Do you know what happens to your phone number if you change wireless phone providers? Can you keep it? Discover more.
Due to wireless local number portability (LNP) a wireless consumer has the ability to change service providers and still keep the same phone number within the same general metropolitan area.
Wireless LNP allows consumers to switch from one wireless carrier to another within the same local area.
Be aware that it will not allow you to retain the same phone number when moving to a new town, city or state.
In some circumstances the wireless LNP will allow you to move a phone number from a wireline phone to a wireless phone.
When you move your phone number from one provider to another it is referred to as porting.
So when you wish to port your number, it is important not to cancel your current provider until you have confirmed with your new provider.
It is the responsibility of the new wireless service provider to request the porting with your old carrier. Before contacting the new carrier make sure you have a copy of a recent telephone bill showing your correct name and address. This will hasten the porting process. Once a valid porting request has been made, the old carrier is unable to refuse to port a number.
Wireless carriers are allowed to charge fees in order to recover their costs of porting. The carrier may recover this cost through an extra line-item fees for LNP on your monthly bill or by raising the monthly rate.
As each wireless provider has different operating cost, they will all charge different amounts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not directly regulate these charges, however they should be just and reasonable.
If you have a long term contract with a wireless carrier, there may be early termination fees to pay. You are obligated to pay these fees that occur under an existing contract. So if you are considering changing providers, it is a good idea to review your existing phone contract.
In some cases it is possible to port a wireline phone number to a wireless number. Each case is different and you will need to consult with the carrier. Be aware that if you do port a wireline phone to wireless that your current long distance provider will not move with you. That your long distance calls will now be provided by your new wireless carrier.
Whilst the FCC has not stipulated a time frame for the a wireless-to-wireless transfer, the porting process should only take about two and a half hours. A wireline to wireless porting will take longer and could take as long as several days.
With the complexities of today’s technology your current handset may not work with your new phone provider. You may need to purchase a new handset.
When porting a number it is vital to be aware of how your 911 calls will be affected. During the porting process there may be a window of time when emergency calls may not be processed normally. Prior to porting, you should inquire as to how your 911 calls will be affected.
If you decide it is time to change phone companies, make sure you keep all these points in mind and know your rights. We suggest you visit the FCC website at www.fcc.gov for up to date information and clarification.
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