The killer use for this number porting will come if and when you’re able to port landline numbers over. This screenshot from TNW says “Please note: at this time, number porting to Google Voice is not available for land line numbers or corporate mobile numbers,” but here’s to hoping that the “at this time” part means the ability to transfer landline numbers will eventually surface.
I think of my parents shelling out $30 per month to the phone company just to hold on to the phone number our family’s had since the Nixon administration. I’ve seen them answer the house phone when it rings but I can’t remember the last time I saw them initiate a call on anything but a cell phone. A one-time $20 payment would flip that old, worn out number into Google Voice and forward its calls to their cell phones forever.
The challenge for Google as it pertains to porting landline numbers, according to Fortune, is that “E-911 services aren’t yet mature… and Google took some heat last year for not connecting to all rural carriers because of the high fees they charge.”
Google’s apparently working on the E-911 bit, but I’d also expect landline providers to fight tooth and nail against the kind of massive disruption to their business models that a simple $20 porting fee would bring about. And from Google, no less! You know, the company that’s trying to brutally kill off every other company that refuses to live in the 21st century. That Google.
Landlines won’t die off any time soon but for anyone who uses a cell phone for everything yet keeps a landline number just because it’s too complicated to try and figure out which of the hundreds of VoIP services cost the least per month (and won’t go under in the foreseeable future), the ability to port an old number to Google for a one-time fee could prove mighty tempting.
More on TIME.com:
Google Officially Integrates Voice Calling into Gmail
Google Voice Back on the iPhone