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Thread: Cheapest way to keep old home phone number indefinitely?

  1. #1
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    Cheapest way to keep old home phone number indefinitely?

    My promo rate on my Comcast bundle expired, and I want to go internet-only. But I'd like to keep my old phone number until I decide whether to use it with a VOIP provider. (Currently trying to decide between Ooma and Obihai, both have some cons that worry me.) I don't get many calls on the home line, but it's the one number most of my family recognize. Also I prefer using a handset when I'm at home.

    What is the cheapest and easiest plan or method to keep this number? I do have an old Android smartphone sitting around that I haven't used. Is there a cheapie cell plan with minimal minutes/costs that I could port to while making a decision? Seems like a lot of prepaid plans require a $30-$40 data plan for all smartphones.

    If anyone would like to weigh in on Ooma, Obi or other ATAs, that info would also be welcome. Bear in mind I want to keep this as cheap as possible.

    Thanks.

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    Hello, newnom.

    The idea would be to port-out your Comcast No. to your Android phone, then port it out again to Google Voice.

    You'll first have to figure out what kind of phone you have, CDMA or GSM.

    If it's a CDMA Sprint phone, you can probably port it out to PayGo on Tello ($5.00 minimum) or activate it on Ting ($6.00 plus usage).

    If it's a CDMA Verizon phone, you can port it out to PayGo on PagePlus (about $10.00 through a reseller).

    If it's a locked GSM phone, you'll have to port it out to the actual carrier that locked it or its authorized MVNO (or ask to have it unlocked).

    If it's an unlocked GSM phone, you can port it out to T-Mobile, AT&T or one of their MVNOs. Lycamobile has a $10.00 PayGo program.

    Comcast has been known to play games when it's losing a number (including when I ported my number out). You may have to make one or more calls to CS.

    As soon as your number ports in to a cellular carrier, you can port it out to Google Voice for $20.00. Requires a Google account. GV is not perfect, but is mostly adequate and free for U.S. and Canada calls.

    I've had good luck with an OBihai 200 ($30.00) and GV.

    YMMV
    A genius is one who shoots at something no one else can see, and hits it (author unknown).

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    Liborio

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liborio View Post
    Hello, newnom.

    The idea would be to port-out your Comcast No. to your Android phone, then port it out again to Google Voice.

    You'll first have to figure out what kind of phone you have, CDMA or GSM.

    If it's a CDMA Sprint phone, you can probably port it out to PayGo on Tello ($5.00 minimum) or activate it on Ting ($6.00 plus usage).

    If it's a CDMA Verizon phone, you can port it out to PayGo on PagePlus (about $10.00 through a reseller).

    If it's a locked GSM phone, you'll have to port it out to the actual carrier that locked it or its authorized MVNO (or ask to have it unlocked).

    If it's an unlocked GSM phone, you can port it out to T-Mobile, AT&T or one of their MVNOs. Lycamobile has a $10.00 PayGo program.

    Comcast has been known to play games when it's losing a number (including when I ported my number out). You may have to make one or more calls to CS.

    As soon as your number ports in to a cellular carrier, you can port it out to Google Voice for $20.00. Requires a Google account. GV is not perfect, but is mostly adequate and free for U.S. and Canada calls.

    I've had good luck with an OBihai 200 ($30.00) and GV.

    YMMV
    Thanks. It's a Verizon CDMA, so I guess Page Plus is the only option here. I dislike the whole, porting-twice thing, but if it will only cost $10 at Page Plus, I guess that will be OK. The whole operation is starting to get complicated and expensive to the point where I might just give up the number after all. Problem is I don't know who has it as my primary or only number (doctor's offices and the like). The Obi 200 is $49, plus a $10 per year charge for support/updates, plus a separate subscription to e911.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newnom View Post
    . . . The Obi 200 is $49, plus a $10 per year charge for support/updates, plus a separate subscription to e911.
    I bought two Obihai 200s from NewEgg at different times and paid $30.00 (shipping included) for each. I see that they now are up to $70.00 at NewEgg. If you shop around, you should do better than $49.00.

    You can download and apply the updates without paying yearly tribute to Obihai.

