A few weeks ago we wrote about FreedomPop’s close to free cell phone plan, and it looks like the LA based telecom company is at it again, this time launching a phone and mobile service that offers complete privacy – it encrypts all your communication and data use, which means private calls and texts plus anonymous internet browsing, no matter where you are. And to seal the anonymity deal, you can even pay for the product and your monthly usage plan with Bitcoin, so your identity is protected through every step of the process.
It can be confusing. NumberGarage™ is here to break it down. These are a few questions you might have while choosing how to manage your extra phone numbers.
What am I doing when I port my phone number?
Think of it like this: your telephone number is an airplane, and the phone companies are the airlines (American Airlines®, Southwest Airlines®, etc.). Wherever your number is ported (AT&T®, Verizon®, GoogleVoice®, NumberGarage™, etc.), that entity is providing service to your number for you, just like a plane sitting at the airport is serviced by an airline company. YOU are the pilot, which means you own your phone number. You can choose where to port that number and when to fly away, which in telecom speak is called “porting out.” When you port your number to NumberGarage™, that means we’re servicing your phone number for you.
If you don’t have an airline representing and servicing your plane, well, your airplane is abandoned and cannot fly. Your phone number works the same way – if you leave your current phone company without porting your number somewhere else first, the number has nowhere to go – you’ve just flown your plane into the Bermuda Triangle. Always make sure your number is safe in its new port before canceling service with your old provider.
What happens when I park my phone number?
Once a port is complete you can either park your number or forward your calls to a different one. When you park a phone number you are putting it in storage. Back to the airplane analogy, you would have an airline that still services the plane, it would just be parked safely in a hangar for later use. Simple as that. People park numbers for all kinds of reasons: maybe they’re traveling for an extended period of time, being deployed, or maybe they want to reserve a catchy phone number for a future business venture, or even prevent someone else from taking ownership of a particular number.
What is this “VoIP” thing all the kids are talking about?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is a fancy way to say talking over the internet instead of over wires up in telephone poles. NumberGarage™ and companies like us are VoIP service providers – we use the internet to meet your telephony needs!
Speaking of “telephony,” is that even a word?
Telephony is all things telephone. It’s technical definition is: the branch of science devoted to the transmission, reception, and reproduction of sounds, such as speech and tones that represent digits for signaling. Note 1: Transmission may be via various media, such as wire, optical fibers, or radio. Note 2: Analog representations of sounds may be digitized, transmitted, and, on reception, converted back to analog form. Note 3: “Telephony” originally entailed only the transmission of voice and voice-frequency data. Currently, it includes new services, such as the transmission of graphics information. 2. A form of telecommunication set up for the transmission of speech or, in some cases, other sounds. (from ATIS Telecom Glossary)
More telephony terms leaving you befuddled? Check out the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) searchable glossary here.
SIMPLE is, what Simple does! The NumberGarage™ Team likes “simple” because there is less confusion. We also rule by common sense, and common sense can only be present with transparency. It appears that the BIG telephone companies that we all love, or hate, or don’t care either way have found success in what makes small businesses successful — the ability to use common sense!
T-Mobile announced in April 2013 that the “Early Termination Fee” (ETF) was a thing of the past in their business model. This is an awesome quote by their CEO, John T. Legere, “If we suck this month, drop us. Go somewhere else.” CHEERS! To you Mr. Legere! NumberGarage™ does not have any termination fees, and we have been a month-to-month service since 2008. We have also ported many a T-Mobile phone number to, and we will continue to refer our customers to T-Mobile when they port-out of NumberGarage™ as well.
AT&T announced May 24, 2013 their PCWorld / TechHive Awardeed Top Spot LTE network is available for their GoPhone® product! Wait! PrePaid cellular has LTE access! It looks like AT&T is jumping into the common sense business too. AT&T has invested $98 billion into its operations over the past five years, and with this kind of PrePaid friendly business with access to the fastest wireless network available might mean conversions of sales are in their favor. If you want to meet your analyst numbers, you must have NEW customers.
The only disconnect for AT&T is the fact the LTE for GoPhone® access is for NEW customers ONLY. This is where NumberGarage™ comes into value. Port your old cell phone number to NumberGarage.com and go get a NEW GoPhone® with LTE. You will be able to forward your calls easily from your old cell phone number to your new AT&T GoPhone® number using NumberGarage.com FORWARD service.
The new version of Apple’s iPhone has surfaced this week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, and users across the country are excited about getting their hands on the latest upgrade. As we all lead an increasingly mobile lifestyle, the all in one device comes with the ease of being able to work and stay in touch no matter where in the world we may be. However, for many people who upgraded to the latest iPhone version last summer, they may be left out in the cold with higher upgrade prices. The mobile phone companies have made subsidizing phones common practice, and you have to be within a certain portion of your contract to qualify. GottaBeMobile.com lays out a handy explanation and charts on mobile phone subsidies on a whole:
Generally, for a two-year contract, U.S. carriers will give you a fixed subsidy per year. In the case of the iPhone and other smartphones with data plans, that subsidy is $200 per year. You sign up for two years, they give you a $400 subsidy. You try to re-up a year early, you only get a $200 subsidy. Seems fair enough to me, but why settle for fair?
As is being widely reported, AT&T lets you have the full $400 subsidy if you re-up after 18 months, giving you a six month re-up period ahead of your contract expiration. Pretty standard, though not explicit, practice among U.S. carriers.
The charts on the site will give you a great view on just how the subsidies work and where your money goes.
Following up a message from our Twitter account earlier today, it seems AT&T is upgrading their data network to what is called HSPA speed. HSPA, or High Speed Packet Access, will allow AT&T customers on smartphones (such as the iPhone) or with mobile broadband cards to access the web at a higher rate of speed than the current 3G speed. The technology for the speed upgrade already exists in the hardware that is on the market today, testing has begun on the technology in a few key AT&T markets.
According to the GSM Association, HSDPA can support download speeds of 7.2 Mbps, while HSPA+ can support speeds of up to 42 Mbps in the downlink and 11 Mbps in the uplink. CEO Ralph de la Vega says AT&T will likely skip upgrading its network to 14.4Mbps and jump directly from 7.2Mbps to 21Mbps using HSPA+ (also known as HSPA Evolution).
If you’re an AT&T mobile user, this is great news as we become more and more dependent on our mobile devices to keep us connected with the rest of the world.
Tech Crunch is reporting that rumors are running rampant in the mobile phone market over a price plan cut for the always popular iPhone on AT&T. As it stands now, an unlimited date package for the particular handset is $30, and a price cut to $20 may be in the cards. But as Tech Crunch highlights in their report, where mobile carriers seem to make the most money is on packages for the very popular text messaging technology. So would a price cut on unlimited data really be that much of a price cut?
Ever since the launch of the iPhone 3G, AT&T has been fleecing customers with text messaging fees. With the first version of the iPhone, users at least got to send 200 text messages for free with their unlimited data plans. With the iPhone 3G’s updated date plan (which was still just as “unlimited” but with faster download speeds), AT&T cut out all free texts and made users pay at least $5-a-month, unless they wanted to pay the utterly ridiculous $0.20 per text. So basically, that was AT&T jacking up the price of the iPhone plans by at least $5 right there. And many people, myself included, use way more than 200 messages, so it’s more like an extra $15-$20-a-month for either 1500 messages or unlimited messages. Again, a joke when we’re already paying for an “unlimited” data plan.