Ted Stevens Wants To Switch Between Phones "As I Ride My Motorcycle"

Carey has a hot new Ted Stevens bon mot, gleaned from his liveblogging of the Senate Commerce Committee Hearing On Number Portability, coming from the same crazy-old-man-stratosphere as his infamous “series of tubes” remark.

Listen to the clip

Transcript inside…

    10:56: OMG, Stevens is back and better than ever!
    10:57: Stevens: “Let me be just the Devil’s Advocate here. Could I just decide I want to keep my wireline and I want to add wireless to it? Can I have two providers on the same number?”
    Awkward pause: “Um, I don’t think that technology exists right now.”
    Stevens: “If I had an IP phone, by definition, I’d have to leave the wire… wireline phone to use it?”
    Answer: “I think that is the case with the technology today.”
    Stevens: “Is it coming? Why shouldn’t I be able to say, just by a little switch on my phone at home that’s wired, I’m going off on the wireless now, I want to use this as I ride my motorcycle.”
    Stevens: “I’m bad. Pardon me.”

We think Ted is talking about being able to use voip, landline, and wireless, all with the same number, and, presumably, even different providers, which would actually be pretty cool. Almost as cool as riding a fatback hog down the information supertubeway.

PREVIOUSLY: Liveblogging The Senate Commerce Committee Hearing On Number Portability


Edit Your Comment

  1. missdona says:

    I need to queue up outside Wireline for the release of the Wireline Phone.

    I neeed it!

  2. alpha says:

    it’s called call forwarding.
    but instead of “flipping a switch” you dial a little sequence of numbers.

  3. B says:

    I’m all for personal freedom, but isn’t using a cell phone while riding a motorcycle a profoundly bad idea? No wait, Ted Stevens should be doing that all the time.

  4. csandreas says:

    Hello Grand Central.

  5. Chicago7 says:

    BY B AT 11:35 AM

    I’m all for personal freedom, but isn’t using a cell phone while riding a motorcycle a profoundly bad idea? No wait, Ted Stevens should be doing that all the time.

    If possible, while shaving!

  6. queen_elvis says:

    I strongly advocate that Ted Stevens talk on the phone while riding a motorcycle. In thick ice. While drunk.

  7. Trai_Dep says:

    I have a mental image of a senile, cranky, ill-informed old codger holding a Princess phone in one hand, cranking his saddle-bagged CHIPS style cycle, phone cord dangling behind until… Crack That Whip!

    Alaskans are only second to Texans for foisting incompetents upon our country to set national policy over things that shape our lives in painfully fundamental ways. Can the other 48 of us vote to expel them? Please?!

  8. obbie says:

    I want to have the ability to switch between phones… on the same line… that way during the week I have my pocket pc, and then during the weekend I can use a slimmer, more portable phone.
    I know you can just forward your calls, but that requires having another dedicated phone number. I want to be able to essentially switch ESNs with my carrier on the fly. Since I have Verizon, I can not see that happening any time soon.

  9. @obbie: The problem I see with call forwarding is the cell companies charge you for the time your call is forwarded. At least the one I used did this. They may of stopped this practice.

  10. Saydur says:

    Even if Ted Stevens is for the throttling of America’s internet services (Which are already embarrassing in the face of international services), and he wants bridges built to nowhere, he has a good idea once in a while.

    Same number, different phones. Sadly, it’ll only come either when Congress regulates it or the people finally get restless enough to demand it so much that one company gives in. One gives in, the rest usually follow.

  11. Serolf Divad says:

    So every time you daughter’s boyfriend calls your house, it rings on your cellphone at work and your wife’s cellphone as well? Not good.

  12. MercuryPDX says:

    I got an “Amazing DSL offer from Qwest!” which turned out to be bogus, so while I had them on the phone we reviewed my account to see if I can give them less money every month. One of the things they mentioned was dumping my current cell provider and getting a Qwest Wireless phone. The CSR told me they can even set it to have the same number as my landline and even pick the order in which they rang (call the landline first and after 4 rings switch to the cell). I think they called it ‘call following’, but I’m not sure.

  13. Moosehawk says:

    Why even have a landline anymore? Everybody has a cell phone and there isn’t really any advantages of a landline besides reliability and pretending you aren’t home if it’s somebody you don’t want to talk to.

  14. Kryndis says:

    @csandreas: Yeah, I thought the same thing. If they do this Google’s acquisition isn’t going to look too smart.

  15. yg17 says:

    Its possible with something like GrandCentral. Or you could give everyone your cell number, and then set your cell to forward to your home number in case your cell is off, out of service, or you don’t answer it in time.

  16. psm321 says:

    @obbie: Just get a GSM provider (AT&T or T-mobile) and you can just swap out the SIM card. Though you’d have to get new phones for that…

  17. B says:

    @Moosehawk: Old people and people who live in places that don’t have good cell phone reception (like Alaska, for example).

  18. DanGross says:

    Doesn’t Mr. Stevens realize that it is those darn VOIPers that are clogging up the tubes?

