** Check comments section for follow up details.
Where to actually start on this…….
Since the availability of LNP (Local Number Portability) I’ve contemplated moving our landline number that has been in place for about 10 years to a family share type of line on our cell plan.
Why, you may ask, would one even bother to keep a land line in this day and age other than e911 service or a DSL or other data service line that requires it? History. We have had this number for so long that it would be almost more trouble to get rid of it.
Certain people don’t like to call cell numbers, certain people have it programmed into their phones, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. A few other reasons that are of note are the fact that some people just don’t like talking on a cell phone. A “traditional” handset is far more ergonomic, doesn’t get hot in use and can be easily extended to multiple handsets.
But wait! VoIP! VoIP! Yeah…..read the fine print. I’ve deployed VoiP before in a small enterprise, I know the things that can *not* work with VoIP, and the fact that it’s not technically classified as phone service by the FCC can sometimes (but not always) make it painful to get a ported number out of there should you want to move to a new service. I did strongly consider both Vonage and Broadvoice but ultimately decided against it after discovering the aforementioned details and, more importantly, Comcast took over my are for my data service and it became “comcastic” (translated, less reliable). Cable VoIP is an option in my area as well but the price point isn’t much better than a traditional POTS line.
So we’re back to a cell line. Why not, I have thousands of rollover minutes and they are just going to waste in their current state.
At this point I was ready to bite the bullet and try it out. I have existing service with AT&T and am relatively happy with it so I figured, what the heck, now I need to find a way to make it work with a friendlier handset.
There are many, many options for this at this stage in the game. I looked at pretty much all of them that I could find. I read the reviews, tested a few out and ultimately ended up with the Dect 6.0 Cellfusion Caller Id 2HS No Jack. The only shortcoming I found is the lack of an answering machine, but the cell voicemail should cover that, or so I thought at the time. As an aside, they do offer a Cell fusion with an answering machine but the extra money turned me back to the original. Both are DECT systems which, in theory, means less interference.
Voicemail was still an issue, since I don’t want to have to check the actual cell device to see if there is a message waiting for me. A visual or auditory indicator would be optimal. I couldn’t really figure out an elegant way to do this, so I’ve opted to try forwarding unanswered calls to youmail, which i thought would update the WMIon the phone system I bought, but it only seems to be able to update the MWI on the cell…bummer. Option hack #2 was to still use youmail and have it send an “email” to a special “mailing list” I create that has my and my wife’s Email to TXT/SMS addresses as members so we’d just get a txt message to each of our regular cell phones and check it from there. …..it’s a hack, I know. I have a feeling that I’ll be returning the original phone system and getting the one with the answering machine since there are so many dependencies in my current methodology.
To the port.
Well this, I thought, would be pretty straight forward. I’ve ported cell numbers a few times and it’s always been really painless and respectably quick. No. It’s not the same as porting a cell number. I needed all of the things you’d expect, the account number, SS# of the account holder (and the account holder available, since it was in my wife’s name) as well as (and this is the part that I didn’t know about), I needed to remove all the services off of the POTS line. Blech. So many steps. After removing all services off of the POTS line (which, by the way, is amazing to watch since you get SO used to things like caller ID) I called back.
Port underway. 7-10 business days. A deep sigh. OK, I’ll wait it out. After 2 days the port was “approved” (I found this out by calling the AT&T port center @ 1-188-895-1097), it asked me to enter some information and finish it. Fantastic. I enter the information and it throws some error and drops me to a person. They can’t find the number and after searching for a few seconds let me know that there is a “due date” of 3 days from now at 11pm. No problem, that is still not that long. I’ll wait it out.
After a few more days of waiting and 2 more short calls to AT&T (one when they were closed), the number is now ported in. The port was very easy once the approval process was done and the time had elapsed.
I opted to forward my number to GrandCentral to start off with, they have more options as far as forwarding and screening calls so I figured I’d try them first.
I still have a feeling I may be getting the cell fusion phone system with the answering machine, but the band-aid has been ripped off at this point; the hard part is done.
Back out plans are in place, if the service is just awful I still have almost 3 weeks to back out, return the cell line and port my number back in, hopefully without a reconnect fee since we would be considered a “win back” customer.
Only time will tell. Let the testing begin.