How do I keep my old number, and forward all calls?
January 15, 2010 12:49 PM   Subscribe

How can I keep my old cell number, and forward all calls to my new work cell? Reliability is key, not-expensive is good.

Work has given me a BlackBerry but would not let me transfer my old phone number. I only want to carry one device, and I don't want to keep paying AT+T for a phone I don't need - but lots of people have that number.

It seems like I could set up a VoIP account and transfer my number, and set up the VoIP to forward all calls.

Is that the best solution? Suggestions for providers?

What I care about are:
- Call reliability
- Company reliability - I'd hate to lose my # b/c the company folds, or they flake when I (eventually) want to move my # again
- Forwards on 1st or 2nd ring
- No devices. I don't want to have to have my computer on
- Price. I would probably be willing to spend up to $20/month, but less would be better!

Any ideas or recommendations much appreciated! Thank you!
posted by CruiseSavvy to Technology (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Google Voice may cover all of this for free. I think it's invite only but you can sign up to request an invite, they gave me one after a couple weeks. You can transfer a number to them and it'll forward in myriad ways, plus voicemail and numerous other awesome things you can do. Doesn't require your computer being on, forwarding rules can be set up even down to individual numbers, additional features consistantly being added, etc etc etc.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:58 PM on January 15, 2010

If you feel like giving Google Voice a try, or just want to play around with it to see if it would work, MeMail me your Gmail address, and I can send you an invite.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:00 PM on January 15, 2010

Ah upon checking they say "Although you can't currently port your existing number to Google Voice, we hope to offer this option in the near future. Please tell us if this is a feature you'd like to see in Google Voice."
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:01 PM on January 15, 2010

What, I thought that changed? I'm pretty sure the last time I checked my GVoice account you could port, at least when you first signed up.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:04 PM on January 15, 2010

Ack. I missed the part where you don't want to pay for the AT&T personal phone. I don't know the logistics of transferring a phone number, but haveanicesummer is right; you can't do that with Google Voice yet.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:14 PM on January 15, 2010

You're looking at something like phone number parking/forwarding.

You'll port your number to a company and they'll forward the phone calls to your Blackberry number.

I have no experience with this company, but it was the first one I saw.

Google similar terms to find other companies. The one I linked was $10 a month for forwarding.
posted by Nerro at 1:32 PM on January 15, 2010

To keep your number you'll need to find a solution that involves porting the number to a new service. I don't see that happening unless you're willing to pay.

That being the case perhaps you could get a go-phone, the cellphone variant where you buy your time as you go. A friend of mine did this and left the phone in his car for emergencies. As long as he didn't use it there were no expense beyond the initial cost.

Most providers I've dealt with have the option to forward calls via the voice mail system. In fact at my work we have an extra cellphone that never gets used for outbound calls that we have employees call. This makes the calls mobile-to-mobile (free on the plan) and the "base" phone as we call it forwards to our main office line. The base phone remains off.

I've used Google Voice a moderate amount and can vouch that they do not currently port numbers.
posted by Gainesvillain at 2:07 PM on January 15, 2010

Do you currently have a land line? If not, you could port your number to a land line and forward calls to your Blackberry. There would be some initial cost and a monthly charge for forwarding.
posted by bgrebs at 2:32 PM on January 15, 2010

I ported my number (though from Vonage) to CallCentric to their lowest cost plan and it's costing me about $3.45 a month including taxes. I pay a per minute fee of something like $.015 and since I only use it to have calls forwarded to me and it ends up being cheap.

Oh yeah...there was an initial $25 fee to port the number over.

Let me know if you have any questions about them.
posted by eatcake at 3:47 PM on January 15, 2010

I wanted to keep my personal number, but mostly use my work phone. I ported my number to a tracfone. Their customer service was very good.
posted by theora55 at 8:22 PM on January 15, 2010

What, I thought that changed? I'm pretty sure the last time I checked my GVoice account you could port, at least when you first signed up.

It's not exactly porting. It's just giving you instructions on how to forward your regular phone number to Google Voice. Details here - you're still required to maintain the number with your existing provider.
posted by etoile at 8:29 PM on January 15, 2010

Thank you, Hive Mind!

ParkMyCellphone, which Nerro mentioned, and seem to be the two players who don't require me to have a device. What concerns me about them is that both seem to be new, don't have many reviews, so it's hard to tell if they're fly-by-night. I worry a little about them going out of business, and me losing my number.

A pay-as-you-go phone like Tracfone is probably the safer option, but I'd rather not have one more gadget sitting around. Hrm... well, at least I have options.

If anyone has experience with a NumberGarage or ParkMyCellphone, or (even better) a more established company that does the same thing, I'd love to hear about it!
posted by CruiseSavvy at 4:31 PM on January 16, 2010

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