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Alternate phone number: What it is and how to get one

Alternate phone number

In today’s remote-first work culture, boundaries between personal and professional life can easily blur. For example, guess how many employees use their personal phones for business communications? According to a global survey from Gartner, 55% of respondents use personally owned smartphone or laptop devices for their work at least some of the time. It may not seem like a big deal, but it becomes a major issue if your team is using their cell phone numbers to interact with your company’s contacts. 

If you’re not sure why you might get an alternate phone number, the benefits of having one, or how you’d go about setting up a second phone number for iPhone or Android online, keep reading. We’ll also be answering some common questions we get about OpenPhone. 

What is an alternate phone number?

An alternate number is a secondary phone number that businesses or individuals can use to distinguish between personal and professional calls. These numbers are not tied to a SIM card from a telecom carrier. Instead, they can be purchased from a virtual phone number provider like OpenPhone.

Rather than getting a second phone line or landline, an alternate phone number allows you to have two numbers on one phone. That way, you can keep using your current mobile phone while clearly separating your work and personal calls.

Why OpenPhone is the best option for getting an alternate phone number

get an alternate phone number with OpenPhone

Here are a few key reasons thousands of professionals have voted OpenPhone, the #1 business phone solution on G2 and use OpenPhone to have a secondary phone number.

Easily see incoming work calls

Incoming call notifications for alternate phone number from iPhone

While other business phone systems make it difficult to tell whether incoming calls are for work, OpenPhone notifications for incoming calls are easy to spot. Want to have multiple phone numbers for different businesses or locations? You can. Just add an emoji and you’ll be able to see which specific number a caller is dialing so you can pick up and provide a proper greeting. 

Keep track of your team’s communication

Shared numbers in OpenPhone help teams stay aligned and collaborate on responses using mentions and threads. You can share your new phone number with teammates and split responsibility for incoming calls and messages. 

Viewing status that shows a teammate is texting a contact

If a teammate is actively typing a response to someone, you can see that so no one is duplicating work. Plus, you can be on separate calls simultaneously without worrying about a busy line.

Work from anywhere

Flexible work is here to stay, so your new number should work wherever you are. With OpenPhone, you can easily add a business line to your cell phone. Then use your new number on your computer or mobile device from anywhere — all you need is a stable internet connection. Instead of worrying about altering your traditional phone plan and paying far more, you can call and text worry-free with WiFi.

Call and text international numbers without a hefty bill

It’s no secret that international calls from traditional providers can add up. OpenPhone lets you call and text anyone in the US or Canada for free from anywhere.

For international calls, you pay a fraction of the cost of traditional providers. Check out our international rates.

Store contacts with ease

OpenPhone contact profiles

With OpenPhone, all your business contacts are work dedicated address book — away from your personal contacts — making it easy to track business communication. You even can add custom proprieties and notes to your contacts to stay on top of crucial information. 

How to get an alternate phone number with OpenPhone

You can get an alternate phone number with OpenPhone in just four simple steps.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Start the sign-up process.
  2. Continue with your Google account or enter your email address.
  3. Verify your email address and existing mobile phone number
  4. Select a local US, Canadian, or North American toll-free number to use, with your choice of area code

Then easily set up a phone menu, voicemail greeting, and other custom phone settings to deliver a professional presence.

Key benefits of getting an alternate phone number

You might be thinking – do I really need an alternate phone number? We’re admittedly a wee-bit bit biased, but here are a few key advantages to having an alternate mobile number for your work communications.

Set clear boundaries

Do you often get work texts or phone calls outside of business hours? Establishing boundaries between work and personal life can help you boost productivity and avoid burnout.

Many of the best alternate phone number apps allow you to set up business hours and auto-replies to create clear expectations around when you’re available. You can also mute any work-related notifications any time you’re not on the clock. 🕒

Keep your personal number private

If you’re a business owner, it can be helpful to have a phone number listed on your marketing materials and online channels so prospective clients and customers can quickly reach you. But if you’re concerned about privacy, you likely don’t want your personal number to be so accessible. 

