Payback: I Just Canceled AT&T By Way Of Google Voice

Over the past few years, I’ve been pretty vocal with my distaste for AT&T. Their complete and total incompetence when it comes to handling the iPhone in major metropolitan areas (or really any mildly crowded area) was only matched by a few of the colossal fuck-ups they’ve had with regard to some of my bills over the years. Tonight was the last straw. And it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Thanks to the new awesome number porting feature that Google Voice is now testing, I was able to cancel my AT&T service tonight — without having to talk to a soul at AT&T.

I just completed the process which took less than five minutes. You see, when you port an existing number over to Google Voice, it will proceed to cancel the carrier contract that is tied to that number. Google is very good about warning you that this will happen — they make you check something like six checkboxes just to make sure you really, really want to do this. And then they make you enter your current carrier account number and the like so they can complete the process. But again, it’s all super-simple. And awesome. I’m no longer an AT&T customer thanks to Google.

Of course, I had been planning on dumping AT&T just as soon as the Verizon iPhone was available. But for now, I’ll make do with a back-up phone we have laying around the office. I’ll simply forward my old number (now run by Google Voice) to whatever random number is assigned to whatever phone I use. It’s a brilliant system that Google has devised.

And it must both piss off and scare the hell out of the carriers. Which I love even more.

Obviously, this move isn’t for everyone. First of all, if your contract isn’t up, your carrier is going to charge you an early termination fee (ETF) on top of the $20 Google charges you for the porting. And if you already have a Google Voice number that you regularly use, this newly ported number will wipe that out (though you’ll have access to both for 90 days as you transition). And yes, you will still need another service plan from another carrier that you can then forward your old number to — Google is still not a carrier (at least not yet). So be careful.

But if those things above don’t apply to you. Or, like me, you just don’t care anymore, you’ve had enough — Google couldn’t make this any simpler.

I’m a bit concerned about how exactly I’m going to call AT&T tomorrow to explain that while I no longer have an account, I need them to remove the $350 roaming charge they incorrectly charged to my account for the second month in a row. But that’s another worry for another day. Tonight, I’m going to bask in the glow that is Google Voice number porting. And Im going to savor the feeling of no longer being an AT&T customer. Not only did I just quit. I was able to kick them in the groin on my way out the door by canceling their service via another service that is sure to piss them off.