Anyone who is still tied to a landline, paying a phone company a lot of money for the privilege of using copper wires, should replace a home phone with an iPhone 5s. Or they could move to one of the other great phones that came out recently (or will come out soon), like the Moto X, HTC One Max or Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Switchers could save enough to justify the process. Some won’t save any money on their monthly costs, but they won’t add much to costs and will get the privilege of using a great phone that they can use everywhere.
Last summer our family ditched the phone company and added a line to our AT&T account. We did this for a few reasons:
- It gave us the excuse to get a new smartphone, the iPhone 5, without replacing the Samsung Galaxy S3, which was still under contract for another year.
- We could now carry the family phone everywhere so that people could always get ahold of us, which is important in my job.
- The net monthly cost increase amounted to a few bucks, something I was willing pay since our family added a great phone, constant availability and a backup phone if my main mobile phone ran out of juice.
Some people won’t save enough to make this worthwhile. Others will not want constant availability. Those who can save and want availability, should consider it.
Get Ready for the Switch
Switchers should consider how switching affects their account or service.
- Bundlers might not save any money or it may cost more since bundling three services actually costs less on some services.
- A few phone services require contracts like wireless carriers. They might charge an early termination fee or ETF.
- E-911 isn’t as accurate as regular 911 service. The FCC rules require that wireless carriers offer location data within 50 to 300 meters in less than 6 minutes after a call starts. In some cases E911 won’t give accurate enough information for emergency services to find the person in distress.
Call the old phone service provider to see if splitting up the bundle results in a price increase.
Do not cancel the line at this point. If a customer cancels their landline service, she will lose the phone number and won’t get it back without a lot of effort if its even possible.
Check to see if the new carrier can port the land line number. We offer links to places to check below:
Search for other carriers pages via Google by typing the carrier name and “number porting” into the search box.
Backup messages or contacts stored online. Some cable or digital phone services provide storage of messages or contacts online. If so, back them up before switching.
Make the Switch
Typically, this step shouldn’t require any more steps than one would take in switching, for example, from Verizon to AT&T. Buy a phone and sign up for service. Tell the new company that you want to port a landline over to the new company.
When I did this last summer, I moved from Charter to AT&T. It took a couple of days for the number to work with the new iPhone 5. Carriers warn that it can take up to ten days. The number might not work for a short time during the porting process. AT&T gave us a temporary phone number on the iPhone to use until my home number became active.
Using Google Voice could make switching phone services easier, since they can switch without changing numbers. Just forward the Google Voice phone calls and text messages to the new line.
Sign up for a Google account and go to Google Voice. Click on the Settings icon in the upper right corner of the Google Voice screen. Click on the Phones link, then on the Change/Port link next to the bold phone number. A dialogue box opens. Click “I want to use my mobile number.” Enter the landline number and click “Check for available options.”
Most landline numbers won’t work, but some will. Mine didn’t, even after I switched it to AT&T when I bought the iPhone 5. If that’s the case, consider giving up one of your cell phone lines once it’s out of contract and forward it to the new phone attached to the old landline number.
Since Google Voice doesn’t cost anything, this could save a lot of money. Use the old landline or the old mobile number ported to Google Voice as a landline using something like OBIHAI.
Who Should Switch
There are a few kinds of people who should consider making the switch
- If your landline phone company charges more than $30/month get an add-on line with the mobile provider.
- People who need constant availability but don’t want to hand out their personal mobile number, should switch.
- Digital phone service users who find the service slows down their Internet when in a call, should switch.
- Smartphone lovers who want two cool phones can upgrade once a year if they stagger the two lines.