My “office” line has long been a Voip number. First it was Vonage, then I ported to VOIPo and just used the forwarding service for a while (at $3/mo!), then I switched to having an actual voip account. I liked VOIPo well enough. They forwarded my calls to my cell phone on the road, I could use a SIP client for calls, I got an email with my voicemail message.
My problem? And it might not seem like a super huge problem, but it was to me…I couldn’t return the call from my office # (unless I wanted to risk using the SIP client and hoping the internet was good enough). This was getting quite confusing to prospects, especially in the age we’re in with call screening. Also, even following the instructions with static IPs and port forwarding, if I had anything else going over my internet (eg presenting a webex session which is a standard thing for me) my voice would break up for the other party.
Back when I was paying for minutes with Verizon I kept upping my minutes due to long conference calls every week quickly draining 450 and then 900 minutes and the higher minute plans were stupidly expensive. Now with PagePlus and unlimited minutes (along with good cell reception at my house) I decided to just port my VOIPo number to Google Voice so I could accept and return calls using my office number from my cell phone (effectively having 2 phone numbers on my cell phone).
This was easier said than done.
- Google Voice will not accept a port-in from a non-cell phone. This meant I had to first port the number to a cell phone
- I busted out my old Virgin Mobile phone and went on the VM website and initiated a port request. This was like the black hole. I kept checking my cell phone and it wouldn’t activate. Then I flew out on Monday and my coworker said when he called me he got a funny message. It turns out the port went through and the email from Virgin Mobile went to my spam so I never saw it. My Virgin Mobile phone was back in Charlotte and I was in LA.
- Once that port was complete I had to top up the phone. It said it wanted $35 for a topup so I did. Maybe I could have tried a $10 top up or something, but I needed some value so GV could call me to validate the #.
- Then I went to Google Voice and magically my number was a cell phone number in their system so I could port to them. I entered what I thought was my information, paid the $20 port-in fee and got rejected
- Apparently VM no longer uses the cell phone # as the account number. You have to call and request your 9-digit account number from the VM porting department.
- After I got that number I went back to GV and entered the number and the port request was accepted.
- I waited 24 hours and finally got an email from GV saying I was good to go. I logged out of the GV app on my phone and logged back in just for good measure. The app already registered the new #, but oh well.
- Now $55 later I can use both numbers on my phone, I get transcription of my voicemail again, I don’t have to login to a web portal to reply to SMS from people who SMS my work number, and I’m saving my company $18/mo!
To help with this all I decided it was time to put in a booster. I’ve had only 2-3 bars in my house but I’ve never had complaints of call quality on my cell phone, but just in case I’ll up it with one of these:
I actually found it a bit cheaper on Woot, but those deals don’t always last so I’m linking to Amazon for longevity. I’m installing this over the weekend and I’ll report back on how it improves signal in my house. I went with this because my tenant uses AT&T and says she has no signal in the house. This should help both of us versus a Verizon only device.
I also figured I should pick up a bluetooth phone system with linktocell so I could still have a real phone to use at home because I like that better, plus the batteries last longer and I like the headset I have. I could just buy a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter and use the headset in my iPhone, but it is nice to have a big phone that is easy to find in my house! My current Panasonic system is 6 years old and all I’ve had to do is change the battery once. With 2 phones I leave one on the charger so I always have one charged and it’s always on my desk.
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