Number Portability Information Center

Wireless number portability has been available for several years. The early wrinkles have been ironed out, and most wireless purchases involving number portability now go very smoothly.

Number portability has made it much easier for cell phone subscribers to change carriers, and has forced the carriers to compete more fiercely on customer service and network quality. As a result, wireless service is becoming more like a commodity, and this has manifested itself in rate plans that are not all that different from carrier to carrier. It has also led to a consolidation among cell phone providers (only four national carriers remain) and pricing and service changes that encourage subscribers to stay with their carrier (e.g., two-year contracts and free mobile-to-mobile pricing).

Number Portability: What you Need to Know

Being informed of how the number portability rules work will help things go more smoothly for you when you are ready to transfer your number. Here are some important rules to keep in mind:
  • Most Important: Sign up with your new carrier before you cancel your old service. If you cancel your existing service first, you may not be able to transfer the number. Once the process is complete, service to your old phone should be automatically disconnected.
  • You can port your number to another carrier even if you are under contract. However, you must still honor the terms of your contract, which in this case probably means a contract termination penalty.
  • You can port your number even if you still owe your current carrier money. However, this does not release you from that obligation.
  • While your number is portable, your phone usually isn.t; in most cases, you.ll need to get a new one.
  • You can port your number between wireline and wireless numbers. Keep in mind that while wireless ports can take as little as a couple hours, wireline-to-wireless moves may take several days.
  • Portability is local. This means, for example, that if you have a Boston number on your cell phone but move to Miami, you generally won.t be able to port it directly with a Miami carrier.
  • Prepaid numbers are portable as are fax numbers; 800 numbers and pager numbers are not portable.
  • To be eligible to port a number, you must be the primary account holder. So, for example, if your service is in your company.s name, you will not be able to transfer that number.
  • During the porting process, your ability to call 911 may be impacted. As you transition between carriers, it is possible that 911 calls may be relayed incorrectly.

Number Portability: Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of common questions about number portability. If we don't answer yours, feel free to contact us.

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