February 18, 2011

Cutting Cords

Phone cords.

I managed to cut the cord and keep the number - the land line phone cord while keeping the number we have shared for years. It took a few steps but the savings are worth it.

I know it worked because CVS just called to tell me Connor’s prescriptions were due to renew. They only know one number - our land line. Figures diabetes would be the first message through the crazy gyrations it took and at the same time it makes it clear the value in keeping that old number.

While it is kind of archaic in a mobile world we want a land line. If for nothing else to send faxes and getting calls from places that have the number - having a land line in the house has value. It should be the number everyone from family to CVS knows. The key is to do it both inexpensively and in a way that protects that number if the new service provider were to disappear in the changing telecom world.

While you can keep you number with them, the name brand land line and voice over internet services from MaBell, Comcast and Vonnage cost $25 to $30. That is more per month than I want to pay. Magic Jack is cheap but requires a commuter running all the time. CNET clued me into a device called NetTALK. Like Magic Jack is provides real cheap voice over internet and it connect directly to the home network - no computer required. I bought one. A year of phone service is about what Comcast was charging for a month. It comes with a new phone number and doesn’t support porting the old. So how to keep the number?

Google Voice is a brilliant service that creates a virtual phone number that can do all kinds of stupid phone tricks, like forward calls to multiple lines and morphing voice messages into text and sending them as an email. Just last moth they started porting cell numbers into Google Voice.

There in lies the magic.

I ported our land line to an ATT Go phone, minimum plan $15 bucks for 30 days. We had a old cell phone that worked with the line. It took a few days to port the number over to ATT from Comcast. Then I ported the Go Phone to Google Voice for $20. There is a little art to that as the ATT account number and line number are not the same thing and Google needs both. I found a post on Google Voice support forums that said just call ATT they will give you the actual account number. Sure enough. It takes a day to post the number out of ATT and into Google Voice.

So a few few bucks invested and my good old land line is now a virtual number at Google Voice ringing the house phone running on NetTALK. I can point the number to ring any phone number or numbers I want.

With the NetTalk device and fees for the porting tricks we will break even in about three months. Next year the land line cost what we were paying every month. I like that but then I can be cheap.

Now if there were just a Google Pancreas service I could cut the pump cords too.


  1. Bennet, you're such a geek! ;-)

    We're still using a land line despite having four mobile phones in the house, gasp. I'll see if your article persuades my techy wife (really techy) that we don't need the wire anymore.

  2. LOL Bernard

    Let us not forget the key in all this is I am also a Cheap Bastard which is why they called me "C.B." at work.

    Also what you need is to keep the number the universe knows you by. I don't care what Bob Seger sings I feel like a number because I am one to a lot of phone listings that provide important services to me.