How to Switch Phone Carriers and Keep Your Number?: Guide

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Nowadays, phone carriers compete with each other like never before. Whether it is their services or the deals they offer, switching between phone carriers is tempting sometimes. It is true that some of the best deals only come with a new phone and with a new number. But there is a way to get around it! Keep reading to find out how to switch phone carriers and keep your number.

The first thing you should know is the existence of WLNP or Wireless Local Number Portability. This is a federal regulation that ensures you get to keep your number when switching phone carriers. With this regulation, you get to say no when offered a new number by the carrier you switch to. If you say so, the carrier cannot say no to your request. Now, what is the catch?

Some carriers apply rules to those switching from another carrier and wanting to keep their number. The rules differ from one carrier to another. For example, you may not get the free phones eligible for all customers who switch if you decide to keep your number. For more info, let’s look at how to switch phone carriers without changing the numbers below!

How to Port Your Number(s)

Porting your number means switching phone carriers and keeping your number. For those who think you can only keep your mobile phone number, think again! You can also move or port your landline number and keep it even if you switch carriers. But since you will be using a different provider, keep in mind that the plans and the fees will be different as well.

How to Switch Phone Carriers and Keep Your Number
Switch Phone Carriers

Besides mobile and landline numbers, you can also port your prepaid number. In other words, you can port any number you have as long as it is still active by the time you switch phone carriers. Things get tricky if you purchased that number along with others as a bundle, for example, a family plan. The carrier you are leaving behind may ask you to pay a termination fee. That said, this applies to whether or not you intend to keep your numbers. So, before switching, we recommend reading the contract you signed with your current carrier and make sure there is no binding clause that forbids you from porting your number. If reading through the pages of the contract seems like a tall task, there are other ways.

First, call your carrier and ask them how to switch phone carriers and keep your number. They should be able to look into your contract and explain what you should and should not do. Another way is to check your eligibility online. Go to your carrier’s website and look for their online phone number checking tool. With this free tool, you can see whether or not you are eligible to switch phone carriers without changing your number.

How to Port Your Number

The steps you need to take in porting your number depending on the carrier you are switching to and from. Below, we show you how to switch phone carriers and keep your number on some top providers.

1. Switch and Port Number with SafeLink

SafeLink is a phone service provider that collaborates with the US government to meet the telecommunications needs of low-income people. They provide services and plans similar to other carriers, but they are frequently inexpensive or even free. Their services are quite diverse, and they cover the majority of the country, from Washington, DC, to Puerto Rico. They run their business from government-funded internet towers and phones that they give away for free if the customer pays for the service. Porting your number with SafeLink will not take long. Here’s what you should do:

Here’s how to switch phone carriers and keep your number into SafeLink carrier:

  1. Make sure you are qualified before requesting a number port; to qualify, you will need to provide sufficient information about yourself.
  2. Make sure your current provider accepts your porting service appliance by contacting them.
  3. Wait one day after receiving the date and time of the porting.
  4. Contact SafeLink about the porting process after the day specified.
  5. If the procedure is completed successfully, you may request SafeLink’s services.

This method will not only make the transfer more manageable, but it will also be the safest way to do so. This process can also be used to switch from one carrier to another. You will need an LOA license (Letter of Authorization) and the most recent copy of a service transaction to submit a porting request to your current provider.

This is how you establish your credibility as a legal and qualified porting agent. When requesting a porting service, problems such as address mismatch and bundle service withdrawal can occur. Make sure you read the license and agreement one more time to see if you can do anything about it. If you plan to switch from SafeLink to other carriers, read our guide on transferring SafeLink phone numbers to another carrier here.

2. Switch and Port Number with Cricket

Cricket has its own method for porting your old carrier number to their service. If you’re unfamiliar with Cricket, it’s essentially one of the most popular phone carrier companies that offer a low-cost unlimited plan. Cricket is different from most phone carriers in that it does not charge customers in gigabytes per month. Cricket offers a very low-cost monthly plan with unlimited service, which is why many people want to switch from their previous carrier to Cricket. In fact, they offer free phones when you switch to Cricket. Besides, they have a simpler way to do this, but you must provide them with some paperwork. Here is the paperwork you must provide them with before they allow you to switch to their carrier service:

  1. Current wireless account from the previous carrier.
  2. Last four digits of Social Security Number.
  3. Billing ZIP code on account.
  4. Information about the last service purchase you bought.

Suppose they don’t have enough information about you after you give them all the information they need. In that case, they will either accept or deny your application. You will almost certainly also provide them with your complete address and other personal information. To avoid misunderstandings, it’s important to remember to contact your previous carrier about the porting process. If you enter all of your information correctly, they will accept your request and contact your previous carrier, as well as send you a SIM card or phone.

You can then use the product, which will automatically port you to your new Cricket phone number. Simply follow the steps to complete the process, and your ported number will be ready to use.  If you have any difficulties with porting or activation problems, Cricket provides you with 24 hours of customer service that you can always contact.

