Keeping My Favorite Cell Phone Number

rotaryI’m pretty sure my first cell phone was a Nokia and was with US Cellular. I’ve also been a customer of Verizon, T-Mobile, Cingular and now AT&T. While switching numbers is always a pain, for some reason, I always found it exciting to get a new number, and I always tried to get the “coolest” number I could. When I moved to Princeton, NJ for seminary, the first day I arrived I was driving from the seminary out Quaker Bridge Rd to go to Red, White and Blue and find some cheap furniture for my dorm room. I can still picture the exact turn I made when I was speaking with the T-Mobile representative and she said, “Boy – did I find you a GOOD number.”

And it was. It ends in 4000. When I tell people my number, they often ask if there is an extension. It sounds like a business number. It’s my favorite phone number yet. And so when we moved out to California, there was no way I was getting rid of that number. Sure it’s a Princeton, NJ area code, but I’ll deal with that as long as I get to keep my cool number.

The only problem with my NJ area code, is that if you don’t have a cell phone, and you need to call me from Livermore, CA – well, that’s a long-distance number. And as far as I know, Sarah and I have no plans on getting a local land line. Doesn’t seem to be worth it. Sure, people can call my phone at work; but I don’t check my messages that often. So keeping my favorite cell phone number is great for me and makes my life easier, and it’s great if you have a cell phone. But for those folks in the church who may just have a land line, it’s not that convenient. And I have had some people from the church answer their phones very skeptically, because they see a New Jersey number in their Caller ID.

So, here’s the question: can I get a local Livermore number (925 area code) that somehow only exists to forward calls on to my cell phone?

I think that’s what Grand Central is supposed to be for, but they aren’t allowing any of their current beta users to offer invites anymore. It seems like there must be another service out there like Grand Central – I just don’t know what it is. Anyone have anything like this set up?


  1. says

    The question that you should be asking yourself is: “How committed am I to staying in this area for a while?”

    Having an out of state cell phone number can say negative things to people about how committed you are to them.

    At our church, we’re not surprised when the seminary interns have out of state numbers. Our youth director is an exception – his wife is a seminarian. We don’t mind PA numbers either. But you can be sure that the pastors changed their numbers when they moved here.

  2. says

    Or you could get over it and realize it is just a phone number.
    Or talk to your local provider and tell them you’ll switch if they can give you a good number. They want your business.

  3. says

    Check out Vonage. Whatever you figure out, Phil Brown is dealing with the same dilemma. The church doesn’t like his long distance cell phone, but he isn’t ready to change it so they have asked him to get a local number. Maybe the two of you could swap info…

  4. says

    @Sven, thanks for the information. I’ve heard from someone else in the past day that a SkypeIn™ number would be a solution (info can be found here).

    So it looks like with the SkypeIn option, it’s $30/yr for a local Skype number and then it’s $2.95/month for the call-forwarding to your cell phone.

    So, not a free option, but not all that expensive either. However, I’m really still looking for a free option.

  5. says

    @Marci…yes, I know. It’s just a cell phone number. And it’s easier these days (with Facebook) to alert people to the fact that you’ve changed your number, but still…

    However, your suggestion to find another cool number is a possibility…

  6. says

    Adam, you could try RingCentral which includes a local number, forwarding, integrated fax, multiple extensions, etc. But most importantly it allows you the option to have your new local number pop up on caller ids. It’s geared for business use and a consulting agency I worked with uses it and loves it. Not sure it’s the route you want starting at $10/mo but it does have a lot of features.

    When I switched to AT&T I was stuck with a new number I didn’t like. So I went to the store where the rep looked through the system with me and I found: 200-2008. I will NEVER change it!

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