1 phone, 2 numbers?

Another week and another challenge. The desire to have a cell phone answer calls for 2 numbers came up this week. It isn’t a new problem for us; we provide service to folks in several different parts of the United States and have used a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) solution for a while to make our phone a local call for our clients.

This week my choice of antiquated phone services caught up with me and the local cellular providers were unable to port in my phone number to a new phone; the solution was to get a new number, but, my clients are all accustomed to my old phone number. So, I went searching for a solution that would let my clients call the number they know and reach my new phone (which just happens to have a new number).

The cell company wasn’t going to provide a solution because they couldn’t find a way to bring in the one thing that was important to me; that phone number. I found 3 solutions (I am currently implementing 2 of them) and they were all quite cost effective. The first solution was to port my old number into a VOIP system and set it to forward to the new number. It turns out that the VOIP people are accustomed to dealing with older phone services and were able (with a 5 day delay) to port in the old number and I setup two (2) call forwards to the new number so my calls would arrive at the new phone and number regardless of where I was in the porting process.

I also found two other solutions; one with Google Voice. Google voice is an interesting service; it requires that you have a google account (these can be acquired at no charge) and provides an answering service for the chosen phone number. This answering service can either take a message or forward the call to your choice of cell phone numbers or land line numbers (does anyone remember land lines, phones connected to a wire?). There are a couple of things to know before we all jump out and sign up for this service; first, porting in an existing number costs $20.00 (a one time cost) and second, this service answers calls like an electronic secretary. That is, it takes the call and asks for the person to state their name before forwarding the call. Based on how the calling person answers, it will then forward the call to all numbers it has been programmed to forward to or takes a message from the caller. If it takes a message, it can email that message, or alert you to check for the message on your google account or a few other options.

Another Service I found (that had good reviews) was Sideline; Sideline is a tad more transparent than Google (no robot secretary asking for the caller’s name) and may require a $0.99 fee each month (no fee depending on which features you use) but can also port in your well known phone number and forward it to your choice of phone numbers. The one gotcha involved with sideline is that your original account number must stay with sideline (so don’t use your important well known number to setup the account unless you intend to leave it connected to Sideline). When all is setup, the caller calls your number, it is automatically forwarded to your chosen destination number and the sound quality is like any other call; the only difference is that the incoming caller id indicates that it is a forward.

In any case, you can, with these services, setup one cell phone to answer 2 or more numbers and go about your daily activities only needing to carry one phone. Naturally, each of these services can do other things for you and which service you choose might depend on which one has additional features of interest or need for your business. If you have questions or want assistance with other technology issues please call Benediktson Computer, Inc. At (575) 956-9732 or email to help@benediktson.com.