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Monday, November 12, 2012

(If you haven’t already noticed, this is not your typical “How to Use Google Voice” blog series.  There are many, many great “How to” pages out there.  I am hitting on those aspects of Google Voice that took me poking and prodding about the Internet to find or accidentally tripping over to discover).

I have to have MY number!

I waited many, many months to be able to port my cell phone number two Google Voice. I'm not sure if it was worth the wait.

I mean, who out there has memorized my business phone number? Sure, not keeping it means people need to update their contact managers with my new information. And that means that there is a possibility that somebody could attempt to call me in the future using my old number and not get through to me. Most likely if this happens they would e-mail me or go to my website to contact me. It also means I updating my various websites, brochures, postcards, and flyers. That certainly would've been an expense.

But if I didn't have loads of marketing material with my number all over it, what difference would it make to get a new number?

If you don't have marketing material with your phone number plastered all over it, the only reason I can think of for you not to get a new Google Voice phone number is your own attachment to your phone number.

Is that worth the wait and the cost?

Phone Porting

For those of you who don't know what "phone porting" is with Google Voice, here is a brief overview:

First you sign up for Google Voice and choose a phone number. (Most people whose goal is to port their first cell phone number two Google Voice think of this phone number as temporary). After you have confirmed your Google Voice account, you are free to port your cell phone number to Google Voice. Currently you can only port a cell phone number and cannot port a landline phone number including VoIP phone numbers (for example Vonage).
Porting is straightforward and simple. It is done directly from the Google Voice website settings. It will cost you $20. It will take about a day. And then you will have a cell phone with no phone number and probably no service. If you have a contract with a cell phone provider, they will hit you with an early termination fee, even if you call them the next day to get another number. That is why I waited until my cell phone contract expired to port my phone number to Google Voice.
If you're not under a contract, your cell phone provider may charge you a new service fee to give you a new phone number on your old cell phone. Verizon, the provider I use, charges $35. But because I have had a long-standing Verizon account, the salesperson issued a $35 credit when I placed the order.
A few days later once the porting is complete, you will get a message from Google Voice informing you that your old Google Voice number will remain active for 90 days (allowing ample time to transition those individuals who are using this number to your new number). This message will also give you the option to keep your old Google Voice phone number permanently for $20.

The Secret

This option (to keep your original assigned phone number) is a little-known secret of Google Voice, particularly important to the business with the goal of establishing an identity in two different geographic markets. To illustrate this will consider Bob the business consultant:
Bob lives in New Jersey but wants to do target businesses in New York City not just those in his home town in New Jersey.  Bob currently has a cell phone that he uses for business with a New Jersey phone number.  Bob is not under contract for his cell service and can cancel at any time without any termination fees. 
He signs up for Google Voice and requests a New York City phone number.  After he has completed the verification process he ports his cell phone number to Google Voice.  He pays Google $20.  The next day he gets an email that his old (New York City) phone number will expire in 90 days but he can make it permanent for $20, which he pays.
Now, Bob has two numbers, in two different geographic markets, that he can forward to anywhere.  He can be in Brazil with Internet access and answer his phone via Google Chat or any phone – as long as it is direct dial (so he can verify it with Google Voice).
Total initial investment:  $40.
Ongoing investment:  $0.
Coming in part 3 of this series:  Clamr!  A powerful add-on for Outlook 2010. 


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