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Home » Technology

Google Voice Number Porting: How to & Pros & Cons

Last updated by on 4 Comments

Google Voice recently opened up number porting as an option to all users. This opens the door for anyone wanting to use Google Voice’s features that has been holding off because they have been dreading switching phone numbers, yet again. With Google Voice number porting, you no longer have to make that compromise.

But before you make the switch, there are some things you should be aware of. I’m crossing my fingers for what this could mean for the future of mobile communications. More on that in a bit.

How to Port your Number to Google Voice

google voice number porting

If you don’t already have a Google Voice account, you are asked when creating a new account if you’d like to use an existing number. No need to select a Google Voice number. If you have already created a Google Voice account, you must:

  1. Go to your Google Voice settings.
  2. Click on ‘Change/Port’
  3. Select ‘I want to use my existing mobile phone number instead’.
  4. You will then be taken to a walk-through of the number porting process.

Pretty simple. But before you jump into it, check out my warnings in the ‘cons’ section below.

Also, and this is important, if you are starting a new or want to keep an existing phone service, don’t port your number from that service! Your service will be canceled. All you need to do is add that phone number to your Google Voice account so that calls to your Google Voice number are automatically forwarded to that phone. Just accept whatever random number the new provider gives you.

Here’s a video on Google Voice number porting:

Pros to Google Voice Number Porting

1. You Get to Keep your Number if Between or Canceling a Service Altogether: The FCC number porting rules, put in place a few years ago, allow you to port your old number from one service provider to another. If you are denied, your old service provider could face FCC penalty.

Google voice does not change that. However, if you’ve wanted to cancel an entire phone service (i.e. your land-line or wireless service), but keep your number and have calls forwarded to another phone, Google Voice number porting would work perfectly for you.

2. You Get to Use all of the Great Google Voice Features: Google Voice offers free voicemail, call forwarding, call screening, voicemail transcription (Voice emails you a transcript of your voicemail), the ability to have your voice number work with multiple phones, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, and cheap international calls – among other things.

3. You never have to worry about porting a number again and having a carrier screw it up or incurring more charges.

Cons to Google Voice Number Porting

1. It costs $20: I’d expect this to come down over time when efficiencies are gained. But for now, $20 is $20.

2. Early Termination Fees: Be aware that as soon as you port your existing number, the phone service you are porting from is canceled. This means a few things. First, you’ll want to already have another service in place to receive incoming calls (existing or new).

Secondly, if you are still within your carriers contractual terms, you may have to pay early termination fees. You might best wait until your contract terms are up. Of course, you could have avoided that altogether by getting service from a cheap no-contract provider like Net10 or Tracfone, but I digress.

What I Hope for the Future of Google Voice

On its own, Google Voice number porting is a much needed component for Google Voice. What I’m hoping for down the road, is that this is a precursor for Google Voice to offer stand-alone service, so that I can make and receive calls via a Google Voice number via VOIP through a cheap mobile data plan. That way, we could do away with our existing talk plans completely!

Apparently there are some complicated hacks out there that allow you to do so already, however, they are not easy to set up. I expect a serious fight from the mobile providers if Google goes this route – most have already written terms forbidding this into their contracts.

Google Voice Discussion:

  • Is this the feature that you’ve been waiting for before trying Google Voice?
  • What other features would you like to see down the road?
  • What unique ways are you using Google Voice?

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


4 Comments »
  • Trevor says:

    I’d really like to see IVR functions incorporated into Google voice. It would make a smaller company appear to be much larger or more technologically advanced. Other than that I love the service. I have used it now for about 18 months (tried to use it when it was still Grand Central).

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Aren’t there some VOIP devices that are already set to work well w/ GV?

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Yes, but mobile is the key word. Ooma, for example, would work with GV. But I’m talking about a mobile device itself communicated over VOIP (and not just on wifi), not a VOIP-designed product that works off of a line.

      • Anonymous Coward says:

        FYI, you can already do this. Those of us who got a Gizmo account before Google bought them can have our Google Voice numbers forward to our Gizmo VoIP service. Honeycomb natively supports VoIP accounts (although you could already do this with SipDroid before). I have tested using Honeycomb’s VoIP support for both incoming and outgoing calls using Gizmo and Google Voice together. Works like a dream.

        The part that doesn’t work is “cheap mobile data plans”. They don’t exist. It’s still cheaper for me to have a voice plan (with no data) unless I’m going to go WiFi only, which makes coordinating with people when out-and-about hard.

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