Work wants to give me a mobile (cell) phone. How do I make this work most effectively without having to carry two phones everywhere I go?
November 18, 2010 11:58 PM   Subscribe

Work wants to give me a mobile (cell) phone. How do I make this work most effectively without having to carry two phones everywhere I go?

Work has finally organised a mobile phone for me. However, since I first asked, I've gotten myself an iPhone 4 (on a 24month contract) that I have configured for my work e-mail etc, so I'd prefer to use that while still having access to the work phone (which is just a basic Nokia dumbphone).

The best idea I've come up with is either:

a) Divert the Nokia to the iPhone, so that all calls come to the one phone. Advantage of this is that I can turn off the diversion if I don't want to take calls, but it also means I can't make outgoing calls unless I take the other phone (or use my own, which might be okay, since I don't usually use all my minutes in a month) OR

b) Put the Nokia sim card in the iPhone and retire my own sim card or put it back in the Nokia. I'd then use the iPhone all the time and could divert my regular number to it. Advantage is just one phone for all calls, but it also means I can't turn it off unless I swap for the Nokia, and also means I need to be careful what outgoing calls I make since they will be charged to work!

Neither option seems ideal, so I'm wondering how others handle this problem? Some sort of dual-sim adapter? Some other idea I haven't thought of?

Thanks in advance guys.
posted by ranglin to Technology (16 answers total)
 
You could also use a Google Voice Number... you can set it to ring your work phone during work hours, and your cell at other times (or both at the same time).
posted by gryftir at 12:00 AM on November 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dealextreme has dual sim adapters, but I'm not sure how they work. I'm assuming only one sim is active at a time.
http://www.dealextreme.com/search.dx/search.dual%20sim%20iphone There are cases that hold the adaptors as well. I haven't used these, there are forums on the site though, you will get more information from them.
posted by defcom1 at 12:18 AM on November 19, 2010


Can't they just reimburse you the amount of the plan they would pay for to give you the phone? That's how they do it at my work. They kick in $40 towards your existing plan and you can use your phone.

My sister works for a big company and has a company blackberry on which she can make personal calls without problem. Same for my brother. Is this not an option at your workplace? You might want to ask your supervisor or HR dept.
posted by loquat at 12:19 AM on November 19, 2010


2nding loquat: you really just want to be using one phone and have your company pay for it. Presumably, there are work benefits to carrying your iPhone too, so you can access/send work email and web pages on the go.

Failing this, Google Voice is your friend.
posted by zachlipton at 12:23 AM on November 19, 2010


I'm in Australia, so don't think Google Voice will work for me.

On the idea that they just pay me for my phone, I don't think they like the idea of me using my personal number because they can't take it off me when I leave!

Keep the ideas coming tho.. :)
posted by ranglin at 12:41 AM on November 19, 2010


I use a work mobile for personal use to avoid carrying two. It's a little finicky to work out but I haven't yet seen a downside. I took the company mobile number and told my friends they could call me text me on this but there might be some delay in me getting back to them. This worked for me only because I was changing country and jobs at the same time.

About 1 year into this I shopped around and got a hugely improved deal on minutes and texts. I got an agreement from HR that I can use the free excess for personal use.

I had to show what I was using monthly just on work related calls first. If I exceed the monthly tariff I simply highlight any personal calls over the amount of the tariff and don't claim re-imbursement for those ( I have to send in the monthy bill to be re-imbursed, they don't do it from a company account so again YYMV)

My company is very flexible about calls home and accept that rountinely I may have to contact a family member as I'm juggling childcare and travel quite a bit so they have never questioned calls home or to my partner's mobile.

I increasingly tend to Skype friends & family from home (you may be able to do that on your iPhone?) so it is rarely an issue that someone needs me to ring them back urgently from the mobile. If it did happen I would simply highlight it and not claim it next bill.
posted by Wilder at 1:57 AM on November 19, 2010


Sadly, I asked this same question five years ago. I thought dual sim capability would have been a common feature by now.
posted by pencroft at 2:29 AM on November 19, 2010


What I did under similar circumstances was forward my work phone to my personal number. The last thing I wanted to do is be one of those guys with two phones on him.

My address book on my personal phone had contacts for both my personal and work. My work did not require me to have a specific work-specific voicemail so I just changed my personal email to be something professional sounding but not too job specific so whether it was my mother, or the CEO, they knew they were through to me.

My situation was fortunate because my calling plan offered free mobile-to-mobile minutes (AT&T in the US) and so most of the work contacts called me from their work number (or I would call them on their mobile) so there was never an issue of burning through all of my minutes. To manage my work/life balance, if a work call came in after hours I'd dismiss it to voicemail. For the most part, my boss and coworkers didn't expect me to be oncall 24/7.

I kept my work Nokia off in my bag. When it was off, the battery lasted a surprising amount of time and I would fire it up when I needed to call someone internationally, a long non-mobile-to-mobile number, or when I was traveling abroad. And when I was bored and wanted to play Snake.

The only catch was the call forwarding from the phone company does not forward texts. 99.9% of the people that would use my work number would not text me so it wasn't an issue. Because I could get work email on my iPhone I was never out of the loop.

I tried one of those dual sim adapters (on a Sony Ericsson K800 pre-iPhone) and a) the cover wouldn't close with it and b) didn't work for shit... you're still on either one line or another and you have to switch back. My SE phone had to power cycle to switch and sometimes would just lock up or shut off which it didn't do with just one SIM. If you're wanting to use an iPhone 4, I think you're out of luck due to its tiny SIM card and impossible to wedge in a ribbon cable somewhere for the second SIM.

