[HOWTO] Add a Second Line to Your Phone
A reader asks: “I have one smartphone that I use for personal calls, and another one used only 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. 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.
GoDaddy, best known for domain registrations and hosting services, offers SmartLine. The Basic service cost only $3.99/month after a 30-day free trial. But it comes with only 100 minutes of talk time and you can send only 100 texts per month, although there’s no limit on the number of texts you can receive. The premium $9.99/month SmartLine includes unlimited texting and calling. Both let 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.
Line2 offers a similar bundle for only $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 any device, while SmartLine is silent on that subject.
More Options For Multi-Line Smartphones
Burner touts its service as a privacy protector. 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 $2.95/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. Many Android users have given TextFree high ratings, but I notice a number of glitches among the lower ratings on the Google Play store. https://goo.gl/4gD0sF I get the impression Pinger’s tech support and development departments are understaffed.
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.
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Aug 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [HOWTO] Add a Second Line to Your Phone (Posted: 18 Aug 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved