Google Voice users will have the option to port their mobile phone number in the coming weeks. The service costs $20 for U.S. users only, but will it boost adoption of the service?
Google on Jan.
25 officially made number portability part of its Google Voice repertoire,
allowing users to take their longtime mobile phone number to the phone-management
is a phone-management application that lets any user route all their
landlines, work and mobile calls through one special number and mailbox,
accessible through the Web via Google's cloud-computing infrastructure.
Over the next
few weeks, Google Voice users in the United States can take the mobile number
they've acquired from a phone carrier and make it ring their landline, work
phone and computer. There is a one-time fee of $20, and the switch usually
takes 24 hours to complete, according to Google
which offers a how-to video
for the process.
number to Google Voice will result in a termination of a user's contract with
carriers. This will trigger an early termination fee-Verizon Wireless charges
$350-as well as additional steps to retain calling capability on a mobile
For example, users
must procure a new mobile phone service plan and request a new number from that
carrier. Google Voice users must then add the new numbers to their Google Voice
account as a forwarding phone before portability will work.
Land's Danny Sullivan, who ported his mobile number to the service in August,
offers his perspective
on number porting.
Word of number
portability coming to Google Voice blew
the blogosphere last week.
members who are Google Voice users believe
the arrival of
portability busts a major barrier to broader adoption of the service. Some also
believe this will mean the end of carrier enslavement and landlines.
But it's more
likely the service will continue to wallow in relative obscurity outside the
tech world. Google told eWEEK that millions use Google Voice. However, those millions
are tech insiders who are users and fans of the almost-but-not-quite VOIP (voice
over IP) calling service.
hasn't done a lot to market the service. Moreover, the company has raised the
ire of Google Web services users outside the United States for failing to offer
Google Voice overseas, where Skype is heavily used.
Berlinsky told eWEEK the porting feature would appeal to consumers who resisted
the hassle of educating the universe to call a new cell phone number. However,
Berlinsky cautioned that the ability to port existing cell phone numbers to
Google Voice is unlikely to induce many people to drop landlines.
cell phone reception at home, reliable 911 service and the ability to reach the
entire household at one number are all reasons consumers hold on to home phones,"
she said. "If there are two people in the household, do they really want a home
phone call to ring on both mobile phones simultaneously?"