Add a Second Line to Your Mobile Phone

Category: Telephony

A reader asks: “I have one cell phone that I use for personal calls, and another one just for business calls. It's a nuisance to carry two phones, and expensive too. Isn't there some way to add a second line to a mobile phone?” Well, yes, and there are some other very good reasons for doing so, even if you're not running a business. Read on for several options...

Mixing Business With Pleasure?

Mixing professional and personal business often leads to trouble. Many employees, entrepreneurs, and professionals carry two phones, one for business and the other for personal calls, texts, email, etc. But others just want two phone numbers that are associated with the same device. The really tech-savvy also want two numbers that can be used on a phone, tablet, computer, smartwatch, or whatever other gadgets they have.

Cellular service providers offer the option to add a second line, but it can be more expensive and restricted than necessary. Verizon, for example, charges $20/month for a second line, with a $20 activation fee and a two-year contract that runs separately from the main number’s. Prepaid Verizon customers cannot have a second line.

Naturally, third-party services have arisen to provide second lines at lower cost with no contract and no restrictions. Several offer free trial periods, which you’ll never get from a carrier. They also sweeten the pot with discounted international calls and clever features like the ability to set the hours during which your business phone line will ring.

add a line to your phone

GoDaddy, best known for domain registrations and hosting services, offers SmartLine. The Basic service costs $9.99/month after a 30-day. SmartLine includes unlimited texting and calling. You choose a phone number in any U.S. area code, restrict ringing hours, send the second line’s number as caller-ID, convert voicemails to text, and customize a greeting for the second line. When you call out using SmartLine, your second phone number shows on their Caller ID, so your personal number stays private. Godaddy says you can download the Smartline app (iOS or Android) and get your new number up and running in about 5 minutes. I've been using Smartline as a second number to manage a rental cottage, and it has worked well.

With Google Voice, you get a free phone number for calls, text messages, and voicemail. It works on smartphones and desktop computers. Voice allows texting from your computer or cell phone, filters out most spam calls, lets you block unwanted callers, and screen your calls before answering. Incoming voicemails are transcribed into text and arrive in your email inbox. You can personalize your voicemail greetings for people in your contact list. I would have used Google Voice for the rental, but I already have a Google Voice number that rings on my cell phone, and you can only have one GV number associated with an existing number.

Magic Jack is an option to consider if you don't have a mobile phone, or if you don't want your second line to be associated with a mobile phone. Magic Jack is a gadget you plug into your computer, and then plug a standard phone handset into it. It uses your Internet connection to make and receive phone calls. The device costs $35, and includes 12 months of service. After the first year, you can renew for $39 annually. Magic Jack can be used as a second line, but most people use it as a low-cost replacement for their landline service.

Line2 offers a bundle similar to Smartline for a bit less -- $8.30/month, although it’s billed annually ($99.60 up front cost) and the free trial lasts only 7 days. But a Line2 number works with either cellular service or WiFi (VoIP), while SmartLine is strictly cellular. VoIP can be a lifesaver when you’re in a cellular service “dead zone" but you can connect to WiFi. A Line2 number works on up to five devices (phones, tablets, PCs or Macs), while SmartLine is silent on that subject. You get "virtually unlimited" calling and texting; you can forward, screen, or block calls, or do group calling and messaging. If you have a website, you can use the Line2 Widget to get texts directly from people on your site.

More Options For Multi-Line Smartphones

Burner touts its service as a privacy protector. Their slogan is "Only give your personal number to people you trust. For everyone else, there's Burner." A Burner number costs $4.99 month-to-month or $3.99/month if you pay a year in advance. That gives you unlimited texting, calling, and picture-messaging, plus spam call filtering. Burner’s distinguishing feature is the ability to “burn” a number and get another once per month; this can be useful for temporary communications needs such as a Craigslist ad or dating service. You can have any number of Burner phone numbers.

Skype started out as a way to make video calls between Skype members for free. Today, Skype offers a number of other services, including a Skype phone number that allows unlimited inbound and outbound calls in the U. S. and Canada for $2.99/month. Skype charges for text messages, a major downside even thought texts cost less than 5 cents each, depending on the text’s destination.

TextFree is an app from Pinger, Inc. It started out as just a free-texting service that works over WiFi or cellular data. Today, it include a phone number that’s good for inbound and outbound calling and texting within the U. S. and Canada.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Messenger are strictly VoIP apps that let you call, text, or video conference with other users of the same app. They’re free and work for some users.

I’m not sure what the tax ramifications of the two-numbers-one-phone strategy are. Generally, the IRS wants any expenses you deduct from gross revenue to be for things exclusively used for business. The service charges for a second, business-only line may be deductible, but if business and personal matters are conducted on a device, the device’s cost may not be deductible even in part. Check with your tax expert on that.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below.

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Most recent comments on "Add a Second Line to Your Mobile Phone"

Posted by:

29 Apr 2019

We are in 2019 and dual SIM phones are still not familiar for US customers? has Motorola dual SIM (SIM free- open to any network) at similar prices as the one SIM cards. Samsung has the same..not to mention loads of Chinese phones... You get 2 SIM numbers and you can use them at the same time.. a Google search will give you lots of options

Posted by:

George Pohl
29 Apr 2019

You didn't mention telephones that accept two sims. They give you two numbers on one phone and a choice of which one to use when you make a call. For some reason, they are not popular in the U.S. but they are used a lot in Europe. I have one with a sim for the U.S. and another sim for Europe. Calls on either number arrive on my phone no matter where I am. To use a phone with two sims in the U.S. you must use either T-Mobile or AT&T for your provider because they are the only companies in the U.S. that use the same system as the rest of the world.

Posted by:

Catherine A Smith
29 Apr 2019

TextNow is a really excellent app it is free to US & Canada to can call and text inbound & outbound for free you get a free number and for US only they have phones for sale and calling plans etc too. They started out in Canada and had to move to the States to be successful because the big three major Telecom companies in Canada don't like competition. I have been using it for a few years now and love it and there so many Canadians wanting their phones and calling plans here because they are so reasonable.Everyone should check them out at

Posted by:

29 Apr 2019

I forward my magic Jack to my cell most of the time. It is like having 2 numbers on the same device.

Posted by:

29 Apr 2019

MagicJack has an App for your cell phone and your magicJack phone number can ring on the cell phone and calls or texts out show the MagicJack number. So they are no longer a computer only option. I use mine on my Colombia cell phone and it works great.

Posted by:

29 Apr 2019

I have been using TextFree for several years now. Mostly when I am out of country with no cell service. Great for SMS and MMS. What I don't like about TextFree is they no longer support e-mail to text address ( and I am unable to check many of my voicemail accounts from TexFree. I ended up installing SIP software on my phone and use my home phone number to accomplish those tasks.

Posted by:

30 Apr 2019

Great article, Bob. Love your info. It does seem as if you need to publish an article explaining the two sim option. (Was that new to you also?)

Posted by:

06 May 2019

When I signed up for my monthly Mint Mobile plan, I used my own number from my previous carrier. When I check voicemail, Mint Mobile uses the original phone number assigned to me before I requested my old number as my number. If you write that number down and call it from a different phone, it will still ring your phone so really, your phone already has two phone numbers on the phone if you do like I did and request you transfer your old number. Sneaky trick, I know, and these phone companies will probably catch on to this neat little trick one day. It's been working for me for the past couple years!!

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