001?

mjneid says:

Google Voice is not, i repeat not a true VoIP.

icebike says:

This week.

(It is VOIP when you use it from your computer).

Dnomyar220 says:

This is cool if you have multiple phone's and you want to give people your "original number" instead of a new google voice number... but how many people actually have multiple phones? I have my cell phone, period. I don't see the advantage of porting, getting a new number, and then having all my GV calls forwarded to my new cell number.

patron says:

Just cancelled my contract with sprint! Bye blackberry. I have an iphone4 for work and was tired of carrying two phones, especially the blackberry which lately has been pissing me off. I save money by not paying my personal line anymore, and keeping my number.

steveymacjr says:

What is the draw of Google Voice? It is very limited...
two things it cannot do is send or receive picture messages(MMS), nor can it send or receive Short SMS codes, like Text HELP to 90999 to donate, etc...

Something else to consider, Google Voice is considered a landline number, and as such calls to it from a Sprint phone will no longer be Any mobile any time calls... If I understand how Google voice works, when you place a call from your phone using the Google Voice app, you are essentially calling Google Voice? If this is the case, then anytime you place a call from your phone you will no longer get the advantage of Any Mobile anytime ever... If someone calls you is the same thing true, Google Voice is forwarding a call to you, therefore the call will be from a landline, and no longer an anymobile any time call....

I'd prefer to save the $20 port fee and use it towards Sprint excellent Voicemail to text service(more accurate than Google)..