Can an existing home number be assigned to a cell phone?
July 23, 2008 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Can an existing home number be assigned to a cell phone? I'm thinking of adding a (third) line to my cellphone plan, if I can give it my current landline number -- then ditch the landline. Is that even possible?

For a variety of reasons, I'd like to keep the old home number itself. But why I should keep paying Time Warner $39 when AT&T will give me a third cell line for ten bucks. (Vonage tells me they can't provide service my number.)

Also, any other downsides to this idea that I haven't considered?
posted by wordwhiz to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It can be done - I've done it (through T-Mobile). Downsides: those scam phone calls, and political calls, and charitable solicitations - they'll still come, but now it's to your cell phone and on your minutes if you answer.
posted by dilettante at 6:42 PM on July 23, 2008

Also, any other downsides to this idea that I haven't considered?

I assume you've considered that cellphone connections generally suck? My parents have AT&T wireless and calls to them frequently go straight to voicemail even when they have four bars. "More bars in more places" doesn't mean your calls will actually get to you, I guess.
posted by Dec One at 7:28 PM on July 23, 2008

It's technically possible, but if it leads to the telecoms getting less money out of you, don't bet on it happening. If you just want to get all calls to your mobile, you can redirect it, but you'll have to pay for both.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:06 PM on July 23, 2008

I did it. But I'm in Canada.
posted by dobbs at 8:33 PM on July 23, 2008

Yes, number portability applies to non-wireless carriers now. You would first have to cancel your landline and then move it to a wireless device.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:35 PM on July 23, 2008

I believe you are asking if you can "port" your landline number to a cellphone. The answer is yes, unless your landline is serviced by a tiny little phone company out in the hills. Then the answer is probably.

Sometimes the process is really easy, sometimes it takes a few weeks and several phone calls. You will need some of the information from a recent landline bill, then just call up your cell phone provider and explain that you want to add a new line and port a number to it. AT&T and Time Warner will probably get along just fine and you'll be set up in a day or two.

If you are asking if you can have one phone with two phone numbers, the answer is yes. It is easy with most CDMA phones and more difficult with most GSM phones (like what you have with AT&T). You'll need either a fancy dancy GSM phone that takes two SIM cards or a fancy adapter that lets you chose which SIM card to use when you turn the phone on. Or you can just port your landline to an inexpensive VoIP provider ( is one) and forward the number to your current cell phone number. Or you can just get another cell phone.

I'm guessing AT&T is betting adding a third line to your plan will make you use a lot more minutes, so consider that cost carefully.
posted by ChrisHartley at 8:37 PM on July 23, 2008

Dump the landline.

Get a number at one of the new forwarding services like Grand Central and see what control you can have over a new number. For free. Why would you not want to have the ability to filter out spam and unwanted calls? You don't even need a third line. Get a Grand Central number that forwards to your cell phone. Give that out as your new home phone.
posted by conrad53 at 8:38 PM on July 23, 2008

My dad did this about 2 years ago, switching from a "home business oriented" Verizon landline to an AT&T (then Cingular) cell phone. They finally worked it out, but it took about a month and many back-and-forth calls between the two companies. Who knows if the procedure has changed after 2 years, but be prepared to hear a lot of hold music...
posted by PixelatorOfTime at 8:41 PM on July 23, 2008

If you don't need/want to keep your phone number, do what conrad53 suggested -- I sure would but I've had one phone number since 1992 and the other since 1998 and I like for people to keep reaching me through them.

One of them is still 'active' ie it's on a sprint cell phone that I use, the other is just a dummy number that I've put onto Vonage, costs ten or fifteen bucks a month, I just forward the calls from it to the cell.

When my sprint contract is up, if they don't offer me a good plan I'm going to do the same thing with them, forward all numbers to my grand central number and call out from home through Grand Central using my MagicJack phone (another story -- a great and very inexpensive phone service, all calls free to US -- write me if you are interested).
posted by dancestoblue at 1:51 AM on July 24, 2008

Thanks, everyone. Since there seems to be some confusion, the idea was to KEEP my old landline number, which I've had since '83, but not pay (much) for the line. I personally use my cell for my business -- and yes, Dec One, my call quality is crappy, too despite living practically within sight of a freaking AT&T tower. And yes, calls frequently go right to VM without even ringing. I thought it was my new p.o.s. Samsung phone.

Gee, the more I think about it, maybe I should keep the damn landline and ditch AT&T!
posted by wordwhiz at 5:03 PM on July 25, 2008

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