Like pencroft I would have thought that if not dual sim an elegant dual line solution would be available now from the mobile carrier. Or a middleman company similar to Google Voice in the US (GV is nice, but since most people had my work # or my pre-GV cell #, it isn't great unless I tell everyone and their dog I have a new number)
posted by birdherder at 5:18 AM on November 19, 2010


I have to deal with this problem too as work will not let me make personal calls on my work mobile without paying for them. This wouldn't be too much of a problem except that I have a Blackberry (which sucks for everything bar email) and the mobile network they are with charges a fortune for calls.

In the end I put up with taking both phones to work, sticking my personal one in the drawer and checking it periodically over the day. At night, when I get home the work one goes into my bag and never comes back out again.

One redeeming factor of the Blackberry is that you could turn it off automatically at a set time each night and then on again in the morning. I have mine set to be off between 7pm and 8am.

Diverting your calls won't work because depending on which way you do it, either you'll end up paying for the calls you dial out (because you're using your own phone) or you'll pay for diverting all your calls from your personal mobile to your work one.

Best solution is to see if work will let you use your work number for personal calls.
posted by mr_silver at 5:46 AM on November 19, 2010


gryftir: "You could also use a Google Voice Number... you can set it to ring your work phone during work hours, and your cell at other times (or both at the same time)"

I know the OP already said why this can't happen, but there's a technological reason why it can't either.

Google Voice is not some magical do anything you want to do with a phone and make you cookies at the same time tool.

Let's say that my phone number is 111-1111 and my work number is 222-2222. If I have Google Voice (whose number is 333-3333) and someone calls me at my home number, Google Voice dies not know that. It will not forward that call to my work number. No matter how badly I want it to.

The only calls that Google Voice knows about are calls to the Google Voice number.

Thus, if you want to use Google Voice to forward calls, you have to make sure people are calling you at the Google Voice number. Which means that you get to tell your boss(es) at work that in order to call you at your work number they have to call a number different than the one they gave you. That might not be a big deal but it's something to consider.

What might be a big deal is that some companies have a phone number tied to the position. So let's say I'm the new guy people call when they have problems getting wockets out of their pocket. I get the company phone so people can call me when they have a wocket problem.

Telling people in my office about the new number isn't that big of a deal. Changing contact information on the website and printed materials could be a big deal but is doable. Telling every single person who might want to call the wocket guy is going to be a problem.

I guess you could make a voicemail message saying to call you at the new number. But since people aren't using the number that the company gave you Google Voice didn't really forward calls from your company phone to your personal phone did it?
posted by theichibun at 5:53 AM on November 19, 2010


Currently, do work people call your personal cell phone? What's the intention behind work getting you this phone? Does your job require you to travel a lot, so you're not typically at a desk phone and easily contactable all day? Does your work want you to answer calls at night and on weekends?

How much calling do you expect to do and with who?

Hmmm.... if you don't want to just forward the work phone to the personal phone, you could get a skype number, which will cost ~$36 / year and forward your work phone to that? This would let you have a separate greeting and allow you to sign in / out as you want to allow separate control from just your personal phone. Getting unlimited calling would be an additional ~$36 / year (US). There are cheaper plans with fewer minutes, or you could go PAYG. I use Skype for my work # and it's great. One feature that I'd like though is to be able to transfer a call from my computer to my iPhone app or vice versa.

I don't know if they are international, but line2 seems to offer something similar.
posted by reddot at 6:15 AM on November 19, 2010


Also, I don't know if your carrier offers something similar, but ATT in the US has rollover minutes and "the A list". Rollover minutes are great and I think self explanatory. The A list is a set of numbers (5 per line on your account) that you can add to your account that ATT will not deduct minutes from your account for calling or receiving calls. So if your carrier has that feature and you don't have it maxed out yet, you could put the big callers onto that list so you won't be charged for their calls.
posted by reddot at 6:17 AM on November 19, 2010


Sadly, I asked this same question five years ago. I thought dual sim capability would have been a common feature by now.
posted by pencroft at 2:29 AM on November 19 [+] [!]


As soon as the personal hovercrafts have been rolled out to everyone, then they will start working on this issue. And after that, Google-voice will start working on the cookie-baking app.

On topic: my company still uses PAGERS instead of cell phones, so I am carrying both a pager and a cell phone and looking like a dork from 1992. I can't help at all with this question, except to offer comfort as you realize that it could be worse.
posted by CathyG at 7:54 AM on November 19, 2010


Just carry two phones. You really, really don't want the billing-related hassles, you don't want the company to own your personal SMS and phone messages, you don't want personal email and company mail that thoroughly intertwined.

It sucks, but the alternative is worse.
posted by mhoye at 9:21 AM on November 19, 2010


I use my work phone as my private phone. I dial a prefix before private calls.
Maybe ask if this is an option for you if our company doesn't want you having free private calls? My mrs is in the sweet position of having her company pay for an unlimited everything account for her work number, which is sitting in her own iphone.
posted by Iteki at 12:40 PM on November 19, 2010


Answers to some questions by reddot:

Currently, do work people call your personal cell phone?

Not if I can help it, I don't give my personal number out to work people

What's the intention behind work getting you this phone? Does your job require you to travel a lot, so you're not typically at a desk phone and easily contactable all day?

This is the main reason. Sometimes there are urgent problems that they want to speak to me about and having a work mobile means they can get me even if I'm not at my desk

Does your work want you to answer calls at night and on weekends?

I will have to discuss this with the boss, but my plan is to turn it off afterhours, although I might play it by ear and see how it goes, see how many calls I get.
posted by ranglin at 3:59 PM on November 19, 2010


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