For years, I’ve used Google Voice to handle my voicemail instead of the carrier solution. About 4 weeks ago I ported my cell phone number to Google Voice. Google Voice is just another VOIP carrier that has free SMS/calls to and from numbers in the US. The international rates seem good too.
Some of my personal pro’s/con’s:
- Simple web interface to use, integrated Google Contacts with my google account. Easy.
- Voicemail service. Free.
- Single phone number. Don’t need to try to get people to use a new number (Have you ever done that? It is a really difficult task)
- Save $1000/yr by not having a cell phone contract. As alluded to here.
- I must be around two things to use my phone number: a) computing device, b) wifi
- Wifi voice calling is somewhat sketchy, I’m not sure if it is the app on my iPad or the wifi service? Regardless, I don’t prefer voice calls anyway. I’d rather use skype or facetime.
- If I do get a call, I will probably miss it since I am not “wearing” my cell phone anymore. However, I can easily return the call without too much latency, if I want.
- Slightly less convenient when trying to meet people and/or finding directions to someplace (need to plan ahead better)
I did setup a US-based VPN so I’m guessing that I will be able to use this service outside the US in the near future too. Of course, I can’t test that scenerio, yet.
Overall, I would recommend porting to Google Voice if the above list seems logical to you. If I really needed a better mobile solution (which I don’t) I would consider getting a pay-as-you-go/prepaid phone which would cost less than half per year and still port my number. I don’t want to be bound to a contract, and really, I haven’t yet found why a cell phone is needed in these past 4 weeks. I use to think it was crazy to go without a cell phone but now I’ve changed my tone..