Phone Number Switch

I tried to be clever.

Before moving to New York City, I wanted to get a new phone number. I really wanted to take a piece of Memphis with me, so I decided to get a 901 number again. Easy right? Well I had to go and make it more difficult, because I wanted to keep my 682 number. I got that number because my parents moved to Texas and Verizon had a deal for unlimited mobile-mobile minutes that we really needed to utilize. Anyone who knows my dad knows that he talks more on his cell phone than any other human on this planet, so unlimited mobile-mobile minutes were a must!

Update: Google Voice/Google Hangouts allows you to have another phone number for free. I have had another number for several years. This came in handy when I lost my phone for a few days when I was still in college. I was able to come back to my dorm and call my mom from my computer to let her know that I was without my phone. Google Voice also came in handy when I was a recruiter at Bethel because we used Google Apps for Education and we were able to integrate the phone number with our email addresses as another way for student to reach us/reach them where they were. The ability to have a second phone number on your one device has tons of value! In an earlier version of this post, I omitted this, thinking that more people might know about the free phone number possibility here.

I thought it would be super simple to make my 682 number my Google Voice number. Without doing much research I ported my 682 number to Google Voice. Within 24 hours my phone number moved to Google, but what I did not know is that I was not able to get a new phone number with the same iPhone until the end of the billing cycle. Luckily there was only a week left of the month long billing cycle. Knowing what I know now, I should have waited to port my number from Verizon to Google Voice until 36-48 hours out to minimize the amount of time without a fully functioning cell phone. I was still able to make/receive phone calls and text with the Google Hangouts app on my phone, but I had no data/cell coverage; I had to rely on WiFi networks around the city of Memphis during the transition. My iPhone was a glorified iPod touch with home phone qualities.

I had always thought that it might be a good way to get a phone number and cut costs if I ever was brave enough to do it. It was a different experience to be without service at all times. It would have been much more doable had Chelsea and I been in the same place; long distance is harder when you don't have constant connection with each other. It is pretty cool that you can have all of the benefits of a cell phone without all of the cost by using Google Hangouts like this. The Google Voice application is very handy too, but it doesn't work as well because dialing out or receiving a call requires the use of the Phone application on iOS. Google Hangouts allows you to call directly from their application over data (VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol).

The best part about this ordeal is I won't miss a phone call to no longer having access to my old number. A huge reason that I didn't want to lose access to my 682 number was that I had several two factor authentication passwords tied to that phone number. Inevitably, I was going to forget to give someone my new phone number and I'm not one to post it on Facebook for all to see. I have Messenger if anyone needs me that bad and they don't have a number for me. It is amazing to me that you wouldn't necessarily have to have a full-featured phone now. You could rely on WiFi or use a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Operator Network) to save some dough. I have always been interested in the idea of using a data only wireless plan. It would be amazing to pay for only the data that you use like Google's Project Fi. The big cellular phone companies don't want us to be able to do that though. It will be interesting to see where the future of mobile phones goes.

If you are wanting to change your current phone number to Google Voice, you'll need:
  • A Gmail account
  • Account information to port your number (Account holder's SSN, account password, etc.)
  • A credit card ($20 port fee)
  • Time disconnected/semi-disconnected from modern cell phone towers
Have you ever thought about cutting back on your phone bill? It is hard to live without a smartphone when you have made the switch.