How to Take Your Number With You

Beginning Nov. 24, consumers in the nation’s top 100 markets, about 193 million Americans, will have the right to keep their mobile phone numbers when they change cellular service providers. By May 24, 2004, number portability should be available in the rest of the country. [New York Times: Business]

  • If you are under contract with your current carrier, be prepared to pay a termination fee, typically $150 to $200.
  • Contact the carrier you want to switch to. That carrier will start an automated process to move your number onto its system from the old carrier’s system.
  • In all likelihood, obtain a new phone. The old phone will probably not work with the wireless technology of the carrier. Most carriers will provide a phone or sell one at a discount. Immediately after you sign up with a new carrier, you will be able to place calls from your new phone. However, it could take two hours to a day for your new phone to receive calls placed to your old number. During that waiting period, you can still receive calls on your old phone.

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