The process is fairly direct. After entering your mobile number, you agree to the various terms and conditions (it's nice that they list just 6 points that must be checked, rather than a 17-page agreement), and then enter in your account information. Once you've got everything all set, you simply check out, and they take over.
Anyone who's ever ported a number before knows that it's generally a pretty painless process; personally, when I ported my number from Verizon to Sprint, it literally took all of 5 minutes. Then again, they always leave themselves some wiggle-room - in this case, Google says the process could take up to 3 business days.
For those confused about Google Voice number porting, I'd like to clarify a few things:
- Let's say your old favorite number that all your friends know is 123.
- You port this number to Google Voice, which means your cell phone has to get a new number, which is now 456.
- You set up forwarding from Google Voice to number 456, and now:
- everyone who calls your favorite 123 number can still reach you
- Google Voice handles and transcribes your SMS for free
- you don't ever have to deal with porting a number again or potentially losing it while moving (your new carrier will only let you port a number if the old area code matches your current one)
- life is good
- You can now set your Google Voice setting on your Android phone to always use Voice for dialing, which means everyone you call will still see your old number 123. This is not possible on a non-Android phone, like iPhone, as far as I know - Android's flexibility rocks quite hard in this case.
Not bad, Google, not bad at all.