Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Successfully Ported Number to Google Voice

Last week Google let me port my cell phone number to Voice. $20 and 24 hours later, my phone number moved from its home of nearly 11 years to a new home on the web. The advantage is that I am now not tied to any one mobile provider - if I decide to switch providers, I just hop online and redirect Voice to a new phone number, without having to tell anyone that I've made a change all my calls and texts still find their way to me. Additionally, my voicemail gets transcribed and emailed to me, and my calls ring through to my computer, meaning I have a no roaming number while in London.

The move was fairly painless. It took almost exactly 24 hours from the first email notifying me that the process has started until the the second email came informing me that everything was done. As I'm in the UK and don't get many text messages on the number I'm not sure whether there was actually a 3 day outage on that front.

I tried calling the number from Skype, and got a scare: "The number you have dialed can't be reached." Did I just loose my number? Why isn't it working?!! I picked up my cell and tried from that, sure enough G-Chat started ringing. After playing around with it for a few more minutes, it seems that the caller ID broadcast from Skype was preventing the call from going through - so if you're using Skype, make sure you have a different number on the caller ID than the one you are calling on Google Voice.

Now I'm without a mobile phone in the US. I've called T-Mobile and asked to add a line back to my account. In fact, they appear to be able to move my old Google Voice number to the mobile contract (yes, porting does appear to work both ways). So for those people that do have that number, they should still be able to get through to me.

I'm happy with the decision to port my number. I would caution that it is hard to get support - there is no one you can call when something doesn't work, and some people claim to have problems with the forwarding. That being said the advantages are there, especially if you're not in the US and want to have a working US based number abroad.

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