How to Keep a Home Phone Number

by Donna Marsh

Telephone number portability allows consumers to transfer service from one communications company to another without changing their phone numbers. Cell phone users have been doing this for years when they change carriers. Home phone users switching to a competing landline carrier use the same technology. Whether you have decided to change your landline company or go completely wireless, here's how to make a smooth, successful switch and keep your home phone number.

How to Keep a Home Phone Number

Step 1

Shop for a new carrier--either wireless or landline--and make your decision based on plan options and service coverage. Choose a new carrier by balancing the needs of your family or business with your budget, not on the "bells and whistles" features of a new phone.

Step 2

Call the new carrier and make sure that your home number is portable.

Step 3

Order the switch with the new carrier you've chosen. Your new company will handle the details of the transfer. The switch from one home phone company to another should take a few hours. A landline to wireless switch could take a couple of days.

Keep your existing carrier so there is no break in service. You can continue to use your old phone service until the switch is finished.


  • Emergency operators may not be able to pinpoint your location during the switch. Tell the 911 dispatcher where you are at the top of the call. Some rural landline carriers are exempt from the switching regulation. If you are one of their customers, you won't be able to transfer your phone number. Contact your state utilities commission for more information. If you have a complaint about the transfer, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-835-5322.


  • Cellular phone companies usually require the purchase of a new mobile phone, whether you are switching from a landline or a competing cell phone plan. You can keep your home phones if you are just switching from one landline carrier to another. You will need to cancel long-distance service with a separate carrier. Your new company should have long-distance rates built into its plans. You are still responsible for outstanding bills with your former home phone company.

About the Author

Donna Marsh has been writing and editing professionally since 1982. She was a copy editor for the "Savannah Morning News," "Arlington Journal" and "Cincinnati Enquirer." Marsh has a Bachelor of Arts in African-American history from Rutgers College.

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