Wireless Number Portability
Your wireless and landline number can follow you from landline to
wireless or the reverse, or from one cellular carrier to another. These
are tips to make the transition smoother for you. Our reports are from The Wireless Industry, and The FCC.
Not all numbers are portable; it primarily depends on geography and
where the number was originally connected. Your wireless representative
can automatically tell you whether a phone number is portable according
to Federal Communications Commission guidelines.
Porting a phone number involves two carriers. Although your wireless
carrier is only able to control half of the porting process, they will
work with the other carriers to port numbers within 24-hours. As
carriers get used to this new, complex national process, we expect to
complete a majority of wireless-to-wireless single "port" requests
within three hours. Wireline-to-wireless ports, may take up to four
days, or possibly longer, based on complexity of the port and the
Many customers will need a new wireless phone, since different wireless
companies use different technologies.
"Live" Number is Required:
Don't cancel service before switching. A number must be active to
switch; in other words, customers wanting to switch carriers must keep
their service active with their old provider until the port is complete.
A Recent Bill Will Help:
Customers should have their most recent bill from their old carrier
available, and know any account- related passwords, to speed the
Customers will need to carry their old and new phones until the port is
complete, the old phone for receiving calls, the new phone for making
calls. In an emergency, we recommend that you place calls to 911 from
your old handset as Emergency Services will not be able to call you
back on your new handset until the port is complete. Also, although
both old and new carriers will bill for calls, customers will not be
billed twice for the same phone call.
Prepared To Provide a "Can Be Reached At" Number:
Customers should be prepared to provide a phone number where they can
be reached during the porting process to expedite the resolution of any
Some customers "porting" their number will be given a phone number to
call for status updates and may receive a TEXT message notifying them
when the process is complete.
Saved voice mail messages will not transfer to the customer's new
phone. Some retail stores are able to transfer contact phone numbers
from a customer's old phone to their new phone.
Terms Still Apply:
Portability does not relieve any customer of contract obligations.
from the FCC:
Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) “local number portability”
(LNP) rules, so long as you remain in the same geographic area, you can
switch telephone service providers, including interconnected Voice over
Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and keep your existing phone
number. If you are moving from one geographic area to another, however,
you may not be able to take your number with you. Therefore,
subscribers remaining in the same geographic area can now switch from a
wireless, wireline, or VoIP provider to any other wireless, wireline,
or VoIP provider and still keep their existing phone numbers.
Initiating the Process to Change Wireless Companies:
not terminate your service with your existing company before initiating
service with the prospective new company.
the new company, which will start the process of porting your number by
contacting your current company. Be prepared to provide the new company
with your 10-digit phone number, customer account number, five-digit
zip code, and passcode, if applicable.
aware that when terminating service with a wireless company, you may be
obligated to pay any early termination fees under your existing
contract. Also, when terminating service with any company, you are
usually required to pay any outstanding balance owed. Review your bill
or contract to determine what fees or charges apply. Once you request
service from the new company, however, your old company may not refuse
to port your number, even if you owe money for an outstanding balance
or termination fee.
may request service from a new company at any time.
Fees and Charges:
may assess fees to recover the costs that they incur in providing
number portability. Fees may vary between companies, and some companies
may not charge any fees.
may not refuse to port a number because a consumer has not paid for
considering a switch, consumers should ask the new company whether it
charges any number portability fees and whether those fees can be
The Porting Period:
changed its number porting rules to shorten the porting period for
“simple” ports from the current four days to one business day. The new
deadline applies to all simple ports, including “intermodal” ports such
as wireline to wireless, wireless to wireline, wireline or wireless to
VoIP, or any other combination. Simple ports generally do not involve
more than one line or more complex adjustments to telephone switching
equipment. Wireline, wireless, and interconnected Voice over Internet
Protocol (VoIP) providers are required to meet this new, simple port
deadline, which will take effect in late summer 2010 for most carriers.
Small, rural carriers have a longer period, until the beginning of
2011, to meet the new porting deadline.
you port from
a wireline phone to a wireless phone, there may be a period of “mixed
service” – when you essentially have two telephones with the same
number. Ask your new wireless company whether you will be able to
continue using your current wireline number during the one day transfer
process. Also, if you port from a wireline phone to a wireless phone,
your wireline long distance company will not move with you. Your long
distance service will generally be provided by your new wireless
company, but you should verify this with the new wireless company
before changing service providers.
911 operators automatically receive the phone number or location of a
wireless call, but in many areas, that is not the case. Technology that
will provide that information – Enhanced 911 or “E911” – is currently
being implemented, but is not yet available for some wireless phones
and in some parts of the country.
during the one day porting process from the old company to the new
company, there may be a period of “mixed service” - when you may have
two telephones with the same number. During this time period, your E911
service may be affected. The call should go through, but the 911
operator may not be able to call you back if the call gets
disconnected. For this reason, before porting either a wireless or a
wireline number, ask the new company if the one day porting process
will affect a 911 call.
Handsets and Special Services:
instances, wireless handsets of different wireless telephone companies
are incompatible. If you switch wireless companies, you may need to
purchase a new handset, even if you retain the same phone number. If
you have concerns about purchasing a new handset, ask your new wireless
company whether or not your current handset will work with that
that in a few areas, as consumers with ported numbers roam outside
their normal wireless service areas, they may only be able to send and
receive calls. Other services, such as caller ID, may not function