Thes best way to merge multiple phone numbers and possibly use Google voice?
January 31, 2010 8:40 PM   Subscribe

My work is providing me a Blackberry with voice plan that I'm expected to carry during waking hours and I don't want to carry multiple phones or maintain my $50+/month plan; I'm trying to figure out the best way to merge the two. Oh, and one other catch- I'd like to set up Google Voice for work and would really like to use the additional features that come with getting a Google Voice phone number.

Currently I have a T-Mobile plan that's $50+/month, not including data. Work will be providing a Blackberry with T-mobile voice + data that I'm expected to carry most of the time- even outside of normal work hours. Using that line for personal calls is not frowned upon with the understanding that if I go over the allotted minutes I may have to pay for the extra, which is just fine by me. I don't want to continue paying $50/month, carry multiple phones, or change my existing personal cell phone number. According to T-Mobile, call forwarding from my personal to work # would use 2 minutes (1 from each plan) for every minute I'm on the phone, so that seems to be a non-starter. I'm looking at porting my personal cell number to Skype's $2.95/month subscription plan which supposedly has unlimited domestic call forwarding and would forward personal calls to my work Blackberry. The additional complication is that I'd like to use the Google Voice "additional features" with the work number (if it can also work with the personal number that's neat, but not necessary). Since the work phone number will be a new one, I can just give out the Google Voice number as my work number.

In short- my plan is to port my personal phone # to Skype's cheapest subscription plan and forward this to my work cell, then sign up for a Google Voice number and give this out as my work number. Will this work? Are there any hidden costs or drawbacks to this plan? Any caveats or advice from people who have done this before? Thanks!
posted by Challahtronix to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The plan would work. I give out a Grand Central, now GV number for both work and personal items. I have multiple GV numbers although I use two primarily. I give one out for business and non personal calls and one for family and friends. Both numbers ring on the same phones. It is mostly easy, but occasionally I lose track of what number I am using and I forget to send a text or make a call through GV and end up revealing my device number rather than my GV number. It is a little like having two meail addresses and forgetting to respond from the appropriate one.

I am not sure about the Skype part as I no longer have a personal cell phone number. I use my GV one for my friends and family. It rings my Blackberry I use for work and personal and they are none the wiser.

It took me about a month before I got all my friends to use the new number, but now, even if I change carriers, plans or even numbers, my friends will still be able to call the same old number. I have almost conditioned them to call the GV number at all times for me even when I am home or at our lake cabin. They are still conditioned to the one number per location or phone concept. I am in my 40's so maybe we oldsters are a little tech slow. It is my opinion that you should accept the fact that your device number is limited in its longevity and I would get a GV number for personal use and train your friends to use that and get rid of your personal phone altogether until your work does not provide one. And even then, I would continue to give out my GV number. It makes the device number irrelevant.

There are some complications when I make outbound calls to preserve the GV number and not show up on caller ID as my carrier number, but that is more me getting used to it than anything else. Also, I have to remember to initiate texts (SMS) through GV. If not, then I am giving up my device number not my GV number.

One other issue may be the area code you can get from GV and the one where your business is. I am in the NY metro area and GV does not have any 212 or 917 numbers as far as I was able to see.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:14 PM on January 31, 2010

Best answer: I don't think you can port your number to Skype.
posted by birdherder at 9:14 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: I don't think you can port your number to Skype.

Crap. I know you can with Vonage and thought I saw somewhere that you could with Skype, but I was wrong- you can't port into Skype or Google Voice yet (unless you're Michael Arrington). and Vonage is significantly more expensive. So now I have an additional question of "how can I port my current T-Mobile cell number to a free or cheap service that will forward to my new work number/Google Voice?"

and thanks for the info JohnnyGunn, those details are very useful. I was able to get a GV phone number in my work area code so that wasn't a problem, but I don't know if I can give up my personal cell number yet.
posted by Challahtronix at 9:59 PM on January 31, 2010

I ended up forwarding my work phone to my personal phone. I leave the work phone in my desk drawer at work.

T-Mobile has unlimited voice plans starting at $50 now.

Oh... although if you need the Blackberry-centric and the business phone isn't with T-Mobile maybe that won't work for you.
posted by speeb at 4:39 AM on February 1, 2010

Not sure if this is an option for you, but Boost Mobile has unlimited CDMA voice, data, and BB services for $60/month. You need to pay cash for the phone (an 8330 curve), but they're using the Sprint network now and it's fast. Also prepaid, so no contract.
posted by monkeymadness at 5:32 AM on February 1, 2010

Response by poster: speeb: I definitely need the Blackberry, which would also be on T-mobile, but paying $50 a month for just call forwarding is one of the things I'm trying to avoid. I'd probably just ditch my personal number and go with Google Voice before doing that, and there are some $10/month call forwarding only services I could port my number to instead.

CDMA is a non-starter for me- aside from the cost, my building is wired for T-mobile, I have to support T-mobile Blackberry users, and may have to do some international travel as well.

If Google voice or Skype offered number portability I'd likely be set. I'm now looking at call-forwarding services but I'd rather go with something like Skype or Google Voice.
posted by Challahtronix at 7:45 PM on February 1, 2010

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