I got a random e-mail two weeks ago, from out VP’s admin assistant:
“Hey, GameHat. Your [boss’s boss] wants you to have a company phone. It’s on the way, your new cell number will be xxx-xxx-xxxx.”
Anyways, I got the thing yesterday. It’s an iPhone 4 (frown, old and busted, no 4g). And I’m supposed to use this thing for all business phone uses. The company pays the bill for voice, texts and data.
I’m torn here. I’ve had the same cell phone number for eight years now, I don’t want to give it up and have to tell everyone I know a new number. The phone (iPhone 4) is a bit of a downgrade - my personal phone is a Droid Bionic. The data transfer rate sucks (3g - what is this, the Middle Ages?!) but on the other hand the company pays for the phone and the plan as long as I’m with them.
And it’s about $75/month for my personal phone.
So it’s either keep two phones (the idea of which I hate, I don’t need more devices in my pockets) or save my monthly cell charges but give up my long-standing cell number - plus any messages, text or usage may be monitored by my corporate Big Brother.
Ugh, I keep going back and forth. Should I preserve my number or just take the company phone exclusively?
This all comes down to your company’s culture, I think.
Ask to see your company’s acceptable use policy for business phones - look into the monitoring thing, as well as data plan usage for non-business activities like streaming music and video.
Personally I’d keep my personal phone. If you don’t, then you have your business phone at all times. Weekends, holidays, birthdays, etc.
On the other hand, I have a friend who has a company phone and he uses it as his personal, because his company is very hands-off and he has a good relationship with the owner. He doesn’t have to worry about any of that.
Yeah, there’s the rub. We’ve been with new owners for about two years now and they are not great about setting rules. I specifically asked when I got the thing, “Is there a written company policy about business phones? Can I use it for personal calls/texts/etc?”
“Oh, no, no written policy. Go ahead and install whatever you want. Personal use is OK within reason. Install iTunes or whatever if you want. But don’t use the phone to send…pictures…you know what I mean?”
I took this to mean “Anthony Weiner-style” pictures, but it’s still up in the air.
Never give up your personal phone and rely exclusively on a company phone. I did that, and when I got laid off I had to turn the phone in that day, leaving me with no phone. (Actually, my manager bent the rules and let me turn my phone in the following Monday, but not everyone got that option.)
If I get a company phone I’ll carry two phones from now on. That’s the main reason I don’t have a company phone at this job.
Another vote here for Google Voice. I’ve been using it for years, ever since it was Grand Central, and it freakin’ rocks. Port your old number to GV, and then tell GV to call your new phone number when you get a call to your old number. Once you set it up, it’s practically seamless… and the big benefit is that when you eventually change phones again, you won’t have to change your “personal” number.
You can also have it call multiple numbers. My cell number, for example, will simultaneously ring my cell number and my home number.
The iOS app for GV let’s you check voice mail, send text and initiate calls that then complete over the cell network. The TalkATone app lets you do VOIP calls and text. Both free. You can also call, text and do vmail from a browser.
My company installs “Good for Enterprise” software on our personal phone so we can get to our work emails, calendar, etc. They subsidize the monthly bill (and phone updgrades every other year). The upside is that I keep my cell number. The downside is that we have to go with one of the “Big 3” carriers (AT&T, Verizon or Sprint), which means I had to have a contract. I much prefer month-to-month, even if I have to pay full price for the phone. Now, should I leave their employ I am still stuck with this carrier until the contract expires.
If you pay full price for the phone, you shouldn’t be stuck with a contract agreement. At least, that’s what I’m counting on with my phone - I want to pay full price so I keep my unlimited data :D.
For the OP: any chance of negotiating an allowance with your company, where you keep your phone, and they reimburse you part of the cost? For example, something to cover excess minutes / texts / data? That might be cheaper for them than for them to pay for your entire phone bill (even if they get a group discount).
One thing to be aware of with using personally-owned equipment for business purposes: your company may have policies requiring you to have specific security features, remote wipe capability, nobody else may use it (e.g. can’t let the kids play Angry Birds), and an agreement that if they ask, they can look at the phone at any time. My own company has such a policy, and it’s a small part of why I haven’t set up my Droid to access the corporate network (the major reason being I haven’t felt like going to the trouble).
I suspect your employer, which doesn’t have much written down yet, might NOT have such policies in place yet. But, it’s worth asking.
For folks suggesting Google Voice: Will there be any problems in switching that back to your own phone in the future? I have no clue, I’ve never looked into this, myself.
This sounds like the perfect answer. Thanks to all that suggested it! I’m a bit ashamed, despite priding myself on being a techie I had never heard of Google Voice. Reading a bit online, it sounds ideal. I’ll be looking into it this weekend.
A a question - what should the order be? Ask google to port the number before or after cancelling my current Verizon contract?
k, thanks. Just gotta check with my manager - I think I can expense the early termination fee with Verizon, but I want to make sure (though even if I have to eat it all, I think it would be less than having to pay the monthly charges through the end of my contract.)
Well I went ahead and just ported my number to Google Voice. Still haven’t asked about the expensing of the early termination fee, but the alternative is to pay my monthly bill for about 6 months, which would cost more anyways. So either way I end up ahead.
After 24 hours, calling seems fine. I downloaded both GV Mobile + as well as the standard Google Voice app for ios. Texts still aren’t coming through, but they did warn me texts might not work for a few days.
I really am just happy being able to keep my old number - I want to keep work and personal life separated, and this is a good solution. Thanks, dopers.
/Still fairly unimpressed by this old iPhone 4. Smaller screen and slower data rates than my previous Android device. And I’m really missing just opening the Google browser to type in (or ask, vocally) any question I can think of - is there an iPhone 4 equivalent? Sounds like Siri is about the same thing, but this old phone doesn’t have it AFAIK. Damn my cheap employer.
//edit, looks like there is Chrome for iOs. I’ll try it out tomorrow. Disregard.