We currently use Speakeasy’s voice-over-ip (VoIP) service for our house phone, and one of the goals we had in mind for this move was that we somehow retain our phone number. Area codes don’t really matter that much any more, and lots of people (some of whom we even want to keep in touch with!) know and use our current number. And then there’s the hassle of updating endless accounts (banks, credit card company, etc).
The solution that came immediately to mind was porting our number to Michelle’s as-yet unused Google Voice account. Some quick research showed that Google’s policy currently limits porting to cell phone numbers only. No landlines, and VoIP is considered a landline. Further investigation showed a work-around: some people have had success in first porting their landline/VoIP number to a pre-paid cell phone, and once the dust settles there, do a second port of what is now a cell number to Google Voice.
Armed with this possibility, we stopped by a local T-Mobile store (recommended by the author of the post I was following because it worked for him) last night and purchased a pre-paid cell phone. The cheapest phone was a $25 Nokia, and we paid an extra $10 for 10 minutes of time: we should be using this as our home phone for all of a day if everything works. Once back home, I called T-Mobile’s support line – for some reason, they couldn’t do this part in the store – and initiated the port of our home phone from Speakeasy/Level3 (the parent company) to our pre-paid cell.
Unless they need any more information from us, this first part of the process should take anywhere from one to six days, with potentially a day of overlapping service. Once everything is settled (the original post I read said that most problems arise when people jump the gun on part 2), we’ll create a new Google Voice account for Michelle, and attempt the second port.
The upshot of all of this is you can’t really lose: the port will happen or it won’t. If it does, we move on to step 2. If it doesn’t, our current service doesn’t change, and we’ll resign ourselves to changing our number.
Update (Thursday late afternoon): Got a call back from T-Mobile saying there was a hiccup in the transfer request. As we had a pre-paid cell phone with them, they didn’t have our address on file, and Speakeasy/Level3 was requiring that information as part of the transfer. Got that updated with the rep, and they re-sent the request, which was accepted. The new schedule has a day to “go through”, and then another business day for processing and turn-around, which puts us at Monday at the earliest. The tech mentioned we’d know when it went through as we’d get a text message to the cell phone.
Update (Tuesday afternoon): Success! We weren’t notified, but as of Tuesday afternoon calls to our home number were ringing the T-Mobile cell phone! And there doesn’t seem to be any service overlap. I’m going to officially cancel the Speakeasy VoIP service today, and we’re going to give it until tonight before going ahead with part 2. Stay tuned for the details (in a follow-up post, which you can now read here)!