Perhaps you’re paying for U.S. cell phone service and leaving the country for an extended period of time. If you’ve ever wanted to temporarily keep your prized number without paying for your plan (or even your phone), you can.
Various services help you park your number so it’s waiting for you upon your return. In the meantime, you don’t have to pay for your traditional cell phone service while your number is held.
It’s also likely you can put your number on vacation or on hold at your carrier without using a cell phone number parking service.
NumberGarage and ParkMyCellPhone.com are two competing services for cell phone number parking.
NumberGarage: Number Parking Service
For number parking, NumberGarage charges $29.95 for the first month and $4.95 per month thereafter. With this service, you can hold your number for later use.
Number parking, though, doesn’t allow you to make or receive phone calls through a parked number. Number parking ports your phone number to NumberGarage until you revert it back to a carrier and put a paid plan on it. As another option, NumberGarage can forward your number for $29.95 for the first month and $9.95 per month thereafter.
This service sends an incoming call on your parked number to the cell phone or landline number of your choice. With this route, you can cancel your cell phone service (so you’re not paying the bill) and just forward your current number to another one.
With NumberGarage, parking and forwarding both come with no contract.
The forwarding service gives you 200 minutes per month. Thereafter, the per-minute charge is 5 cents per minute. You can change where your number is forwarded up to three times per month. Thereafter, there is a $2.95 charge per number change.
ParkMyCellPhone.com: Number Parking Service
In addition to NumberGarage, ParkMyCellPhone.com is a similar service with four options.
- ParkMyCellPhone Deep Freeze is this service’s cheapest choice. The company will keep your number for $3 a month if you’re not planning to use it at all in the meantime. This service costs $4.95 with NumberGarage.
- ParkMyCellPhone 100 or ParkMyCellPhone 200 informs callers of a new number or simply allows you to receive voice messages. Incoming calls get sent directly to voicemail, which can be listened to on the service’s system and will be sent to you via email.
The 100 plan is $5 per month with a one-time porting fee of $15 (or $60 per year with free porting). The 200 plan is $6 per month with a one-time porting fee of $15. The 100 plan comes with 100 monthly voicemail minutes. The 200 plan has 200 minutes.
- ParkMyCellPhone with VoIP allows you to receive your calls on a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone.
While calls will come to a VoIP device that must be connected to the Internet, a computer is not needed. This service costs $9 per month with a one-time setup fee of $45, which includes the device and shipping.
- ParkMyCellPhone with call forwarding costs $10 per month with a one-time porting fee of $15. While this is similar to the $9.95 forwarding service from NumberGarage, it comes with more minutes. This plan offers 500 monthly minutes.
If you call your cell phone carrier, it’s likely that you can put your number on vacation or on hold for a limited amount of time. For example, Sprint charges $6 per month and T-Mobile will bill you $10 per month for up to 90 days of vacation time for your number.
Virgin Mobile charges $15 per every 3 months or $60 per year. During this time, the carriers will hold your number while suspending your traditional cell phone service and bill.
Tips on Number Parking & Forwarding
Cell phone number parking is designed to just hold your number without any other use. In other words, there are no minutes to be used or paid for with parking.
Since you’re just paying to hold the number and you can’t actually use it, you likely don’t want to have a number parked forever. If you’re parking one longer than 12 months, you might want to ask yourself why and decide if it’s worth the money to do so.
Minutes, on the other hand, matter with forwarding. If you select that route, you’ll want to carefully monitor your minutes (just like you would on your traditional cell phone bill) to make sure you’re not going over a forwarding plan or spending too much money.