Or how T-Mobile was happy to help me leave an unsupported product
About 5 years ago T-Mobile launched a Voice Over IP (VoIP) product that could be bundled with your mobile service. They called this T-Mobile @Home. For $10 a month you would have a land line at home with conventional phones.
Two years after launching the product, T-Mobile discontinued selling it. They did not stop supporting it though. Customers with @Home could continue to use the service.
Fast forward to today, T-Mobile seems to have completely stopped supporting the product without notice to the few users still on it. This left me with a service I was paying for that did not work.
What can be done?
I stopped in a T-Mobile store to find out what to do about @Home. The fantastically helpful CSR, Ira, setup a great game plan. I mentioned to him I’m a big fan of Google Voice and wanted to port the @Home number to Google Voice but couldn’t as Google uses a phone call to the number you wish to port to ensure you actually control the number.
Ira changed my @Home service to a mobile line for $10 a month, what I was paying for @Home, then gave me a SIM card. I put the SIM in a old Samsung Galaxy and suddenly I had my @Home number working on the cell phone. This is a big step in porting the number to Google Voice.
Next, I created a new user under my Google Apps account to use with this number. I didn’t want to replace my current Google Voice number as I use that or work. Also, this would allow me to share the old @Home number with my wife on her mobile phone. This had the net effect of a home phone that can ring multiple handsets.
In general porting was easy, I needed to know my T-Mobile account number, this is easily found on T-Mobile’s site. All other information was the easy stuff like the number to be ported and billing address.
Once ported, I added my mobile number and my wife’s mobile number to the Google Voice account. When the old @Home number is called, Google Voice rings my mobile and my wife’s mobile at the same time. Whoever answers first gets the call, just like a conventional phone. Also, we now get the voicemails via email on both of our phones. Basically, we have a better solution now than ever for a “home” phone number.
The short of the story:
- Convert the @Home number to plain mobile voice service
- Get a new SIM for the number
- Put SIM in an old cell phone
- Start port process with Google Voice
- When porting is done, add phone numbers to Voice account