How Do I Get My Old Phone Number Back?

By Melinda Gaines

Occasionally, people lose their old phone number and want to get it back. Whether you changed to a different service provider, your service was permanently disconnected, or you requested a number change but later changed your mind, getting back your old phone number can be difficult. Sometimes phone numbers can't be ported to another service provider, and phone companies do not legally have to release their numbers to other service providers under certain circumstances. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to try and get your old phone number back.

Step 1

Call your phone service provider within 30 days of canceling your phone number or it being disconnected. Although phone numbers can typically be recycled as soon as they are released, they are rarely taken in less than 30 days.

Step 2

Ask if there is an incentive to retaining service with the company again--in order to get your old number, you will typically need to start phone service with your old phone company. Phone companies will usually provide a service discount to get an old customer back, you simply need to ask.

Step 3

Use a database such as Fone Finder to find out what company owns your phone number if your old service provider no longer has it. Contact that company to see if the number is available.

Step 4

Inquire as to what options there are to get your phone back if you do not want to start service with the company that currently owns your phone number. In some cases, you can have it forwarded to another number without getting into a service contract, although this will cost you a monthly fee.