I need to get a fake phone number that works right!
September 26, 2007 5:56 PM   Subscribe

VOIPeurs, I need a SIP of your wisdom...

So here's the situation. My cellphone is my primary phone. But I'm also paying for a Vonage line, so that a good friend can have a local phone number to call me on. The Vonage line has gone up from $25 to $33 a month with all kinds of new taxes over the past couple of years, and I don't even use it: I just use it to forward any calls to my cellphone.

I want to ditch the Vonage and get something else that lets me have a phone number in that area code, and just immediately passes on any phone calls to my cellphone. Call forwarding is the one and only feature that I need, so Vonage's offering is kind of overkill. But one nice thing about it was that the minutes were free.

I tried getting a Skype number + Skype Unlimited, but forwarding wouldn't work until I bought some Skype Credit. So Skype Unlimited...isn't really. And furthermore, once I did that and had someone call me and try it, I found out that the forwarded calls lose their caller ID information! I don't want to have it show up on my cellphone as Unknown. I want to know who's calling me. So Skype was a dud.

I've since done some Googling, and found something called GrandCentral. I'm not sure if it'll do what I want, but if someone here has it and you think it will work for what I want, I'll buy, borrow, beg, or steal an invite and sign up for it.

I also found some guy in a forum describing how he uses a combination of CallCentric, a "DID provider", and CallWithUs to get cellphone forwarding that keeps caller ID info intact. As I dimly understand it, a DID is nothing more than a phone number. Right? And what this guy is doing, seems to me analogous to buying your domain name from one company and your web hosting from another, rather than buying everything from one company and putting all your eggs in their basket. If my understanding of how it all works is mistaken, let me know.

Is this sort of setup way beyond an otherwise geeky, but in this particular regard fairly casual and disinterested user who just wants a simple thing like this to work? I don't want to own any exotic VOIP hardware, Asterisk or a PBX or God knows what. I don't even know what those words mean. I just want a phone number in a certain area code, that forwards calls to my cellphone and keeps the caller ID intact. Some kind of unlimited continental US minute plan would be nice, but if the minutes are cheap enough, it's not a dealbreaker.
posted by evariste to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
GC Invite on the way. Hope it helps.
posted by azlondon at 6:28 PM on September 26, 2007

Wow, thanks! I sure wasn't expecting that.
posted by evariste at 6:31 PM on September 26, 2007

azlondon, might you have any more of those? Looks interesting..
posted by acro at 6:52 PM on September 26, 2007

Thanks v. much for the invites and offers everyone.
...Now if only they offered some Canadian phone numbers.
posted by acro at 9:13 PM on September 26, 2007

Yeah, I'd murder for a 905 GC number.
posted by the dief at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2007

I emailed their support link, they said they plan on supporting Canadian numbers (sometime...)
posted by acro at 9:41 AM on September 27, 2007

I've marked azlondon's as a best answer because it did in fact solve my problem, but I'm curious, if anyone knows anything about this stuff, whether the solution I outlined in the latter part of my question would have worked.
posted by evariste at 12:41 PM on September 27, 2007

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