After moving to Canada, I still had my U.S. phone number with AT&T. I’ve had the same phone number for 18 years. There’s not a way that I know of to transfer your U.S. phone number to a carrier in Canada.
T-Mobile actually lets you use your number internationally at no additional charge, so some people I know that moved from U.S. just kept doing that. The catch is that they slow your data speeds down. I didn’t use T-Mobile, so this wasn’t an option for me. I signed up for Rogers, an equivalent carrier in Canada to AT&T, and now I had two phone numbers. I wanted to keep my old phone number though in case I ever moved back to the U.S. I also didn’t want to risk losing messages and calls from people that still tried to use my old number.
One solution here is Google Voice. For a one-time fee of $20, you can port your number to Google Voice. This allows you to take calls and text from anywhere using your own phone number. Sounds great. The only problem is I already had a Google Voice number which I used for work (and also didn’t want to lose). Surprisingly, Google Voice doesn’t let you have multiple phone numbers. At least not easily. You might be able to set up separate Google accounts, but you still can’t link the multiple phone numbers to a single device, which sucks and makes it frustratingly pointless.
So Google Voice not being an option, I searched around and could not find any cheap alternatives. There were some VOIP providers, but they were not any cheaper than just keeping the line open with AT&T for $20 per month. So $240 per year to just keep a phone number alive. Worth it? Not at all.
After going through this frustrating experience and realizing there is not a good solution out there, this led me to the idea of a service that simply lets you “park” your phone number for cheap. No bells and whistles. No data plans, minutes, or voicemail storage. Simply transfer your number and then for a low price, say $5 per month, or $50 per year, the number will be safely parked. If someone tries to call or text the number, it will politely direct them to your preferred number. Then later if you ever want to use the number again, just un-park it and you’re good to go!
I’m not sure how niche of a use case this is. How many other people like me are moving to Canada and care about keeping their old phone numbers alive? I don’t know. But I could also see this being useful for people with old landline numbers trying to cut the cord. Or businesses with old support lines they don’t want to cause a service disruption.
So with that, I have launched a site to gauging interest in a service like this. You can check it out here and signup for the future beta: https://www.numbersimple.com/
What do you think? If you had the need, would you use something like this?