Google does a lot of things right with Google Voice.
Through this free phone service, you can make calls through your computer, keep your number through moves, forward incoming calls to different numbers, record unique greetings for specific callers, have voicemails transcribed and emailed to you, receive texts, screen and block callers, even manage conference calls.
With use of a modem, like those from Obihai (soon to be reviewed here on NFS), you can even make and receive Google Voice calls using your regular home phone for free.
Google even provides a new Google Voice phone number for free.
Switching Your Existing Cell Number To Google Voice
If you want to move your current cell phone number to Google Voice though, there is a charge, $20. The process is simple. You just ask Google to port your number into Google Voice, provide your account number and PIN from the old company, and they switch your number over.
One warning to mention here… moving your number from your cell phone company will, in effect, terminate that cell phone service. If you are under contract, there may be termination charges. You’ll want to make sure you are clear and free there, or at least find out what your termination costs are, before you port your number.
Switching Your Existing Landline Number To Google Voice
Landline numbers include numbers used for a regular, wired, home phone service from providers like AT&T, Sprint, etc, and also VOIP numbers through services like Vonage, Skype, or PhonePower.
If you want to switch your current landline number to Google Voice, there are some hoops to jump through.
Google Voice only ports in cell phone numbers. So you’ll need to convert your landline to a cell phone number.
Now, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a website or service you use to just switch your number from a landline to a cell phone number?
Unfortunately, no such service exists.
But what you can do is port your number to a cell phone service. That makes it a cell phone number. Then you can port it to Google Voice.
The simplest way that we have found to do this is by buying a cheap, no contract, “burner” cell phone.
You can get a burner phone incredible cheap. Walmart.com, at the time this is being published, has a Tracfone on sale for $4.99. We aren’t sure how long this deal will be available, but they have a number of other no contract phones for under $10.
The $4.99 phone comes with 10 minutes of phone service, which is plenty for porting purposes.
When the phone is activated, they ask if you wish to port a number to it. After following their instructions for the porting, it takes several days for the port to be complete.
As soon as it is, you can immediately port it over to Google Voice.
It takes about 24 hours for your number to be transferred from the cell phone to Google Voice. If you don’t want to buy extra minutes for the burner phone, you’ll want to plan ahead so you don’t need to use the phone much during this 24 hour period.
Google has additional information and instructions on porting numbers into Google Voice here. One of the most important things they mention is that you should not cancel any of your phone services until the number is ported to the next one.
If you have questions, Google offers a free Google Voice help forum.
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