It should come as no surprise that nearly everyone on the planet has a cell phone these days. In 2021, the total number of mobile users worldwide reached 7.1 billion. During that same year, the global population reached 7.9 billion. In other words, 89.9% of the humans on planet Earth have cell phones.
Naturally, each of these cell phones must also come with a phone number. Without a phone number, cell phones are about as useful as touchscreen tablets. Sure, you can scroll social media or maybe take pictures, but the primary purpose of a phone is to be able to communicate with others. To do that, you’re going to need a mobile phone number.
Luckily, getting a new phone number isn’t even remotely difficult. All that you have to do is set up a new device, and it will automatically be assigned a number that’s not in use. The tricky part is when you need access to a new number but already have a number that you want to keep.
It’s very common for people to transfer the same number over to a new device whenever they upgrade or switch service providers. Some people have had the same number for multiple decades running. It would be quite the sacrifice to give up that number for any reason. If you’re one of these people, then don’t worry, as there are ways to get a new number while keeping your old one.
3 Ways To Get a Second Phone Number
Phone numbers have come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful phone call in 1876. While their purpose has largely stayed the same, the details surrounding them have significantly changed. Imagine what Bell would have thought were he to witness modern-day telecommunications that he was instrumental in creating.
In the late 1800s, a phone number in New York City would be as simple as two or three digits. The caller would dial the operator, tell them the number (or name) of the person they wanted to speak with, and the operator would transfer them directly. This straightforward system would be the standard for nearly 50 years.
History of Area Codes
It wasn’t until the 1930s that a new system would be created out of necessity. The increasing ease of access to telephones meant that more numbers would be needed. The alphanumeric system was introduced, which featured two letters and five numbers. Over time, these numbers would continue to expand and eventually evolve into the ten digits that we know today.
The ten digits that make up your cell phone number are more than just a way to contact you. They’re a piece of personal information that functions in a similar way to your Social Security Number. Think of how often you need to provide a phone number in the modern era: It’s way more often than your SSN.
For that reason, it’s wise to have access to two phone numbers. One number can be used privately with family and friends that you know, love, and trust. The other number would be used publicly when dealing with new acquaintances and businesses that you’d rather not provide with your personal information.
These are three ways that you get a second number to use publicly while keeping your current number to use privately:
You’ve probably at least heard of a burner phone before if you haven’t owned one yourself. The burner phone concept has been around for a long time, and it’s fairly simple. You buy a prepaid phone that you use as your second phone for a little while. Once you no longer need it or run out of minutes, you “burn” it by throwing the old number and phone away.
Obviously, the highly wasteful nature of using a burner phone in that way isn’t exactly as popular as it was in the early 00s. Instead, you can use the Burner app and not have to worry about throwing away a perfectly good phone. The Burner app functions in pretty much the same way. The key difference is that you use your current cell phone and “burn” the second number when you’re done.
The first thing that you’ll have to do after downloading the app is to select a specific area code. Once you do, you’ll be given a list of ten randomly generated phone numbers to choose from. You pick the one that you want, and it will be assigned to your Burner account. You’ll have that number until you decide to “burn” it for a new one or close your account. It’s just that easy.
You’ll enjoy all of the features of a regular phone number, such as making calls, sending texts, caller ID, blocking numbers, and all the rest. You can even create auto-reply texts and create “work hours” if you’re using it for business purposes. It’s exactly the same as having two phones, except you’ll only be using one.
Burner works with iPhone and Android. So, whether you’re Team Apple or Android Phone, you can benefit from scam protection, privacy, and more. Activation is simple, and you can test it out with a free seven-day trial.
Google just might be the king of the internet as it offers a large variety of programs that make life easier. It’s practically guaranteed that you have at least a few Google programs installed on your smartphone and other devices. Google accounts can provide you with email, calendars, etc., but can also be used for SMS verification and international calls (rates differ).
One of the more popular programs is known as Google Voice. Opting into this program is how you can get a second phone number for free. Well, sort of.
The main purpose of Google Voice is to link multiple phones together. It’s mostly designed for people that have multiple phone lines, such as a cell phone, home phone, and office phone.
Using Google Voice allows you to create a single number that acts as an umbrella covering all of your other phones. So when someone calls your Google Voice number, the call will instantly be routed to each of your other phones.
The entire process is made possible thanks to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology. The easiest way to explain VOIP is that it uses broadband internet connections to field calls as opposed to traditional wires or cables.
Information transmitted via VOIP can easily be spread across multiple devices as long as your device has a stable internet connection. Google Voice also works over Wi-Fi but uses roughly 0.2 MB per minute. It works for iPhone and Android.
The best thing about Google Voice is that it’s free to use as long as you're living in the US. It does leave a few things to be desired other than that. This is especially true if your goal is to use your second phone number for business purposes.
The area code that you choose for your number can be limited, text messaging isn’t always supported, and it commonly results in missed calls. Each of these issues can be frustrating for personal use but devastating for a business.
The creators of Textfree are true to their word as this option is another option that will provide you with a free second phone number. All text messages and inbound calls involving Textfree are free of charge. While that’s definitely quite a solid offer, there’s a little bit more that you should know about this “free phone number” before you download the app.
Is it Really Free?
The first thing to note is that Textfree is free largely because of ad support. You’ll be able to use some services for free, but you’ll be bombarded with ads the entire time.
The only way to remove these ads is to pay a $2.99 fee each month. You can also be charged a similar fee to unlock additional features. For example, adding the voicemail-to-text feature will cost you another $2.99 each month.
Another major issue with Textfee revolved around outgoing calls made to people that don’t use Textfree. You’ll only have 60 minutes of talk time with these individuals before you have to start paying.
The prices increase along with the minutes; 100 minutes will cost you $1.99, 400 minutes will cost you $4.99, and so on. Depending on how much you plan on talking with your phone, these minutes can add up fast.
The last thing worth mentioning is you’ll need to use your Textfree number at least once every 30 days. If you don’t, then it will be reclaimed and recycled for another user. You could always get another one for free, but what good is a phone number if none of your contacts know it?
Textfree does allow you to pay $4.99 each month to keep your old phone number. However, that price doesn't get you any extra voice minutes, unlock any new features, or remove ads. It only allows you to keep your number each month.
Number Changes Made Easy
In the old days of only landlines, someone could call the operator, ask to speak with you by name and be immediately transferred. Decades after this system was retired, every citizen would be given a free phone directory book that listed the numbers of their neighbors.
In the decades since these systems were the standard, society has understood their flaws. The truth is a phone number is sensitive personal information that should stay private.
Still, there are lots of times in life when you’re going to need to give out a phone number. It’s during these times that you’ll wish you had a second phone number. The list above is three of the most popular options for getting one, but it should be clear that Burner is the best of them.
You can get a second phone number in a few minutes that will function in all the same ways as your current one. The difference is that you can drop your Burner number anytime that you like.
Download the Burner app to start your free seven-day trial today. You can experience all of the benefits of a second phone number for yourself. Once you do, you’ll realize just how vulnerable it is to give out your personal phone number to strangers.