Step 5: Port your land line to the GoPhone
This will require a small amount of patience, but it's pretty easy. All you need to do is call the AT&T porting department (make a note of the phrase "porting department") and initiate a port.
There are two ways we found to contact AT&T's porting department. One is to call AT&T customer service and ask for "porting department". The other is to call 888-898-7685. I'm not sure how long that number will be good for, so use it while you can.
At this point, you're likely to run into some push-back. We did. For both phone numbers, which we ported about two weeks apart, we found that the AT&T people answering the phone claimed that our desire to rescue our phone numbers wasn't actually the responsibility of the porting department.
They will try to tell you it's not a porting process, but it actually is. You may have to remind them that it's your legal right to keep your phone number and gently persuade them to make it happen.
You will want to give them both your land line number and your GoPhone number. Be careful, here. Make sure you don't slip up and give them your personal cell phone number, because once it's gone, it's gone.
Also, while you're at it, ask the representative for the account number attached to your GoPhone. The rep will tell you the phone number is the account number, but that is not true. Each GoPhone has an associated account number and without it, you won't be able to complete the Google Voice process.
The AT&T rep will also try to upsell you on just about every AT&T service known to man. Just politely decline, decline again, decline once again, and, eventually, you'll complete the call and your porting request.
For both our phone numbers, although the AT&T reps were initially reluctant to help, they eventually worked through whatever customer service magic they needed to, and initiated the port.
Warning: this information was provided by reader Robert, who told me that when he ported his AT&T land line number, he lost his DSL, leaving him without Internet for a week. So, if you have DSL on the same line as your land line, be careful. You might lose it.
Step 6: Wait, and obsessively check port status
It took about four days for the port to complete. To check the status, go to att.com/port. Type in your land line number, and it'll tell you where you stand.
One important note: during this porting process, your land line will continue to function as it always has. You'll get calls, voicemail messages, and so forth. Your service will not actually move until you make another call to the porting department to complete the process.
Once the att.com/port status changes to complete, check your voicemail messages one last time, then call the porting department. An AT&T representative will flip a switch, and your port will complete. Together, you will test the number with both an incoming and outgoing call to be sure it is working. Then, unplug your land line phone system and move on to Step 7.
Step 7: Configure voicemail on your GoPhone
Your land line is no more. Instead, your number is now resident on the GoPhone. That means all calls that used to come in through the wires in the wall will cause the GoPhone to ring.
You'll be using your GoPhone for about a day or so, and if it's important you get voicemail messages during the transition period, be sure to set up GoPhone voicemail.
Once again, I remind you not to dawdle here. I strongly recommend that as soon as your GoPhone "owns" the number, you begin the porting process to Google Voice.
Next: Steps 8 to 10