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I've often regretted giving out my personal cell number, but sometimes it's simply necessary. So I'm looking into alternatives. There are companies that offer phone numbers that ring on apps on your cell phone and something else called 'sip trunking.'

Has anyone used services like this or can make any recommendations? I've seen some data, but it doesn't seem user friendly for the little guy and I just don't know where to start with it.

Mainly, I want a second number that anyone can call, will ring on my cell phone and/or maybe on the laptop and no second sim card. Maybe - not required - even ring on 2-3 phones/locations so a team member can answer. Any thoughts?

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    I have a separate phone for business. The cost is worth clients not having my personal number.
    – David R
    Dec 28, 2023 at 15:10
  • I'm considering a second phone, but I don't have that much business. So I was hoping to do it on one device. Or just a number through the computer with a headset.
    – user24353
    Dec 28, 2023 at 16:58
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    I use a virtual phone number, specifically google voice is free. I can text from my laptop or from my computer. It automatically transcribes voicemails. I'm home most of the time so can answer on my computer. However, I'm not able to answer it on my phone. Why don't you want a 2nd sim card or an esim card?
    – nickalh
    Jan 24 at 8:42
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    So my comment could be converted into an answer and then accepted? I'm not sure how much I could expand it.
    – nickalh
    Jan 24 at 17:51
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    Ahhh- basically, I've found it very reliable. Texting works excellently. I love it because I can touch type and text from my computer, which makes if far faster for me. The only other issues- making sure the computer is on, so I can receive a phone call. And being able to find the window in time before it goes to voicemail. (I run three monitors, with typically 10 windows open, probably too many things I tell myself I'll get back to all the time) After initial setup and getting used to it, it's pretty smooth. Like every program-A few idiosyncracies-group texting, but nothing serious.
    – nickalh
    Jan 25 at 3:30

1 Answer 1

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Short answer, tl;dr- Google Voice.

I use a virtual phone number, specifically google voice is free. I can text and call from my laptop or my wife's laptop. It automatically transcribes voicemails. I'm home most of the time so can answer on my computer. However, I'm not able to make or receive calls on my phone. I haven't tried but I think public wifi like Starbucks would not be enough to make or receive quality phone calls.

I've found it very reliable. Phone calls work well on my computers. Texting works excellently on any devices. I love it because I can touch type and text from my computer, which makes if far faster for me. The only other issues- making sure the computer is on, so I can receive a phone call. And being able to find the window in time before it goes to voicemail. (I run three monitors, with typically 10 windows open, probably too many things I tell myself I'll get back to all the time) After initial setup and getting used to it, it's pretty smooth.

Like every program it has a few idiosyncrasies and drawbacks- The primary or only serious drawback- I can not answer calls on my phone. I can only answer phone calls on my computer. I find a quality headset essential for this. I suspect the phone companies want calls going through their network. Or maybe they blocked google voice calls on phones to hinder spammers.

When texting a new number, I have to be sure to choose the number by clicking on it, not just type it in and tab or click to the message area. Also, group texting in particular. Sometimes I can't find a group I want to text. Then I have to pretend to recreate the group, by adding each group member again to an entirely new message. Eventually the message history appears.

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  • Just a note, google voice can make phone calls from your phone. What it does is, it requests a forwarding number from google and then calls that number using the phone. Behind the scenes that forwarding number connects to your number so that's the outgoing number. It's like a company having a single outgoing line but multiple incoming lines. You can also answer calls on your phone if you install the google voice app and specify your cell number in the voice settings. Feb 8 at 20:02
  • I have the google voice app installed on my phone for 3 years. I'm not sure I've ever successfully answered or made a phone call with it. I'll look through the configuration options again. If anything changes and I have some success I'll add a new comment here.
    – nickalh
    Feb 10 at 9:10

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