Wireless Number Portability: How to Keep Your Number

As you may know, the FCC requires providers to provide the “ability to change service providers within the same local area and still keep the same phone number.” If you want to cancel your cell phone service, you can port your number to your new service, regardless of things like “early termination fees.”

How to Keep Your Number:

1) Contact your new carrier. Tell them that you will be switching to their service and you’d like to keep your number.
2) The new carrier will begin the process. They will confirm your identity. You may need to provide them with various documentation proving you are who you say you are.
3) The new carrier will request your number from the old carrier. Once a valid porting request has been made, the old carrier cannot refuse to port a number.

More inside.

Here are some things to know:

• “Once a consumer has requested service from a new carrier, the old carrier may not delay or refuse to port a number even if that individual owes money for an outstanding balance or termination fee.” This means that if you request service from a new carrier, your old carrier can not prevent or delay your number from being ported.

• Carrier may charge a fee for number porting, but your new carrier is not prevented from paying this fee for you. You should ask your new carrier about it.

• If you take your number to a new service, you are still responsible for whatever fees/balance you owe to your former carrier.

• Just because you take you number to a new carrier, don’t expect your phone to work, too. The main exception to this is Cingular (AT&T) and T-Mobile. Often phones can be “unlocked” and switched between these two carriers. Ask your carrier for the “unlock” code.

Report any violations of WLNP to the FCC. —MEGHANN MARCO