Having a designated business number allows you to keep your personal phone number secure while still providing potential customers with a simple and easy way to reach you.

Quickly answer calls and messages with the proper context

You probably answer the phone differently if your friend calls you than when a client or co-worker does, right? If you only use one number, it can be hard to know whether an incoming call is personal or work-related.

Having a designated work number will give you peace of mind knowing you won’t accidentally answer a client call with a too-casual greeting or be overly formal with a friend or family member.

Using the right provider, you can easily tell based on the incoming call notification when a caller dials your work number. Not all providers offer this though.  

Let’s look at some of the most popular providers and options for getting an alternate phone number. 

Other methods of getting an alternate phone number

If you’re interested in getting an alternate phone number, but still want to explore your options, there are a couple of different ways you can go about this. Here are some of the other common ways you can get an alternate phone number. 

Traditional carriers

Your current carrier can give you an alternate phone number by using another SIM, but there are a few things to consider. Though a traditional carrier allows you to use your alternate phone number without an internet connection, you will need either a second device or a dual SIM card. You can find providers who can offer a bundle deal with your existing phone, TV, or internet package. 

However, these plans are still a lot more expensive than second phone number app solutions and only give you access to basic features like voice calling, call forwarding, caller ID, and voicemail.


alternate phone number options: Sideline's website

Sideline provides a second number and voicemail to users through its mobile app, available for iPhone’s iOS and Android. It offers unlimited calling, SMS texting, and group messaging within the US, as well as standard business phone systems options such as group messaging and auto-reply. 

Sideline users can try the app for free for seven days. After that, customers can upgrade to Sideline Standard for $9.99 a month or Sideline Pro for $14.99 a month.

The Pro plan includes additional features like text reminders, advanced number ID, separate contacts, notes, and more. 

Sideline’s Standard plan is relatively affordable but has very limited functionality, so most users would likely need to upgrade to Pro to get all the features they need. 

Google Voice

alternate phone number options: Google Voice's mobile app

Google Voice is a VoIP service (Voice over Internet Protocol), meaning it uses your internet connection for calls and messages. It offers a free personal plan but the service is limited to people with US phone numbers. Calls, text messages, and voicemail messages also live in separate sections in their app, making it tricky to catch up on conversations. 

Google Voice might work for solopreneurs on a tight budget. But if you work with a team, this app has many limitations. For instance, you can’t easily message your teammates. You have to switch to another app like Google Chat for that. 

The Google Voice app does have paid plan options under Google Voice for Google Workspace, with additional features like Voice AI and voicemail transcription, but these features can be unreliable. All calls, text messages, and voicemail messages also are in separate folders using Google Voice, making following up with others more time consuming.  

Google Voice pricing

The Google Voice Starter plan is $10 per user per month and can have up to 10 users. If you have more than 10 team members on Google Voice, you will need to upgrade to their Standard ($20 per user per month) or Premier plan ($30 per user month).  


Line2 mobile app for an alternate phone number

Line2, another VoIP second-line phone system, is a no-frills service that covers the basics. The cloud-based system is relatively easy to use and offers desktop calling and unlimited calls in Canada and the US. However, it mostly replicates the features of a standard cellphone (instead of taking advantage of the unique functionality that a VoIP service can offer). 

Additionally, according to user reviews, the app can be a bit buggy.

Line2 offers two different plans:

Line2 pricing


  • $15.99 per user per month on a month-to-month plan
  • includes a local or toll-free number, unlimited calls and texts, and basic call forwarding


  • $13.75 per user per month

Get started with a second phone number

Alternate phone number options: OpenPhone mobile and desktop apps

If the lines between your work and personal life are getting too blurry for comfort, an alternate phone number could be the solution you’ve been searching for. The good news? Getting one through OpenPhone couldn’t be easier. Start your free trial today to experience the difference first-hand.

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