How to Add a Second Line to Your Smartphone
Do you have one mobile phone for personal calls, and another for business or some other purpose? It's a nuisance to carry two phones, and expensive too. Isn't there some way to add a second line to a smartphone? 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. 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.
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.
Another option is the TextNow app that offers free talk and text. You get a free phone number when you sign up, which can be used on any wifi-connected phone, tablet, or desktop computer. TextNow recently added the option to use the service without WiFi. This requires a one-time purchase of a SIM Activation Kit for $4.99. Insert the SIM card into a spare phone and you'll have nationwide talk and text with no monthly charges. I recently learned about this app from my 9-year-old granddaughter. She showed me that she could text and make calls from her Samsung tablet. "It's just an app, Grandpa Bob!"
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 $39, and includes 12 months of service. After the first year, you can renew for $39 annually, or at a discounted multi-year rate. Magic Jack can be used as a second line, but most people use it as a low-cost replacement for their landline service. A companion MagicJack app lets you use your MagicJack account on an iPhone or Android smartphone.
Line2 offers a bundle similar to Smartline, 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. The Starter package is $14.99/month, and provides either a local or toll-free number, with call forwarding. The Growth ($19.99) and Business ($24.99) packages offer business-oriented features such as auto-attendant, call scheduler, call recording, and voicemail transcriptions.
More Options For Multi-Line Smartphones
Flyp lets you add up to five phone numbers to your device. Download Flyp for iPhone or Android smartphones and test-drive your first line free for 7 days. You can choose your own area code, and each Flyp number has unlimited calling, unlimited texting, per-line Do-Not-Disturb settings and call blocking. After the free trial, the cost is $7.99/month or $79.99/year.
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. An added privacy bonus is that you can make and receive calls without having the outbound or inbound numbers showing on your phone bill. Calls made through the Burner app look like calls between your Burner number and your personal number.
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.
Have you used one of these services to add a second line to your mobile phone? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 3 Aug 2021
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Report a Spammer? (Read this FIRST...)
The Top Twenty
[HOWTO] Extend Your Laptop Battery Power
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- How to Add a Second Line to Your Smartphone (Posted: 3 Aug 2021)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Most recent comments on "How to Add a Second Line to Your Smartphone"
03 Aug 2021
I’ve had a home phone forever but have contemplated getting rid of it but somehow I keep it as a second line. However, they are no longer land lines. And if a satellite or internet goes out, you’re screwed. The Google voice sounds perfect. As it’s apparently free except for calling certain foreign countries. Is there a way to take the same phone number I have on my home phone and use that for any other service? I ask as I’ve had the number forever and it would be good to just transfer it. Though it’s with ATT so I’m sure they’ll charge me for that and I’m back to zero then as the whole point was be to cutting costs.
03 Aug 2021
Do any of these apps work outside the USA?
03 Aug 2021
I have had MAJICJACK for quite a few years now and now I have the app installed on 2 cell phones. One is a carrier cell phone and the 2nd is not. As long as I can connect to a WIFI signal I have my home phone.
To answer Rebelr, MAGICJACK, I believe, can transfer your current number ... you'll have to ask if they can ...
Otto, MAGICJACK works wherever there is WIFI.
03 Aug 2021
Google Voice link indicates you can get a number if outside of USA, but gives pretty much zero information about procedure of, more importantly, costs. Like the idea, but with no cost info (I'm in UK) it's not something I will be trying!
03 Aug 2021
I'm retired so I don't need a second number at present. However, my phone will take 2 SIM cards. So when I go traveling again I shall get and install a local SIM card-probably pre-paid. It seems much simpler for temporary use.
04 Aug 2021
Rebelr: I went through this process back in 2013 when I successfully transferred my old land line phone number to Google Voice using a Tracfone cell phone as an intermediary step. I had an AT&T land line which I almost never used except with an answering machine, so I wanted to get rid of the land line and the $29/month cost and just use our cell phones for voice communications. But I didn't want to lose the land line number, since we've had it for 35 years and some people still phone us on that number. My goal was for calls to that number to just be forwarded to voice mail, which I could then monitor from my computer or cell phone.
After extensive research I signed up for Google Voice, was assigned a free phone number, and I then enabled the "Do Not Disturb" feature for the next 9,000 hours (equals about 25 years). All calls to the Google Voice number go directly to Google's voice mail box, with instant email notifications then sent to my computer and regular Sprint cell phone along with (surprisingly accurate) transcriptions of the messages. (This makes it easy to ignore the many spam calls. Most spammers don't even leave messages.) Any unanswered calls to my regular cell phone also are forwarded to Google's voice mail. I can also receive and send text messages thru Google Voice.
At the time it was not possible to transfer a land line number directly to Google Voice, although you could transfer a cell phone number to Google Voice. (I don't know the present situation.) So I began a two-step process of first porting my land line number to a Tracfone Samsung T301G Slider cell phone I bought on Amazon, which required no contract and came with 10 free minutes to get things started. Then I transferred my land-line number to the Tracfone, and about a week later was able to transfer the Tracfone number to Google Voice.
So now any calls to my old land line number go directly to my Google Voice mail box. I have no further use for my Tracfone cell phone, having used only 2 of the 10 free minutes it came with to set things up. The total cost was $20 to Google for the transfer and $12.99 + tax for the Tracfone unit, but I save about $350 a year by no longer having a land line.
04 Aug 2021
So I did a quick check and it appears you still can't do a direct porting of a landline to Google Voice. The url below shows (as of October 2020) how the writer did it for his parents.
There is still the 1-time $20 port fee to Google and you will probably need to buy a $19 Tracfone as noted in the story below.
25 Jun 2022
Hi Bob, I've had a Google Voice phone number for about 10 years and it's really handy when I don't want to give out my mobile number. Very easy to navigate their options, too. The only caveats I know of are you get to choose your Google Voice number from just 5 phone numbers in your area code, and you MUST use your Google Voice phone service at least once every 90 days or it lapses and you must start from square one. I like it - a lot - and have never had a problem with it.