When I bought my first house, I called the phone company to establish telephone service. I asked how I might get a more memorable number than the one that would be randomly assigned to me, and was told that for $50 they could perform a limited number search, but that no guarantee was provided (ie: if I didn’t find a number I liked, I’d still be out $50). I took a gamble and asked for a number ending in all the same digit. Alas, no such number was found, but the phone company employee helpfully told me that a number ending in -9000 was available. Score!
When I ditched my land line in favor of my cell phone almost two years ago, I ported that -9000 number over, since I liked it so much. It’s easy to remember, it’s easy to say aloud, and I’ve had more than a number of comments about it when I tell people my number.
Now my 2-year contract is about to expire. I had been planning to switch from AT&T to Verizon, taking my number with me, in order to consolidate phone service with the family plan used by the other members of my household.
But I’m also starting a new job in two weeks, and that job will issue me a smartphone. Why enter into a new personal contract for a phone when I can just use the company-provided phone? Because using the company phone means I’ll lose my phone number.
I could get a free phone from Verizon and port my number to it. It seems somewhat silly to get even a free phone and pay the $10-$15 per month for service for that phone just to keep my phone number. Not to mention the burden of lugging around two phones. But I really like my phone number.
I could (probably) transfer my phone number to the company-provided phone, but this seems like an unwise move. In the worst case scenario I might leave that employer suddenly and therefore lose my phone number – the very thing I’m trying to avoid right now!
I could try one of the number parking services for anywhere from $5 to $20 per month. I’ve never known anyone to use one of these, so it seems the better choice for a similar dollar value would be to get the free phone from Verizon.
If I could, I would port my number to Google for use with my Google Voice account. I have two Google Voice accounts: one from the early Grand Central days, and one associated with my Google Apps for Domains account. The latter number ends in SKIP, which I like, but don’t like quite as much as my cell phone number. Alas, Google does not currently permit one to port a number in to them.
I could let the number go, and simply use (one of) my Google Voice number(s) from here on out, and that’s likely what I’ll do unless a viable low-cost alternative presents itself. Help me out, lazyweb!