wikiHow to Change Your Cell Phone Carrier

Four Methods:Changing Carriers in the USChanging Carriers in CanadaChanging Carriers in IndiaChanging Carriers in the UK

Changing cell phone carriers can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to dealing with contracts and making sure you keep your old number. Thankfully, the process has been streamlined over the years, and now it’s possible to keep your old number in almost every case. Follow this guide to see how.

Method 1
Changing Carriers in the US

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    Shop around for the right deal. Cell phone carriers are constantly changing plans and rates, and often run all kinds of promotions. Look for a promotion that includes a phone that you want for cheap or free. Make sure that you read as much fine print as possible, so that you’ll know when to expect rate hikes or other fees.
    • Pay attention to the details of the plan. If you barely ever send text messages, then you probably don’t need a plan that includes unlimited texts. Make sure that you are signing up for the plan that is most useful for you.
    • Check the coverage area. Each network has different coverage areas. Find out what the coverage is like in your area by talking to friends that use that network, or by asking around online. Most companies will say that your city is covered, but service may still be spotty.
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    Check your current contract. Most cell phone carriers make you sign a contract when you join their service. This contract typically includes an early-termination fee. This fee is designed to cover the cost of the phone that they gave you when you joined. Most contracts last for 2 years.
    • If you are cancelling because of service issues, you may be able to argue against an early-termination fee. When you are on the phone with your old carrier arguing your fees, be sure to ask to speak to a supervisor, and have any documentation about your service issues.
    • Do not start the account termination process until your new account has been setup and your phone is activated.
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    Listen to your voicemails and backup your contacts. Voicemails will most likely not transfer to your new service, so be sure to listen to and write down any important messages. Backup your contacts if you are switching to a new phone. You can backup your contacts on both iPhone and Android.[1]
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    Contact the company you want to switch to. Make sure to have your phone number, old account number, and any passwords you might need to access your account information. The service representatives for the new provider will need these in order to transfer your phone number to your new account.[2]
    • You can also visit various vendors or company stores, though this usually will involve purchasing a new phone as well.
    • You may be required to buy a new phone regardless of whether or not you want one. Different carriers use different networks, and not all phones are compatible with other networks.
    • You may be able to keep your old phone if it is unlocked. The unlock process varies depending on the phone, and it is not always guaranteed to work. Some phones come unlocked.
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    Verify that your new service is working. Make a few calls and send some texts to ensure that your new service has been activated. Transfer your contacts back to your new phone if you switched.
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    Cancel your old plan. Once you have verified that your phone works on your new service plan, you can cancel your old contract. Be firm while cancelling, and argue any fees that weren’t explained or written out when you signed the contract. If you are cancelling early, you will most likely be obligated to pay the early termination fee.

Method 2
Changing Carriers in Canada

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    Check your current contract. Most major service providers in Canada currently use three-year contracts. While the law for this is changing at the end of 2013, most people are still locked into these contracts. The fees for early termination are quite high, so make sure that you aren’t causing yourself financial distress by changing.
    • Don’t cancel your account until you have signed up for a new one, otherwise you will lose your number.
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    Contact your new service provider. Once you have found a new plan that suits your needs, contact the new provider and let them know that you want to transfer your old number. The new provider should be able to handle the transfer process entirely on their end.
    • You will most likely need to provide your personal information, as well as your most recent phone bill. You may also need your phone’s MEID number, which is located underneath the battery.
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    Wait for the activation. Once you set up your new account, the phone number tr4ansfer should take about two and a half hours to complete. Your old phone should work up until the service is transferred.[3]

Method 3
Changing Carriers in India

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    Pay your existing phone bill. You cannot receive your transfer code until all of your existing dues have been paid. If you are a pre-paid subscriber, your remaining talk time will not carry over to your new plan.
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    Get your Porting code. In order to keep your old phone number, you will need to get the Porting code from your existing carrier. To do this, send an SMS to 1900 with the message “PORT <yourphonenumber>”. You will receive a reply from 1901 with your Porting code and a date. The date is when the code expires.[4]
    • The code will be formatted as “AB123456”.
    • Porting codes are valid for 15 days.
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    Sign up with your new service. Provide the PORT code along with your personal information to the new carrier. You must submit this information before the date you received when you requested your PORT number. After submitting the information, you will receive your new SIM card.
    • You will also need to submit proof-of-payment for your existing plan to your new provider.
    • You may be charged up to ₹ 19/- for the porting process.
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    Wait for the financial check to clear. After you provide your information to your new provider, you will need to wait 7 days for the master clearing house to process your account. The changeover to your new SIM card will occur after the 7th working day during the nighttime.
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    Insert your new SIM card. Once the changeover has occurred, you can begin using your new SIM card on your phone. You cannot change providers again for at least another 90 days.

Method 4
Changing Carriers in the UK

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    Find a new service. When you sign up for a new service, you will always receive a new SIM card. This card will have a new number when you receive it, but you will be transferring your old number to your new SIM card, overriding the new number.
    • Check with your existing service while shopping for new ones to see if they will match any deals you might find. This could end up saving you a lot of time and hassle.
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    Get your Port Authorization Code (PAC). This code will allow you to transfer your old number to your new SIM. Service providers have to provide this code to you within two hours of you asking for it. You may be offered deals to try to keep you on the same network.
    • Most service providers will send you your PAC via text, though some may give it to you over the phone. Others may send it through traditional post.
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    Backup your contacts. If you store contact information on your SIM card, they will need to be backed up so that you can transfer them to your new one. You will also need to use any prepaid minutes before your old SIM card is deactivated, otherwise they will be lost.
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    Purchase your new SIM. Contact your new provider and order your new SIM or phone deal. Give them your PAC and the new provider will handle the phone number transfer process. You can usually schedule a day that you want to the activation process to occur. Pick a day that you most likely won’t be using your phone much.[5]
    • The transfer process can take as long as 24 hours or as little as a few minutes. Typically it will happen in about an hour.

Article Info

Categories: Cell Phones