It’s been a long time coming, but Google has finally enabled number porting so users can “unlock” their existing phone number for use with Google Voice. The porting costs $20, but allows users to keep their existing number for the foreseeable future, regardless of carrier or phone.
In order to make the switch, you’ll have to cancel your current cell plan to free up your “old” number (and attempt to talk your way out of the dreaded early termination fees), then crawl back to your carrier and activate a new plan to receive brand-new digits for your cellular device, which you will then add as a “forwarding phone” on Google Voice.
When all is said and done, incoming calls to your old number will ring your new number through Google Voice, and outgoing calls will use your new number to make the call, but will be masked by Google Voice. Your new number will remain invisible to all parties involved since it is simply being “piggy backed” by Google Voice.
Update: Google has announced that the feature is in a limited testing phase.
“We’re continually testing new features to enhance the user experience. For a limited amount of time, we’re making the Google Voice number porting process available to users. We don’t have any additional details to share at this time, but plan to offer this feature to all users in the near future.”