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How to Switch Mobile Phone Providers



How to switch providers

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

It’s a new year, and that means it may be time for a change. No, not a change in fitness or lifestyle, but a change in mobile operator. There are more providers than ever before, good news for you as a consumer. Each room has its own list of benefits, so it’s worth taking a step to consider. Here’s everything you need to know about switching carriers.

Also see: Our guide to the best phone plans for every type of user

We have plenty of guides to help you choose your next provider, so we won’t be discussing too many plans or perks here. However, we will give you ample access to our research once you reach that step in the process. Ready to get started? Let’s get into it.

Before switching providers

Redmi Note 8 Pro review phone call

The very first step in switching to a new telephone company is research – lots of research. You’ll want to spend quite a bit of time checking out the best plans from carriers big and small. If you want to escape the high prices of the Big Three carriers, it might be time for an MVNO. However, you must be willing to give up some of the creature comforts that leaders like Verizon can provide. Here are a few guides to point you in the right direction:

You also need to know if your current phone works with your new carrier. The easiest way to check if your phone is working is to know if you have a cell phone or a CDMA device. Verizon is carrying the CDMA torch only now that Sprint is gone, and both AT&T and T-Mobile are leading the cell phone costs. If you decide you want a new phone, check out our best deals on unlocked phones here.

Whatever happens, the most important thing you should do – or don’t do – before changing your phone provider is don’t cancel your current service. If you disconnect, you will lose your current phone number and cannot transfer it to a new provider.

Now there are a few more steps you need to abort before we can actually switch. First, grab all your old account information. You will need to provide it to your new carrier and you may need it when you leave the transfer from your old carrier. Also make sure your current phone is unlocked. Most carriers will unlock their phones after a certain period of time, or you may need to pay off your remaining balance first.

Also see: How to Unlock Verizon Phone

Steps to switch and port your number

You are finally ready to make the switch to a new telephone company. You’ve chosen your provider, you know what you want to do with your phone, and now it’s time to act. These are the basic steps you will need:

  1. Confirm your eligibility with the new carrier you have chosen. You can often do this directly on a carrier’s website by entering your 10-digit phone number. Here are a few links that can help:
  2. Contact your new carrier and buy your new plan and possibly a new phone (or start bringing your old one with you).
  3. Provide your current provider information (name, address, account number) to the new provider, as well as your IMEI number if necessary.
  4. Have your new provider contact your current provider to start the transferring process, they will do this automatically so you can keep your number.
  5. Once you have completed the transfer, notify your old provider to make sure your account is closed completely.

It pretty much does for the wide strokes, but each of the Big Three has a few of its own strides to follow. Check them out in the next section.

Carrier specific instructions

If you’ve decided that you want to join AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile, this is the section for you. As we said, the process is mostly identical, just with a few different hiccups to watch out for. To switch providers and port your number easily:

Switch to AT&T

How to switch providers AT&T

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you want to trade for Big Blue, be ready to leave that landline behind. AT&T only allows you to bring mobile numbers, and the process requires just a few steps:

  1. Check if your phone number is eligible as shown above.
  2. If you bring your phone, ask for an AT&T SIM card.
  3. Buy a subscription and pass your previous account information to your new provider.
  4. Wait for AT&T to complete the port request, often within a few hours.

AT&T also helps you cover the switching costs with a reward of up to $ 500 for each device you bring. It’s a great way to make sure you switch without paying – at least without overpaying. You can also hack $ 700 off most new phones when you trade in your current device. Check out the best AT&T deals here.

Switch to Verizon

Verizon logo on phone stock photo

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’ve chosen Verizon as the go-to place, landline enthusiasts will be happy. You can bring both mobile and landline numbers to Big Red and here’s how you can do it:

  1. Make sure your phone is unlocked and port enabled.
  2. Grab a recent bill from your current provider and be ready to provide your important information.
  3. Order a Verizon SIM card or choose a new plan and device.
  4. Wait for Verizon to handle the porting process.

As with AT&T, Verizon will fix most of the issues for you and even send a text message when the process is complete. It can take up to 24 hours for wireless lines, so be prepared for delays. Verizon isn’t that generous with some of its savings, but you can save about $ 440 if you bring your number and trade it in for a new device. Check out more offers from Big Red here.

Switch to T-Mobile

Switch telephone provider T-Mobile

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The last of the big three, T-Mobile, may also provide the most incentive to switch phone providers. You can take both landlines and mobile lines, and almost all numbers are perfectly compatible. The Un-Carrier is also one of the most willing to help you transition without paying any fees or other costs. Here are the T-Mobile steps you want to know:

  1. Check your eligibility and get all of your important shipping documents.
  2. Purchase a SIM card, subscription and possibly a phone online or from your nearest T-Mobile store.
  3. Wait for T-Mobile to complete the transfer process, often ranging from 10 minutes to 24 hours.

That’s all there is to it. As we said, T-Mobile makes it easy for you whether you come or go. You will probably also find the best combination of deals at T-Mobile, especially as a new customer. Check out some of our top picks here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ask: Can my old courier refuse to port my number?

A: No, your old carrier cannot refuse your request, even if you owe money. However, your new provider may decline the number, although it is unlikely.

Ask: Does it cost anything to port my phone number?

A: Technically, carriers may charge you to port your number. Most are not in the interest of the competition as it could deter people from participating.

Ask: How long does it take to transfer a phone number?

A: If you transfer a landline, it can take more than a full working day. Mobile numbers, on the other hand, can only last a few hours. Mobile carriers and the FCC have an agreed target of 2.5 hours for mobile ports and can often meet that need.

Ask: Can I still use my phone during the transfer process?

A: Yes, you can still make outgoing calls while your number changes providers. Unfortunately, incoming calls will likely go straight to your new phone throughout the process.


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