How to Swap Phones

by Meaghan Ellis

The process of swapping phones is simple. It's just a matter of transferring your phone number from one phone to another. Most carriers only charge a small fee that will be added as an additional charge on your next month's phone bill. In many cases, all you need is the account holder's information to swap the phone number. This process takes about 5 minutes total, and it can be conducted over the phone or in person at one of the phone's service provider locations.

Contact your service provider's customer service center. Most service providers have an 800 number you can call for technical assistance by phone. You can also dial the customer service numeric code that is automatically programmed in your phone.

Listen to the automated system to be directed to the correct department. There will be an automated service when the call is answered. Key in each option that pertains to your matter to be transferred to that particular department. In most cases, phone swapping is considered technical assistance.

Provide your account information. The representative may ask for the number you are concerned about on the account. Provide the full 10 digit phone number with the area code first. There also may be a password on the account. You also may be prompted to provide the account's billing ZIP code and password or the last four digits of the account holder's Social Security number.

Place your request to swap the phones. Once the representative has pulled up your account, ask for an ESN change to swap your phone. You will be prompted to provide the ESN or MSID number for your current phone. (This number is usually located on the back panel of the phone under the battery. There will be a barcode on the back panel of the phone and the ESN or MSID will be listed here.)


  • check The best way to avoid direct charges is to swap phones by contacting customer service, rather than going in the store. Most phone providers do not have technicians on site at all locations, and if they do, you could be charged directly. So to avoid wasting time, call in to get the job done.


  • close Make sure you are not calling from either phone involved in the swap. These phones must be powered off during the process. It is recommended that you call from a landline to avoid possible call failure and lost calls. When this happens, you will have to start over because there is no way of getting back to the original representative that assisted you.

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About the Author

Meaghan Ellis has been writing short stories, newspaper articles, Web content and product research reports for over 12 years. While double majoring in business management and marketing at Southern University, she runs a home-based graphic design and Web content business.