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Challenges with Porting Numbers

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

By: Spencer Mann - Marketing Specialist, December 8, 2019

When switching mobile carriers you have two options. You can either start your new plan completely fresh with a new number, or you can try to port your number from your old phone. Keeping your old number might sound like the easy option, but it can be more difficult than you'd imagine. This blog post will cover some of the problems you might run into when trying to port your number to a new carrier.

Firstly, what is porting?

Porting is the process of transferring your current phone number from one service provider to another.

What are the challenges?

1. It may take a long time to port over your number to a new carrier. If you need a new plan quickly, this can cause issues.

2. Some carriers charge a fee for porting numbers. Watch out for charges from your previous carrier when porting your number. Fees can sometimes be waived, but you have to be aware that you are getting charged.

3. Porting is sometimes not possible, for instance if you are moving geographical locations, and you get a new area code you cannot keep the same number.

4. Previous carrier may not release number even when the request was received. Some carriers don’t let you port just one number if you have an account with multiple lines. If this is the case make sure you find out your carriers policy.

5. You cannot port an inactive number. If you have already cancelled your subscription with your previous carrier and the number is deactivated then you cannot port it to a new carrier. The number must be active at the time you request a port out.

6. Some phone numbers are not portable. Before you decide to try and port your number, you must first find out if it is portable. Most carriers have a portability checker somewhere online that should tell you if it is possible.

7. Double paying for the same month of service for previous and new carrier. Sometimes errors in billing can occur and you could get charged by two different carriers for the same month. Be sure to track your account with each carrier to make sure this doesn’t occur.

8. May not be able to retrieve the account number and PIN easily from current carrier. If you forget your PIN number or account number it can be difficult to make changes to your account. These codes verify your identity, and many actions (like porting your number) cannot be completed without them.

9. There can be complications with porting a landline number to a wireless number. The process can take up to 7 business days, sometimes making both phone lines useless for the transfer period.

10. Your new number may not work on your new phone. If you switch from a GSM carrier to a CDMA or vice versa, your new sim card might not work in your old phone. Some phones are set up to only be compatible with either GSM or CDMA networks, so make sure to look into that before switching.

If you have tried to port in your number to a new carrier, it is likely that you have run into at least one of these issues. This process can be frustrating, but using this guide can make it easier if these problems do come up. Knowing why the transfer isn’t working is the most important step to figuring out how to remedy the problem. Keeping your number when switching providers eliminates many challenges that come with changing phone numbers, but it can also cause problems as well. Make sure everything is squared away with your previous and future provider before attempting this process.

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