Ina Fried

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Google’s Latest Assault on Carriers: Number Porting Comes to Google Voice

Google confirmed on Tuesday that it will start allowing people to bring over their phone number to Google Voice.

The service, known as number porting, costs $20 and takes about 24 hours to do, Google said in a blog post.

“One of the most frequent requests we hear from people who use (or want to use) Google Voice is that they’d like to get all of Google Voice’s features without having to give up their long-time phone numbers,” the company said. “This means you can make the mobile number you’ve always used your Google Voice number, so it can ring any phone you want–or even your computer.”

Like email addresses, phone numbers tend to be a point of stickiness with consumers, tying them to a particular provider. That changed in the mobile world some years back, though, once carriers started allowing customers to move their numbers from one provider to another.

For them, though, that was sort of a zero sum game. They’d get some new customers and lose some old ones. This, on the other hand, makes it easy to leave the traditional system entirely.

Number porting is initially available only in the U.S. to existing Google Voice users. New customers in the States should be able to start bringing over their numbers in the next couple of weeks, Google said.

Once available only by invitation, Google Voice has been available for all since last June.