    Anybody get the impression that he’s the only person in existence with a rotary cell phone?

    Was it Sprint or MCI that had the “One” system way back when, where you have one number and it fell through (after a set number of rings) a series of phone numbers until you answered…?

  19. endless says:


    i am not overly clear on it, but it sounds like that would be the same?

  20. jitrobug says:

    Actually, it sounds like what would satisfy Ted is if he could connect devices from anyone to his cell phone connection, instead of having to use the one phone associated with the number.

    Like we can do with a land line.

    Who would have thought he’d be on the right side of anything.

  21. Dewb says:

    This isn’t at all ridiculous. T-Mobile sells a couple of cell phones that, with their “Hotspot @ Home” service, will switch to VoIP-over-Wifi when you’re at home or near a Starbucks.

  22. “No, Senator, we could not do that. It would lead to a mixed up series of tubes.”

  23. DeeJayQueue says:

    I can hear someone ichatting in the background of the clip… drove me nuts thinking it was mine, when the program wasn’t even open!

  24. TechnoDestructo says:


    It’s Bittorrent clogging the tubes.

    Also, it sounds to me like Mr. Stevens may finally be starting to understand all these new fangled teleophones. Starting to, not finishing to.

    BTW, I voted for him. As bad as Stevens is, I wouldn’t have wanted Alaska to lose its whole delegation at once, and I sure the hell wasn’t going to vote for the other two. Stevens may be an idiot, but Young and Murkowski were scum. And Murkowski proved it when they elected him governor.

  25. PhilK says:

    @obbie: Helio allows you to do that. You just tell it which phone to use and it switches over like clockwork.

  26. frogpelt says:

    “Hello Grand Central.”

    Good call!!!

  27. rosy501 says:

    “Wireline!” omgwtfbrblmao!!!11! Just when I thought it couldn’t get better than tubes of teh internets.

    Like R. Kelly, Stevens is either a genius or total moron. My money’s on the latter.

  28. runcibleshaw says:

    I don’t think Ted Stevens is that crazy. I mean, he’s crazy, but I’m with him on this one. Cox Communications here in San Diego has something called Pivot which allows you to take your cell phone calls at home without using your plan minutes. If there were something that let me have the same number on VOIP, Home and Cell lines with a little switch that would let me choose which phone I wanted the calls to go to I would be all over it.

  29. scg says:

    Some observations:

    #1 – In theory you can already do what the good tube-surfer has suggested. Call transfer (different from call forwarding) allows you to transfer a call off of one line to another line. It’s not typically something you would order on residential wireline service, but we put it on business service occasionally. To transfer a call, you flash the switchhook and then dial the transfer code and the number to receive the transfer. Once the other person answers, you hang up and the call continues on the other line.

    #2 – Wireline phone is not incorrect. Although it’s not commonly used, that is a proper way to describe a wired telephone. Curiously enough, Cisco (big networking vendor — you might have heard of them) has a whole class of equipment designed for … “wireline carriers.”

    #3 – MercuryPDX – They do typically call it “call following.” In technical terms, they set up a no answer transfer to another number to trigger after a certain number of rings. (This is the exact same way that Qwest Voice Messaging works except the ring/no answer goes to the voice mail switch input instead of your cell phone.)

    #4 – Moosehawk – Two reasons for a landline: (1) They’re called children. I’m not getting each of my four children a cell phone. At this time, I’m firmly opposed to six year olds carrying them. (2) There is that whole reliability factor.

    Rosy, I’ll take the bet. You owe me ten bucks.

  30. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Moosehawk: Some of us live out in the boonies where the cell coverage sucks rocks and the cable company refuses to put cable down the road because there aren’t enough houses (need the DSL).

  31. blimblim says:

    These are exactly the kind of comments I expect to see from the backward cellular world of the US. Here in Europe exactly these kind of FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergence) technologies are beginning to appear (UMA, MVoIP, DMH, VCC, 3G femtocells). This is not fantasy, perhaps you lot will see some of this stuff in 10 years or so?

  32. shiwsup says:

    Some of the latest cell phones, including the upcoming Blackberry Curve 2 for T-mobile, have Wi-Fi capability. This is basically what he’s talking about. It uses a Wi-Fi network (rather than your minutes) when it is available (say, at home), then switches to cell tower when you need it. The call (currently) gets billed to wherever you were when you started the call. So if you start the call at home (on your home network) and then leave, the call is still free.

  33. methane says:

    two things. First, why have two people mentioned ‘wireline’ in a mocking tone? Ask any Sprint engineer or employee and they will tell you that they have two businesses, wireline and wireless.
    Second, how do his questions make him the “Devil’s Advocate” more than a “crotchety old man who doesn’t understand technology and refuses to make the attempt?”

  34. lilyHaze says:

    To this day I can’t manage to stop laughing when I think of his “tubes” comment. Anyone watch the “Daily Show” coverage? Hilarious!

    Seriously, this wi-fi thing on the cellphones sounds pretty cool.