How to Keep a Cell Phone Number When Changing Carriers

By Cynthia Measom

Frequently, people become dissatisfied with their current cell phone provider for any number of reasons---such as available calling plans, prices, coverage and even customer service. While switching carriers can benefit you, you may worry about the hassle of having a new cell phone number. However, under rules set by the Federal Communications Commission, customers can keep their current cell phone number when switching carriers provided they are requesting service in the same geographic area.

Step 1

Keep your current cell phone provider while you are arranging a change to a different provider, so that you are not without phone service.

Step 2

Contact the new carrier, and provide them with your name, phone number, account number, ZIP code and passcode, if required.

Step 3

Wait for your new carrier to contact your current carrier and make the switch. This can take up to four business days under current FCC porting number rules.

Tips & Warnings

  • Beginning in mid-2010, cell phone carriers have only one business day to complete simple ports for cellular customers, due to a change in FCC rules.
  • Even though you can keep the same cell phone number, you may have to purchase a new phone due to phone and network compatibility issues.
  • Ask the new carrier if they charge any fees for porting your number. If so, request that the fees be waived.