How to Switch Phone Carriers and Keep Your Number

Have you ever thought of switching your phone to other carriers? You may have thought of it, but you worry that you’ll lose your existing phone number. Or you don’t know how to switch phone carriers and keep your number at the same time. Guess what, there IS a way! There’s a federal regulation called Wireless Local Number Portability (WLNP) that protects your right to keep your number when you switch phone carriers. So, you can take your number with you when you switch carriers.

Your existing carrier can’t stop you from keeping your number when you want to switch to other providers. However, there’s no obligation that the new provider has to accept it. But mostly that’s not a problem, since providers are happy to welcome a new customer. But, you need to check out their regulation on porting a number before you decide. In this article, we’ll dig deeper into this matter and everything else you need to know about it.

Why Switching Phone Carriers?

You’re probably aware of how to switch phone carriers and keep your number as most customers do. Nowadays, switching carriers becomes a popular thing. There are a few reasons why people want to switch phone carriers. Perhaps it’s because your existing service is too expensive. While some may feel their current phone carrier no longer gives the same service or value. Mostly, they switch due to poor coverage or other service issues, such as bad call quality or slow mobile data speeds.

how to switch phone carriers and keep your number

Which Numbers You Can Switch?

Not only you can port your mobile phone number, but you can also port your local number (landline/fixed line) or fax number. Porting your mobile number relates to switching to a different service provider or mobile phone plan.

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You can also port prepaid account numbers. But, your existing phone number must be active at the time you wish to transfer the service. If you have a family/shared plan, you need to separate your service first with the current provider before you can request a port. And if you are under a contract, you may have to pay an early termination fee. You can still port your number, even if you are in debt to the existing provider. However, you still need to pay what you owe.

Porting Your Number

When you want to switch to other providers, you can port your current phone number. It’s the process of switching your existing phone number and transferring it to another provider. Once you get a new service, you can close your old account. Since each provider has their own rules, you can ask their representative on exactly how to switch phone carriers and keep your number. If you want to check your eligibility, you can use an online phone number checking tool, usually available on their website. This way you can be certain that your potential new carrier can transfer your phone number.

What You Need to Know Before Porting Your Number

Porting your phone number is easy. However, your phone number can also be hacked if they have your account information. We recommend protecting your phone number by setting up a secure PIN on your account. Please also take note that you can only port your phone number when you activate a new line with a provider, not the existing line.

Although the Wireless Local Number Portability protects your rights to keep your number while switching into other carriers, porting is not always possible. You may not be able to keep your existing phone number if you move to a different area. Some rural fixed-line providers may receive a waiver for the porting requirement from the states’ authorities.

Cell phone providers may charge you a fee for porting a number. However, you can check with your new carriers, whether any fees can be negotiated or waived. And you don’t need to come to the store for the process. You can ask porting to be done online or over the phone.

Steps on Porting Your Number

Before getting a new carrier and transfer your phone service, you can check the information below on how to switch phone carriers and keep your number.

  • Analyze’ Your Existing Plan

Take time to analyze your phone plan or your billing statement to know your phone usage. If you have an unlimited plan, but only using half or less of the limit, you may want to choose a cheaper plan or the phone plan you really need.

  • Review Your Current Contract

Before switching number, read and check your existing phone plan contract. Are there any outstanding balances or early termination fees you need to pay? If you still have unused days, are they going to refund it? And if you have a monthly phone plan, the provider generally won’t prorate your final bill.

  • Research for the Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals

Nowadays, phone providers offer very competitive prices and varied plans. They also have frequent adjustments to their phone plans. Take all the information about the best cell phone plans and deals from several carriers. Then you can take the opportunity to choose for a less expensive plan or plan you only need. You can also check out more information on prepaid plans.

Review Porting Policy

Once you’ve found a new cell phone plan from other carriers, you’d better check and review the switching policy. Most providers have this information on their FAQ section on the website. Or you can reach their customer service for help.

When you call 911, the operators may not be able to call you back if the phone disconnected during the transition. You can also ask your new provider if your 911 service will be affected during the porting process.

  • Check Phone Compatibility

You may be wondering whether you need to buy a new phone or bringing your own device can be an option. You can check through providers’ websites by entering your device’s IMEI or MEID to check your phone compatibility. Make sure your phone is unlocked if you want to keep it when you switch providers. And if it’s locked, ask your existing provider how to unlock it.

Back-Up Your Contacts

When switching carriers and your existing cell phone is not compatible with your new carrier, it only transfers your service from one provider to the next. Thus, all your personal information, including contacts, voicemail, text messages, and photos will require a data transfer between your old and new devices. We recommend you to back up your contacts and data before switching.

