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Moving Your Landline To Google Voice

For the last year and a half I have been paying Verizon anywhere between $100 - $160 a month for a phone line and static DSL line into an office that I no longer occupy.  I'm sure this sounds incredibly stupid, but the main reason I've kept paying is because the static IP hosted the main Kiddix development server and remote support server.  I finally decided that this was too much money to be paying each month just to host these servers, so they got a new home.  But, what to do with the phone number?  Even though I use my cell phone as my primary business line, it's always been nice to have a second more public line, so I decided to try and keep the number.

I've been using Google Voice as my voicemail service ever since I got an Android device, and I knew Google allows you to port a phone number to Google Voice.  Bingo!  Unfortunately, I soon found out that it's only possible to port a mobile number to Google Voice.  Bummer.

Luckily, I spent another minute searching and discovered a few websites that laid out the process of porting a land line to Google Voice.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Buy a cheap (the cheaper the better!) prepaid cell phone (a.k.a. a burner)
  2. Load up your burner with minutes (the fewer / cheaper the better!)
  3. Phone your new cell phone company and ask them to port your land line to your new mobile phone
  4. Wait a few days for the number porting to complete
  5. Sign up to Google Voice and port your new mobile number (your old land line) to Google Voice (cost is $20)

I decided to go with an AT&T GoPhone.  I quickly found some nice refurb GoPhone's on AT&T's website for around $15 - $20, but unfortunately they make you buy minutes for the phone at checkout, and their lowest option was a $25 prepaid card.  I knew that my local grocery store offered $15 GoPhone minute cards, so I switched gears and searched Amazon instead.  In about a minute I was able to find a $15 GoPhone (+$5 for shipping) that came with prepaid minutes.  Score!

In a few days my new burner arrived, and I was able to activate it in a few minutes.  I chose the $0.10 / minute plan, which would expire in 30 days.  I expected to get a txt within a couple hours telling me that the free minutes would be added to the phone.  Unfortunately that txt never came, so the next day I purchased the $15 card from the grocery store and loaded up my phone with 150 shiny minutes.

If you were wondering, you need minutes on the phone, since during the porting process AT&T will need to phone your burner to make sure it is an active number.  They also need to phone your old land line, so don't cancel it before you start this process!  AT&T will close out your land line account as a courtesy after the port has been completed.

I also went online to AT&T's GoPhone website and added my contact information and set a new PIN for the phone.  I'm not 100% sure if this step is necessary, but they do ask for your PIN a bunch of times during the process, and Google Voice asks for your account contact information.

Now the adventure begins!  I really didn't know if the porting process would be difficult or not, but it was quite possibly my easiest and most pleasant customer service experience in my life.  The customer service representatives AT&T employs in their porting department are the most pleasant people to deal with.  They are seriously nicer than most people's grandmothers.

My first call was to make the request for the port.  The call is what you would expect.  I had to give them some standard information from my phone bill and they tried to ring the land line to make sure it was active (you don't need to be there to pick it up -- it just needs to ring).  The approval process for the port usually takes a few minutes, but I phoned late in the afternoon, so it took a bit longer.  They had me check the status of the request at att.com/port, and told me that once the request was "confirmed", I could set up an appointment for AT&T to phone me and finish the port.  Before you hang up, make sure to ask for your account number, because you will need this during the transfer to Google Voice.

The next morning I checked the website, and it said the request was confirmed, and gave me the date the Verizon would be releasing the number.  I couldn't find the chat box they mentioned, so I called the porting department again and set up a time they would phone me on the aforementioned date.

The morning came a few days later, and I received a call from AT&T to complete the port.  They need to call you on a phone number that isn't your burner or your old land line, since the land line will be disconnected during the process, as will your current mobile number, since it will be replaced with your old land line number.  About a minute later they completed the line transfer, rang my old number, and my burner rang.  Success!  I tested it out myself by placing a test call with the burner and the caller id showed my old office number.  Excellent!

I decided to wait a few days to port the number to Google Voice.  There was no real reason, except that I wanted to make sure my old Verizon account was completely closed out first.  I noticed that my old DSL line was still active, and remained active for a few days.  I called Verizon and the account was indeed closed out, so I guess it takes them a few days to pull the plug.

Next I headed over to Google Voice to set up a new account and request my number to be ported.  I had to enter my contact information and mobile phone account number, and pay $20 through Google Checkout.  24 hours later Google sends an email to complete the process, which amounts to them ringing your phone and you entering the PIN they tell you to enter.  Afterword the process is complete!

You have the option then to record a voicemail message, but I wasn't feeling very creative, and recorded a generic one.  To record another message you can do so from any phone, by calling your number, pressing * at the greeting and entering your voicemail PIN, which you set in your Google Voice account settings online.

Now that my old office line is hooked into Google Voice I get to reap the benefits, like receiving an email with transcription when someone leaves me a voicemail message and blocking telemarketers...  and soon you will too.


Posted: Jun 13, 2012

Keyword tags: google voiceland linenumber porting



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