Number portability

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We’re finally taking the plunge and dropping our landlines in favor of wireless. I was more hesitant, thinking of how inconvenienced I’d be if — God forbid — I left my cellphone in the other room and actually had to get up and go answer it when it rang. But c’mon, how lazy am I?


Fact is, we’re paying double the bills for nothing. We have two lines on our landline – one for us and one for my mother-in-law, who lives with us. She, along with my parents and us, share a family plan through our wireless carrier, T-Mobile. Their service has been good for the 3+ years we’ve used them, and the connection is good both inside our home and in frequently visited areas. We don’t have to have a phone line for Internet since we have high-speed access through Time Warner (Adelphia until just recently). We never dial long distance from our home phones since T-Mobile plan has free minutes on weekends and evenings after 9:00pm, plus we split a large pool of anytime minutes as a family.

In a nutshell, we just don’t use our landlines enough to justify paying for them AND our cellular coverage (I hate talking on the phone, anyway). The landlines are a comfort thing, not a necessity. Once in a great while we have a need for fax services, true. But for the occasional inbound fax, we have a free eFax account, and for the even less occasional outbound fax, we can just use a friend’s or business’ machine.

There are a few drawbacks to going cellular, however. For one, the GPS technology employed by emergency services is not able to pinpoint a cellphone’s location with the same accuracy as they can with a call coming from a landline. As infrequently as 911 calls are made, we figure we can give an address when we call. It is true also that, in the event of natural disaster, the cellular phone infrastructure can be wiped. We’re not in a hurricane- or earthquake-prone area, so the likelihood of cellular service being unavailable is small. Gee, and with no cord on the phone, we can talk during thunderstorms without my mom worrying we’ll be fried by a lightning strike!

So, today I called Alltel Windstream (am I the only one having a hard time keeping up with these mergers and buyouts?). The ball was now in motion for our service to be cancelled as of Saturday. Mission accomplished. Or was it?

I was just about ready to send an e-mail out to our friends and family, telling them to start using our wireless numbers, but something tickled my memory. Wasn’t there some big brouhaha about number portability between wireless carriers? “Hmmmmm,” I wondered aloud, “Do you think that applies to landlines as well?” A quick call to 611 confirmed: Yes, it does! Well, maybe. Actually, it depends on your carrier and some other factors, but the good news for us was that we ARE able to just port our landline number to our cellular account.

What a relief! Now we don’t have to go around and update our phone numbers with everyone. We can just notify the few people who call us exclusively on our cellphones. For everyone else, the change will be an invisible one. The only drawback I see to keeping our same numbers is the occasional telemarketer call going through to the cellphones. We tend to screen inbound calls from unfamiliar numbers by letting them go to our voicemail, then calling them back if the call’s legitimate. If it’s someone we know, we add the number to our contacts so we’ll know who’s calling next time.

T-Mobile is sending out the request and as soon as Windstream gets back to them with a confirmation, our Windstream account will close and people calling our current home phone will just ring through to a cellphone. God, I love technology.

One thought on “Number portability

  1. I have never heard of using your home phone on your cell. That’s great because it’s a pain letting everyone know the change. My neighbor has been without a landline for a while and she is completely happy. Good luck!

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