Google Voice is finally letting you use your old number.
While Google's call forwarding service may be perfect for people who want a new number, the inability to import an already established number has frustrated some users, according to the Google Voice blog.
Google Voice allows users to pick a number which, if dialed, rings every phone a user has selected to ring, be it a mobile phone, landline, or business phone. It's like have one number for every different phone you use (the original numbers still work for those phones as well). Google Voice also transcribes voicemails for users, allowing them to view their messages as text. It also offers low rates on international calls. (See more new features here)
Number porting lets users switch to Google Voice without having to give up their original cell phone numbers.
There are a few things to know before you make the move, however. As TechCrunch points out,
The feature costs $20 to enable, and it comes with plenty of strings attached. When you port your number away from your carrier, you'll likely automatically cancel your existing contract and will be charged an early termination fee that can run hundreds of dollars. It's possible to avoid this fee by getting a new number from your carrier and keeping the contract alive, but that process will involve calling the carrier (likely more than once) to help you through the process.
Once you've agreed to plenty of warnings and paid your $20, your number will be transfered to Google Voice within 24 hours. You won't miss any calls, but there's a three day window where you may be missing text messages.
To learn more, watch the video below from Google.