Can I Use My Cell Phone to Switch to Prepaid?

By Virginia Franco

Those who use prepaid phones spend less time using their phone and ultimately save more money than those with other types of plans. If you are looking to cut costs, or simply want more control over how much you talk and use your phone, switching to prepaid is a viable option. If you are fond of your phone and are even more attached to your cell phone number, don't despair because there are ways to keep both and switch to a prepaid plan that better meets your needs.

New SIM Card

Every cell phone comes with a removal Subscriber Identity Module, or SIM, card. This card contains pertinent information about your account and your usage history, which the carrier uses to compile your bill. SIM cards can be moved from phone to phone, which means that if you want to switch from a long-term contract to a prepaid phone, all you need is a SIM card prepared by your phone carrier with prepaid data on it.

Keep Your Phone

Many carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, allow you to have your account transferred to a prepaid one without changing SIM cards. This is done by getting your carrier to unlock your phone's GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) code. Keep in mind that many carriers consider this change a cancellation of your current contract, or at the very least a change which will often result in lengthening your contractual obligation.


If your carrier considers your switching from a contract to a prepaid one a cancellation of your old contract, or if you choose to change carriers but keep your old phone because its GSM code is unlocked, you will likely be charged a contract breakage fee which can range anywhere from $150-$250 per phone line.