Compare Rates and Coverage. Comparison shop the rates and coverage areas offered by the carriers who serve your area. You should choose the carrier that provides the value, services, and technology that best fit your needs. 

Review Your Current Contract. Your contract may contain early termination fees that you are obligated to pay. You will also be responsible for any outstanding balances. Make sure you know what fees apply. Carriers are not allowed to refuse to transfer a number because a fee or outstanding balance has not been paid.

Contact Your New Carrier -- Do Not Cancel Existing Service! Your preferred new carrier will handle all the details, and they have every incentive to make this process as easy as possible. Be sure not to call and terminate your existing service-let the new carrier handle the transfer. You should also bring a copy of a recent phone bill. This will have all the account information to make the process both accurate and painless.

That's it. For changes among wireless carriers, you should be able to use your phone within a few hours. Moving your landline number to a wireless phone may take a few days. If things don't go smoothly contact your new carrier to try to resolve the problem. If that does not work, contact the FCC for more information or register a complaint at 1- 888-CALL-FCC

Things to Know

  • Expect to get a new phone. Even though you can take your number with you, your old phone may not be compatible with your new service provider's telecommunications network.
  • Use your phone during the transition. You will be able to send and receive calls while your number is being transferred, but be aware that certain features may not work. If you call 911 during this transfer period, the public safety agency may not know the location or the phone number you are calling from. Tell them your location and phone number at the start of the call.
  • Certain rural wireline carriers may obtain waivers of the porting requirement from state commissions. Customers of these carriers therefore may be unable to port their number to a new carrier. The FCC Web site has a list of carriers which may be affected, as well as contact information for the state commissions. If you are unable to port your number for that reason, you should contact the state commission for further information.
Thursday, November 19, 2015