Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

Summary: Millions of iPhone 3GS AT&T contracts expire this month leaving users with some choices. They can either 1) stay with AT&T, 2) port to Verizon Wireless, or 3) port to Google Voice.


Rewind back to two years ago.

It's June 8, 2009 and Apple just announced the wildly popular iPhone 3GS ("the S stands for speed") with up to 32GB RAM, a 3MP camera and video capture - w00t! The 3GS actually began shipping on June 19, 2009 and with it began millions of two-year service contracts on AT&T Mobility.

Last Sunday, June 19, 2011, marked an important anniversary as a huge wave of AT&T contracts purchased by early iPhone 3GS buyers began to expire -- mine included. This left millions of early adopters of the 3GS with a decision to make:

  1. Stay with AT&T on your existing plan on a month-to-month basis. You can cancel/port at any time, as long as you account is "in good standing" (translation: paid in full). If you signed up for unlimited data for $30/month you can keep it by staying with AT&T.
  2. Port your mobile number to another carrier. If you spent the last two years complaining about your AT&T coverage or dropped-calls, here's your chance to jump ship. Verizon Wireless will gladly take you with open arms (and even ply you with unlimited data) but that's your only option right now if you want an iPhone. Rumors abound that T-Mobile and Sprint will be jumping on the iPhone bandwagon soon, so you could also hold out for one of them.
  3. Port your number to Google Voice and enjoy the freedom of controlling your own mobile number forever. Bear in mind that you still need a mobile phone service plan, number and handset to actually make mobile phone calls with Google Voice.

Most people will probably opt for the first option because staying with good ole AT&T is the path of least resistance (do nothing!). I'd highly recommend avoiding number 2 or any option that involves starting a new multi-year service contract with anyone. Apple's due to announce the iPhone 5 some time in the fall and if you're under contract you'll be forced to pay a heavy Early Termination Fee (ETF). AT&T's ETF is $325 minus $10 for each full month of your Service Commitment that you complete.

I chose option three and ported my mobile number to Google Voice because I already have another phone (with service) that I can easily use with my GV number. I love Google voice because it transcribes my voicemails and sends them to me as a push notification or text. I also love the flexibility of being able to use my GV number with any phone that I want.

More on my porting experience in a follow-up port...

ZDNet's own David Gewirtz has written two great post on Google Voice that I recommend:

Topics: AT&T, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

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  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    Option 4: Get an Android phone. The iPhone 5 is going to be obsolete before it's even released, face the facts.
    • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

      @Droid101 You claimed that with the iPhone 4 and yet you were proven to be wrong. The iPhone 4 was a huge success with AT&T and had a 3% return rate and 6 months later when it was introduced on VZW's network gave VZW their best and biggest first day sales ever. Yup, 6 month old Apple tech beat out brand new HTC, Samsung, and Motorola tech (aka Android devices).

      Looks like you might need to face the facts yourself.
    • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

      I had an iPhone 3G for about 2.5 years. After 4.0 upgrade I was so pissed with Apple that I bought an HTC Evo Android phone. Big mistake. I should have gone into iPhone 4 instead of buing this droid crap. One can only appreciate the quality of any Apple product by comparing to the rest. Obviously those who only used Android phones in their life will not understand that.
      • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

        Funny I had a different experience. I had the first iphone then I got an iphone 3g and then the iphone3gs. Though I liked my iphones I was tired of ATT's service in NYC. So I jumped ship and switched to sprint and got a evo 4g. Best thing I did. I love my evo! Once you learn that you have to use the back button to get out of programs instead of the home button, the battery issues disappear. I love the hi-res camera and hd video. I've used the hdmi output several times to watch family videos on out TV. I love how well it integrates with gmail, google docs, and google calendar. But my favorite thing is step by step GPS navigation with spoken directions like a real GPS device. I got a usb to car charger power cable and we no longer rent a gps device when my wife and I rent a car.
    • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

      @Droid101 Jack Nicholson already did "one Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"! Just thought you ought to know. Get a 'Droid! Puhleez! LOL!!!
  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    Indeed! I ported my AT&T number to GV a while ago. I am contract-less, using AT&T, using a Nexus One, and I definitely feel the freedom! Will I stick with AT&T forever? Who knows -- the best LTE network will eventually get my business -- but it's nice to know I'm not locked in to any of the carriers.
    • Contract-free


      Amen to being contract-free!

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    I'm going to save the URL to this report; hopefully, it'll still be working inna year anna half when I can go shopping for upgrade service... and get a WP7 and dump this freekin' iPhone
    Crashin Chris
  • Google Voice sounds great.......

    ..............except for the "Google" part.
  • on verizon

    So if I port my number to google while i'm still under contract that won't change anything - just when the contract is up I can start the month to month thing?
  • Why keep the mobile service?

    You aren't saving any money then. You'll still need a cell phone. If you port your number to Line2, then you can turn your iPod touch into a phone with unlimited calling and texting for ten bucks a month, which is less than your cell phone service I'm sure!
    Peter Sisson
  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    !- I haven't had much problem with ATT just like I haven't had problems with Iphone 4 losing calls

    The problem is the type of cell service ATT [and most of the rest of the world] uses-it doesn't hand off calls from tower to tower well

    Verizon's does, but there are trade offs that make it much worse

    I'll stick with ATT

    2- many advocate buying your phone as a cheaper way to go-after a couple of years the phone is free

  • The article is about ease of number portability not IOS vs. Android

    I think some of you missed Jason's point. Just like many of us gave up using our ISP's email years ago for gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. so we could fire our ISP easily without any interruption in email service, you can now keep the number all your friends know, port it to GV and have it ring as many phones as you want. Changing the phone service and handset is as easy as registering it with GV and toggling some buttons on their web page. No more waiting weeks or months for transfers from service providers. My GV number rings my work land line, work cell phone and personal cell phone. Texts to it go to both mobile phones and my email. Voice messages can be transcribed to email. And it can all be changed instantaneously through the GV website. All this for the low, low monthly price of free (I think the porting costs something like $20). I also live being able to send text messages from my PC (much easier to type on a full size keyboard).
  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    There's another option as well. Smart Mouth Mobile just came out with an app that works on iPhone, iPad and even iPod Touch - turns the iPod Touch into a phone and even auto generates a number for the device, solving the need for a number mentioned in the article. NO plan is needed to use the service via WiFi - if you want to use a small data plan to insure that you always have service - get a small $10 or $20 a month data plan - THIS is the way to go. http://SmartMouthMobile.com
  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    @ Smart Mouth
    I have actually looked at and researched a lot of options available today in iTunes; I have tried all of them! The best application to use for my mobile VoIP calling when I am out of the country has been, and is Smart Mouth Mobile. But there are also two more apps not mentioned here for those who like to have a different look and feel try Smart Mouth Kids Mobile or The Smart Mobile. These applications are amazing and have saved me a lot of money on my cell phone bill by calling using the member to member features that are currently free. I have been following them closely online and soon they will have the ability to call Landlines and Cellular phone numbers directly from the application. The great thing is. I have tried this service for 30 days straight without using my regular phone and when I went back to the GSM phone calls. The call quality GSM offers is nothing near http://smartmouth.me
    Smart Mouth is truly amazing!!
  • RE: Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice

    I would say stick to AT&T

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