3. Switch and Port Number with Metro by T-Mobile

Unlike other carriers, Metro by T-Mobile carrier offers interesting deals when it comes to family package plans. With a plan that can be shared with up to 10 people, complete with a hotspot, many families are switching to Metro because of its convenience. How to switch phone carriers and keep your number when you finally switched to T-Mobile? T-Mobile offers you a solution to port your phone number through customer service or the nearest T-Mobile store. In some states, they also offer free phones when you switch to Metro by T-Mobile. Here’s what you should do to port it through the shop itself:

Here’s how to switch phone carriers and keep your number to T-Mobile Metro though store:

  1. Contact your previous carrier and ask for porting your number.
  2. Go to the nearest T-Mobile store.
  3. Give your porting approval letter and other personal information such as SSN number to the customer service.
  4. They will make a date and time of the porting after contacting your previous carrier.
  5. You will receive the phone or SIM card after the porting procedure is completed; you may want to go back to the store to ask for help on activating your number.

After doing all of the above, you can start using the Metro service with your old phone. Be sure to always ask about any problems related to this porting process and any data necessary.

4. Switch and Port Number with Verizon

Porting your number to Verizon is probably the easiest among all carriers. In fact, you can activate an unlocked phone with Verizon by yourself at home. No fees will be charged when you port your numbers. But first, you should check your eligibility for porting. This is also easy to do. You can do it at home on the Verizon website.

Before you do, make sure you have the following requirements:

  1. Your personal information, including your phone and account number.
  2. Cancel your service with your current provider if you plan to switch to Verizon.
  3. Have another phone number ready for emergencies in case anything happens during the porting process.

The duration of the process itself depends on your type of number. If you port your mobile number, this may take as fast as four hours and as long as 24 hours. But for a landline number, you may have to wait up to ten days. This is why having that emergency number is important.

Frequently Asked Question on How to Switch Phone Carriers and Keep Your Number

Now that you know how to switch phone carriers without changing your number with some of the top providers, let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions regarding the process.

Can you switch phone carriers and keep the same phone number?

How do you switch phone carriers while keeping your number? When you switch phone carriers, you can keep your existing phone number by porting it. This method allows you to keep your phone number’s port while switching carriers. This is possible if you switch phone carriers in the same geographic area as your previous one. To port your device, contact the carrier’s customer service department for assistance in porting your phone number to another carrier; this is the best option because they know the best and safest method.

Can a phone company refuse to port your number?

Suppose you are porting your number through your carrier’s customer service. In that case, you might be concerned about whether they will refuse to do so. On the other hand, phone carriers are unable to refuse your order because you still have control over the service plan you purchased. They will usually try to negotiate with you about keeping the service. Still, if you continue to refuse their offer, they will charge you to port your number.

However, you can still port your number through any carrier customer service without fear of rejection; it is their job to fulfill your order. Like we mentioned before, there is this thing called WLNP or Wireless Local Number Portability. This is a federal regulation that ensures you get to keep your number when switching phone carriers. With this regulation, you get to say no when offered a new number by the carrier you switch to. If you say so, the carrier cannot say no to your request.

Can you transfer your number to the same network?

Some people may advise you to transfer your phone number to another network using a PAC code. The PAC code, also known as the Porting Authorisation Code, is a one-of-a-kind code that can be used to port phone numbers from one network to another. However, since you are still on the same network, you will not need it in this case. To keep your phone number on the same network, you will need to switch to a new provider. It is known to be impossible to use a PAC code; however, if you can port out of the network and back in with the help of the provider you are contacting, that is an option.

Can I switch carriers if I still owe on my phone?

Here is how to switch phone carriers and keep your number, even if you still owe a phone to your previous carrier. To begin, figure out how much you owe the company. You can contact customer service to determine how much you owe them if you’re not sure how much you owe them. Next, suppose you are a new carrier user and want to switch. In that case, they usually have an early contract termination program that can help you get out of your service contract early.

You may be charged for this termination, but most carrier companies will be able to do so for free. After you figured out everything, you should find out if you can still use your device with the new carrier service. This is necessary to avoid being sued for taking their device with you when you switch providers.

Do you need PAC code if staying same network?

The PAC (Porting Authorisation Code) is a code that is used for porting and networking. PAC is commonly used to transfer a phone number from one network to another. PAC code, on the other hand, cannot be used on the same network port. Because they are still on the same network, you will not need this code; however, you can contact the carrier to port your device.

All you need is your device and a SIM card to port your number to another carrier. You will also need some information about your carrier since usually, they will ask a lot about them. To port your phone number locally, you can pick out the SIM card from your phone to another. Before using it on the new device, you must first answer some questions about your carrier. This eliminates the need for a PAC code when transferring your phone number within the same network.


Keeping your phone number is important to make sure people you know can reach you in case you or they lose their phone. Or sometimes, when switching to a new phone, people tend to forget to back their contacts up. By keeping your phone number, the damage can be avoided.

This is why finding how to switch phone carriers and keep your number is important. Fortunately, many phone carriers have made it easy to switch, whether to them or from them. Some things may be required, but it is easier than you think. Besides, your right to keep your number is protected by a federal regulation called WLNP or Wireless Local Number Portability. With this regulation, your carrier cannot refuse your request to keep your phone number, be it mobile, landline, or even fax. Hopefully, this article helps to guide you on switching phone carriers without changing your number.