Google Voice testing Number Portability – will be a $20 one-time fee

As promised now for over a year and a half, Google Voice is adding number portability to its service, meaning that instead of some randomly assigned phone number on your G Voice account, you can migrate your existing mobile telephone number over it.

This is great news of course, but before you skip over to your Google Voice account and plop down your $20, keep a few things in mind: for starters, this will cancel your existing cell contract and if you’re like most people, you’re probably right in the middle of a contract and you will probably get penalized.

Even after that step, you’ll still need to re-sign up for a cell phone service because while Google can take your call, it won’t go to a phone unless you actually have a working one!

If you’d like to read what the whole experience is like, with warts and all, Ryan Singel at Wired documented his migration experience in great detail.

However, for all of the growing pains, Google Voice promises to be much closer to the comm nirvana that the existing telcos have not delivered on. After the purchase of Grand Central, Google really did a bang-up job in sprucing up that service, and they’ll probably continue to make improvements.