    All modern cell phones have built-in 911 capability, with or without a cellular subscription. Not sure that I would rely solely on that, though.

    Good luck whichever way you go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newnom View Post
    Thanks. It's a Verizon CDMA, so I guess Page Plus is the only option here. I dislike the whole, porting-twice thing, but if it will only cost $10 at Page Plus, I guess that will be OK. The whole operation is starting to get complicated and expensive to the point where I might just give up the number after all. Problem is I don't know who has it as my primary or only number (doctor's offices and the like). The Obi 200 is $49, plus a $10 per year charge for support/updates, plus a separate subscription to e911.
    Even if you don't buy an Obi, etc., once you have ported the number to GV then you never* have to worry about losing the number.

    *That is, until Google decides to discontinue support for GV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newnom View Post
    (Currently trying to decide between Ooma and Obihai, both have some cons that worry me.)
    Obihai makes the best/most powerful/most popular ATAs on the market today. Unless you want to spend significantly more on something like a Yealink YEA-W52P and additional handsets, the OBi ATA is your best option.

    What service provider were you thinking of using with it? Callcentric is a very popular service provider that's great for getting your feet wet with VoIP, and they will meet the needs of the majority of home phone users. Or if you're a power user, consider VoIP.ms. It costs nothing to set up an account with each service provider and evaluate their portals to see what they do.

    One other comment; some routers perform well with VoIP and some don't. Test your new service with your existing router; it will probably work. If however you do have problems, look at the router before your VoIP equipment ends up in a lake.

    Good luck with your project!

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    I'll second voip.ms, when I moved to another city I ported my old number in the previous city to voip.ms. It costs me $0.85 per month to hold it or $10/year. When friends call me, they use the number they've always used and it's a local call for them and rings me where ever I am now. You can direct where incoming calls ring, to your new landline, to your cell, or both at the same time. Voip is cheaper than maintaining a cellphone plan to keep the number.

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    Acrovoice will let you keep your old number and also make sure it continues to be listed in your local phone directory.

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    I ditched my landline and ported it to a Tmobile phone I had that was in service for several years, It lost it's original # and assumed my landline # without losing minutes. It was on the old grandfathered pay as you go with gold rewards, so the minutes last a year. I refill it with a $10 card once a year to keep the old legacy number. I have a second phone I did the same thing with, but I'm thinking of finding a new owner for it, it has over $50 in airtime on it. You can't get this plan any more from Tmobile.

    Another oufit that gives you a pretty long time to refill is PagePlus, their minutes last 120 days (~4 months). A minimum yearly cost would be $30 for ~1140 minutes for the whole year. There is a 50 cent service charge every month, so that eats up some of the original payment. Their best deal is the $25 every 120 days, the per minute cost works out to ~7 cents/min due to service charge. Also they are on Verizon which has good coverage. I have been on PagePlus for 2 1/2 years, swapped out 3 phones with no problems. PP gives you detailed call reports.

    I put a friend on H2O since she had an AT&T phone and wouldn't need to unlock. So far, so good. They give you a display message at the end of the call, and you can check your balance on their website. Minutes last 90 days, so a year would cost you $40 with getting 800 minutes for the whole year using the minimum $10 refill 4 times. Minutes are charged at a straight 5 cents without any service charges. Where I have been going it looks like the AT&t coverage is about as good as Verizon. YMMV
    Last edited by dfriz; 11-06-2016 at 04:10 PM.

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    Cheapest way to keep old home phone number indefinitely?

    I ported my landline to t-mobile prepaid and then to google voice. Did this a couple of years ago when I said goodbye to Frontier.

    Works fine. After the initial costs, it is free.

    The t-mobile prepaid line was active for a few days. Frontier took their time releasing the number, and then the port to google voice took 24 hours.

    I have had the number for 20 years. It was very convenient to just keep it, but without the $60/mo landline bill.

    The Google voice port was $20. I forget how much I ended up paying T-mobile, but it was a small amount of money.
    Last edited by mch; 11-06-2016 at 07:38 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Many excellent suggestions above.

    I ported an old family landline number years ago to NetTalk. NetTalk Duo connect to router. Does cost some money but not much.
    But do read up on NetTalk. I have had no issues. But others have.

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