Port numbers to Google Voice from iPhone to snub AT&T

Ahoy-hoy! Now you can transfer your U.S. phone number from a mobile to Google Voice. It costs $20, but watch out for those pesky early termination fees.

Google logo (Google)
By Richi Jennings. January 20, 2011.

Google has started to allow users to port their U.S. mobile numbers to Google Voice. Handy for people fed up with their iPhone on AT&T perhaps? In IT Blogwatch, bloggers just called to say they love you.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Happy Ever After: Eww!..


Ross Miller seems to have noted it first:

Google Voice now lets you port your own phone number. ... That 10-digit hometown relic you've been holding onto as long as you've carried a handset can now live in the cloud. ... The cost of porting is $20 ... pittance for saving your old line for the indefinite future.


This feature is still being tested and may not be available to everyone. ... "For a limited amount of time, we're making the Google Voice number porting process available. ... [We] plan to offer this feature to all users in the near future."

Brad McCarty adds:

Want to get started? Just log in to your Google Voice account and click Settings. From there, go to the Phones tab and select Change/Port, if the option has opened for you. Then, just enter the number that you’re porting and you’ll be set. You’ll note in the disclaimer that it can’t be ported from a landline just yet, but otherwise you should be in the clear.


It seems that the option is already available to a very wide audience. If you don’t have it yet, you should have it soon.

Ryan Kim expands:

It sounds like a bit of work, and might not be an option for all consumers, particularly those who are on a new contract. But it might be worth it for people who like the management tools of Google Voice. ... [It] allows a user to have their calls routed through one number and includes a slew of features like voice mail transcription, customized voice mail greetings and visual voice mail.

And MG Siegler calls it payback for AT&T's "complete and total incompetence":

I was able to cancel my AT&T service tonight — without having to talk to a soul at AT&T ... took less than five minutes. ... It’s all super-simple. And awesome. I’m no longer an AT&T customer thanks to Google.


It must both piss off and scare the hell out of the carriers. Which I love even more.

But Charlie White grumbles:

Too bad this capability was not available a couple of years ago when I first started using the free Google Voice service, and told everyone in my address book about my new phone number. Now, I like that my chosen Google Voice number so much, there’s not an old number I’d rather port.

Rob Jackson has good advice:

If you’re planning on signing a brand new contract on a new carrier, you may want to get a new number on that service so you can switch your current number to Google Voice and forward it to your phone.

Seth Weintraub looks to the future:

I spoke to Vincent Paquet, one of the founders of Grand Central ... the service that was purchased to become Google Voice, who indicated that number porting would be rolling out soon, perhaps by the end of the month. He also hinted that Google's upcoming Android Honeycomb tablets could have additional Google Voice features, perhaps the ability to make VoIP calls.


Voice is also a huge gateway into Google's other services, especially the Enterprise where eliminating the carrier and VoIP boxes would really excite small to medium business owners. ... [It will] be a managed service in Google's Enterprise Apps just like calendar and email.

Meanwhile, Dan Frommer spots a fly in the ointment:

While it's certainly helpful to be able to port your number to Google Voice ... there are serious costs involved that would prohibit most people from doing it. ... You are responsible for whatever early termination fee ("ETF") your carrier demands, if you're still on a contract. This could cost hundreds of dollars.


If Google really wants Google Voice to take off, it's going to have to figure out a way to make that ETF disappear. Maybe Eric Schmidt can call his friends at the FCC. ... (Note: This would require screwing the phone companies, the same huge companies Google is hoping will continue to sell millions of Android phones.)


And Finally...

Happy Ever After: Eww!

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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