  • Ask For a PAC Code

To transfer the existing phone number to a new carrier, you need to request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC). Ask your current provider for PAC by calling or texting them. If you call, you’ll get a PAC immediately over the phone and within two hours when you ask the code by text.

Be ready to answer the relevant information on your account while you’re asking for a PAC. The provider will want to verify your identity to prevent someone from stealing your number. PAC codes normally consist of nine digits and valid for 30 days. If you haven’t had the chance to use the code, you’ll need to request a new PAC. Once you get it, let your new provider know the code for the porting process.

  • Get Your New Plan or Phone

Now that you’ve found a new plan and your phone is compatible, it’s time to get your new phone plan. To process your porting, contact the new provider or visit their stores and give all your account information. These include your name, address, Social Security Number, PIN or password, a PAC code, and the account number on the billing statement. Your new provider will contact your old provider to schedule the switch and begin the porting process.

Please be sure to keep your existing plan active before switching service to a new provider. We recommend porting your number at least five days before your existing phone plan ends. Your phone number can’t be to port if you’ve already canceled your current plan. And you can port your mobile number if you’re buying a new mobile online.

  • After Porting

Generally, switching service among wireless to wireless service providers only needs a few hours or a maximum of 24 hours. Once the porting process is done, and your new plan is active, your new provider will inform you. You can check the new service by put on the SIM in your handset and make a call or ask someone to call you. And your old plan will automatically close in most cases. However, you can call them to confirm the cancellation.

Landline to Cell Phone Porting

If porting from landline to wireless service, the process may take a few days. And there may be a period when you have two telephones with the same number. Check with your new cell phone provider whether you’ll be able to use your existing fixed line number during the process. You may also want to verify with your new provider, whether you can also port your long-distance service or not.

Porting Your Phone Number with Major Carriers

If you want to know how to switch phone carriers and keep your number with the major cell phone companies, here is the information you can check below:

  • Switch and Port Number with AT&T

If you want to switch your phone to one of the best nation’s best networks, AT&T allows a new customer to bring the cell phone you love. You’ll get a new SIM card once the porting finish. Transfer your existing phone number is easy. It starts by giving your social security number or name on your current account, your current phone number, and PIN or password if applicable. The porting process is usually complete within 1-3 hours. Please note that AT&T wireless will only transfer phone numbers associated with a wireless device.

  • Port Number with Verizon

If you’re not only looking for better network and plans but also keeping your phone number, you can choose Verizon. They don’t charge any fees for porting your phone number. Plus, they have the best phone plans and other Verizon deals for new customers. You can check your number eligibility on their website.

To process porting your number, you’re required to provide your name, phone, and account number. The process usually takes 4 to 24 hours (mobile numbers) or 2-10 days for fixed lines. Verizon strongly suggests you not to cancel service with your existing carrier before switching to Verizon. And they also encourage you to have an alternate phone number for emergencies during the porting, in case the process takes longer than estimated.

  • Port Numbers with T-Mobile

T-Mobile offers easy porting for both mobile and landlines numbers. You can get special deals and best plans without any transfer fees when you’re switching from your existing provider. To start the porting process, T-Mobile will need your account number, billing address, and PIN or password. You can call their customer service, come to the stores, even online to begin the transfer. Keep your old cell phone and account active until your new T-Mobile account is fully activated. The T-Mobile porting number usually takes between less than 2 days or up to 10 days for a single line, wireless, or fixed-line. But, most-multi line requests may take up to 10 days.

  • Sprint Number Porting

When switching your old number to Sprint, generally the porting process can be completed within a day, if you give all the information correctly. To switch your number to Sprint, your existing number must be from an area where Sprint has coverage. You need to provide your phone number, account number, the password, name and billing address, and the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.


Some people want to keep their existing phone number when changing cell phone carriers or moving to a new location. Or they simply want to find the less expensive phone plans. Keeping your phone number when switching carriers means you don’t have to notify everyone and tell them you’ve got a new phone number. You can avoid this by porting your existing phone number.

Most providers allow you to bring your existing number by porting your number. Not only cell phone number, but you can also port your landline (fixed line) and fax number. The process is not as complicated as it seems and is usually done within a day for a wireless phone. For multiple wireless lines and landline/fax numbers into a cell phone, the process takes longer.

To start porting your number, the new providers need your old account information, such as your phone number, name and account number, billing address, Social Security Number, and PIN or password. Once you inform the new provider about these, they’ll contact your old carriers to process the porting. Make sure your number is active until the new carriers confirm the port has been completed. Once it’s complete, you can close your old account. Hopefully, this information about how to switch phone carriers and keep your number helps you!

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