I need a new phone number for a few months, to forward to my cell phone. Apparently AT&T has an institutional blind spot around forwarding, though. I called AT&T Wireless, and had to explain myself several times (over 25 minutes). She was unable to help, so transferred me to her manager, who could not help either. The Wireless manager forwarded me to AT&T Long Distance (800 222-0300).

After much repetitive explanation, LD said they were unable to help me because I wasn't asking about a long distance number. LD forwarded me to AT&T Local Service (800 288-2747).

The Local sales rep said she(?) was unable to help, and that I needed to speak with AT&T Wireless (since, after all, I want to forward to an AT&T iPhone). I explained that I did not want to speak to Wireless, as they had already explained they can only forward my cell phone to a different number, rather than forwarding a new number to my cellphone. She asked if I had been helped to my satisfaction (part of the script), and I explained I had not been helped yet, and didn't even know who she was about to pass me along to. She apologized, assured me the next group would be able to help, ignored me as I asked (twice) who she was transferring me to, and transferred me back to Wireless. Obviously she wanted to be rid of me, and no longer cared if I was helped.

The next Wireless rep understood better, at least. She checked with 4 managers, and confirmed the Wireless group does not offer forwarding into cellphones. When asked, she passed me on to Wireless Business Services (800 999-5445) -- unfortunately it was Wireless Business Services, and they were confused by my number not being tied to a business account.

Eventually the BWS rep offered me a new wireless contract for $10/month, with a $175 early termination fee any time between 30 days and 2 years. This would get me a new number, and could be forwarded to my existing iPhone. $240 seems like a lot for something I only expect to need for a few months. Interestingly, the residential Wireless reps had mentioned this, but seemed rather confused about it -- among other things, they said the termination fee only applied within the first 6 months. $60 for 1-6 months seems pretty good in comparisoin!

Not an impressive performance, considering I spent over an hour on the phone with Customer Service.

Now I'm looking at the various $10/month web-based forwarding / phone management services. Recommendations welcome (during November)!