Google has announced that you can now port your existing mobile phone number to a Google Voice account. Previously, Google Voice (GV) issued new phone numbers for their voice application. Certain features of GV are not available for ported numbers, including call screening and recording.
The move has the potential to heat up GV’s competitive impact (and continue to wrangle AT&T). Giving consumers the ability to port their mobile number, which in effect is there personal number, allows Google to build a very strong telephony relationship directly with consumers. As an example, GV users can set up enhanced voicemail. Voicemail can be sticky service – once it’s set up and working, customers may be hesitant to move away from it.
The FCC is snooping around GV to determine if it’s a telecommunications (versus information) service, subject to common carrier rules. The outcome of that inquiry could impact how aggressive Google moves with GV – it is still in ‘invitation only’ mode. By offering number portability, they are setting the stage to have a profound impact on traditional telecom and traditional telecom carriers.
6 thoughts on “Number Portability Comes to Google Voice, Sort Of”
Um…read the google voice blog. It is NOT porting, it is USING WITH YOUR EXISTING NUMBER. Totally different.
This is absolutely false. If I could port my number to GV, I could use all of GV's services with my existing number. This not the case, as the whole rest of the internet already knows.
Ok – points well taken. Number Portability may not have been the best choice of words, because technically, they are not 'porting' your number. But, the end result is virtually the same. They may not be technically porting your number (since they're not a service provider), but they are allowing you to use an existing number with their service, so I could argue it's analogous to porting a number.
Actually, NP has already taken place for select groups of users in a very controlled and limited alpha to Google Voice.
Thanks for the clarification Jay!
In fact, the verbiage on Google Voice's pages is also misleading….it's no surprise that you used NP because they're almost suggesting the same thing. They could have done a better job of characterizing the product.