How to Port a Mobile Phone Number

By Andrew Todd

If you are planning on switching cell phone providers, you are now allowed to take your phone number from one provider to another. This FCC-regulated process is known as "porting," and it mandates that no cellular telephone provider may hold you hostage to their service by refusing the release your cell phone number. Porting your cell phone number ensures that you do not need to memorize a new cell phone number and do not need to alert your contacts to new contact information. In most cases, it is free to port your cell phone number to another company, although some companies charge a small administrative fee.

Things You'll Need

  • Active cellular service

Step 1

Call your cell phone provider's customer service. Often, dialing "611" from your cell phone will automatically connect you to customer service. Otherwise, their telephone number can be found on your monthly bill, or on their website.

Step 2

Choose the option from the automated menu to speak with a customer service representative regarding changes to your account. Many automated menus allow you to press "0" at any time to reach a representative.

Step 3

Ask the representative for a "PAC," or "porting authorization code." The code, which often consists of a combination of three letters and six numbers, is usually valid for 30 days. If the cell phone number is not ported within the 30-day window, you may need to call back and request a new PAC.

Step 4

Provide the PAC that you received from your cellular telephone service provider to the new provider with whom you will be opening an account. The new cellular telephone service provider will be able to port your cellular telephone number into their system using the PAC.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may be charged an early termination fee if you port your cellular telephone number prior to the satisfaction of your contract.