What is 602.412.3315?

by francine Hardaway on December 23, 2004

No, it�s not a Jeopardy answer. It�s the inadvertent new phone number for Stealthmode Partners. By �inadvertent,� I mean we didn�t intend to change office phone numbers; for years, I�ve paid extra to avoid doing so. Still, you had best replace the old phone number (602.331.0997) in your Rolodex with this one.

And here�s why. You know me and my proclivity for early adoption. You may also know that I grew up in New York City, where everyone learns to compete during the first three months of life. You compete for subway seats, pre-school reservations, spaces at Ivy League colleges, and scarce seats for hit shows.

As the Jesuits say, �give me a child for the first five years, and I will have him for the rest of his life.� Or something like that. Moving to Phoenix did little to alter my aggressiveness to be first.

A lifelong competitor at sports, business, and verbal one-upsmanship, I was in danger of being eclipsed by one of my daughters, who moved to Amsterdam and changed her phone service to VOIP so she could have free long distance.

She got Vonage, and after the first phone call from her, during which she showed no eagerness to end the call (none of the usual �this is very expensive so I�ll make it short� stuff we used to say about the service formerly known as �Long Distance�), I felt my heart sink. I DIDN�T GET THIS FIRST!!!!!

I had to get it. And now you have to get it, too, because it�s awesome.

Here�s how it works. You order the service, which can be both phone and fax lines (yes, our new fax is 602.218.5272). For unlimited calls, no matter where, the service costs $24.95.

A modem arrives in the mail. You connect the modem to an electrical outlet and your computer and your phone. In our case, we also had a wireless network to contend with, but if you send Vonage an email, they send you the instructions for connecting that, as well.

Then you fax a form to Vonage, allowing them to switch your phone number over. This is the same number portability that comes with cell phone providers now.

In the mean time, Vonage gives you a �virtual� number, through which you can send and receive calls and check voicemail. I never told anyone the virtual number, and used it only for outgoing calls. I still got incoming calls on the old number.

A month went by, and my number still hadn�t switched over. Impatient (another one of my legacies from New York), I called Cox Communications and disconnected my old number. I thought if I took matters into my own hands, I could make my number transfer faster.

What a mistake!!!

It turned out that the transfer was in process, and by disconnecting the old number, I lost it. Patience would have been a virtue, but unfortunately I didn�t have it.

So my �virtual� number has become my real number.

I thought my troubles were over. But extension phones don�t work with Vonage either, unless they are the kind that have a base station and wireless handsets. Then you can put the base station near the modem and computer, and distribute handsets all over the office (or in this case, my home). I bought the phone system on EBay; Siemens makes one that many EBayans seem to refurbish and re-sell.

And one last glitch: the other night I was watching Tivo, and a notice came on that I only had a few days of information left before the system would stop recording programs for me. Why? Because Tivo needs a land line! So I had to call Cox and get a basic land line re-connected.

According to my calculations, I will still, after all these escapades, save enough money every month on long distance to make all this worthwhile. And the quality of the calls is indistinguishable from the old technology.

So Merry Christmakah, Hanumas, or whatever it is correct to call it. This year you get two gifts from me: a new phone number and my experience with Vonage so you can avoid my mistakes!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

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