Don't want to give up my telephone number
August 9, 2010 3:02 PM   Subscribe

What is the simplest and cheapest way to hold onto a telephone number?

Ditching land line service--but wondering if we can keep our longstanding "home" phone number as a general purpose point of contact (ideally having it route to voicemail on one of our cell phones), if it's easy and not expensive to do so. Does anyone offer a solution for this?
posted by _sirmissalot_ to Technology (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think you can do this through google voice. You have to choose not to be provided with one of their numbers, but then it becomes your "google voice" number and people can use it to call you and it can route to any phone you want.

You loose alot of functionality that comes along with google voice if you do this though.
posted by TheBones at 3:10 PM on August 9, 2010

Wow- *lose, and you feel loose because of it (?)
posted by TheBones at 3:11 PM on August 9, 2010

TheBones: "I think you can do this through google voice."

I don't think you can do this yet, unless they've changed things and haven't updated their FAQ:

"Although you can't currently port your existing number to Google Voice, we hope to offer this option in the near future."
posted by sharkfu at 3:15 PM on August 9, 2010

You cannot do this for GV. The only way I know is to port it to a cell phone. But you would have to pay for the cell service. What's that about $10/mo on a family and friends plan. In the future, get a GV number and use that. Then it does not matter the actual number(s) behind it. Get to keep it for life.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:26 PM on August 9, 2010

Try porting it to a VOIP service. I chose BroadVoice because of my very rural location. They were the only major VOIP provider that could port my number All of their plans have unlimited incoming calls, and they start at $5.99 for BYOD (bring your own device). That's probably cheaper than any cellphone plan.
posted by FloryTric at 3:46 PM on August 9, 2010

You can port your number to Virgin Mobile, and get the service preserver plan for $90 a year. You would also have to purchase a phone - the cheapest is currently priced at $9.99
posted by bahama mama at 5:49 PM on August 9, 2010

Seconding FloryTric that porting it to a VOIP service makes sense. I like because they are incredible flexible in how you set things up (at the expense of user-friendlyness). You could port the number and then only have to pay $1.50/month wit them to keep the phone number (DID) active. To actually use the number (via forwarding, VOIP, as a voice mailbox, or what have you) you have to pay some extra very low per-minute rates.
posted by Emanuel at 5:52 PM on August 9, 2010

Check out Callcentric ( and (

I use Callcentric and it costs me about $3.45/mo (after 911 fee and taxes) and something like $0.015/min.
posted by eatcake at 6:56 PM on August 9, 2010

...One more thing. It'll probably cost somewhere in the $20-25 range to initially port the number over to a voip provider. That's a one time cost.
posted by eatcake at 6:58 PM on August 9, 2010

You may want to consider looking into Google Voice. It will (probably, depending) let you hook it up with your current phone number, and then use it to route calls through it to any phone number (or any number of phone numbers) of your choice. It also has options to have voicemails transcribed and sent to your email, allows you to send/receive "texts" through the website, and a few other nifty features.

On preview: I see above some discussion about whether Google let's you use your phone number. I'm pretty sure it does, since my mom did that, but my dad had trouble trying to do the same thing, so I think it depends on some factors.
posted by brenton at 10:15 PM on August 9, 2010

Future Nine gives you a free port (or credit after a year, or something that makes it effectively free, I forget) if you're on one of their monthly plans, which start at $7/mo, only $2 more a month than the normal cost of an unlimited DID from them, and it comes with 200 minutes a month of outgoing, which you could use to forward your number.
posted by wierdo at 10:19 PM on August 9, 2010

I did exactly this with Vonage. They say that most telephone numbers can be ported to them when you sign up. I am in the UK and transferred my British Telecom land-line number to them when I moved house.

It took about a week to do the transfer and the service has worked brilliantly.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 7:33 AM on August 10, 2010

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