How to Transfer a Cell Phone Number to a New Carrier

by Larry Parr
cell phone image by Mat Hayward from

Previously, when you switched cell-phone carriers, you lost your number and had to start over with a completely different number. That has changed. Today, it is simple to transfer your current phone number to a new carrier, allowing you to keep the same number for a lifetime--as long as you stay within the same town or city. The process for transferring your number to a new carrier is extremely simple.

Step 1

Contact your new carrier, and let the representative know that you want to transfer (or port, in telephone company lingo) your existing phone number with a different carrier to its service.

Step 2

Show your new carrier a copy of a recent telephone bill from your previous carrier that reflects your correct name and address, and provide the new carrier with a photo ID so it can verify your identity. At the same time, request that the new carrier port your existing phone number from your previous carrier to your new carrier. Your new carrier will then contact your previous carrier and request that your number be ported--the previous carrier cannot refuse.

Pay any fees associated with the porting process. Some carriers charge a small fee to port a phone number; others do not. Ask if the fees can be waived, as some carriers who do charge fees will forgo the fee if asked. Companies cannot refuse to port a number even if you fail to pay the porting fee.


  • If you have a long-term contract with your previous carrier, you may be required to pay a penalty for early termination of your contract. However, the previous company cannot refuse to port your number to the new carrier, even if you owe the company for past services.
  • The porting process from one cell-phone carrier to another generally takes about two hours.
  • In some (but not all) cases, it is possible to port a wired phone number to a cell phone. Talk to your phone providers to see if this is possible in your area.
  • It is not always possible to port your old number to a new carrier if you change your location, especially if it is to a different state.


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About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.

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