Google has won over many phone users with its Google Voice offering that enables users to manage how their phone calls get routed (to mobiles, landlines, and even computers) as well as voicemail and cheap long distance calling. Using Google Voice usually meant getting a new phone number and the arduous work of telling that to all your friends…but not any more. Google has officially launched Number Porting for Google Voice: for $20, U.S. users of Google Voice can port their existing mobile numbers, and use all of Google Voice’s features without having to change their phone numbers.
The feature quietly rolled out last week on a limited basis, but is now officially available to U.S. Google Voice customers.
Porting a mobile number to Google voice cancels a mobile service plan—which means in addition to that $20 porting fee, many users will likely be socked with early termination fees. Once that’s done, users will need to set up some sort of carrier service for their phone. Once users have their new mobile service up and running, they’ll need to add their new carrier-supplied mobile number to Google Voice as a forwarding phone—the idea is that your old mobile number becomes your primary number, and your actual physical mobile device now has a new number to which Google Voice can forward calls. When users port a number, any existing Google number on the Google voice account will be replaced by the ported number, and will be removed from the account within 90 days. The porting process takes 24 hours; Google also warns that there will likely be a gap in being able to send and receive text messages during the porting process—Google says it’s typically up to three business days.
The $20 number porting fee is payable with Google Checkout.
The porting option applies to mobile numbers; although Google isn’t specific, it’s reasonable to assume that comparatively few landline customers are eligible to have numbers ported to Google Voice.