Before 2003, U.S. cell phone carriers could refuse to let customers keep their phone number when they switched to a different service provider. The Federal Communications Commission changed that when it established wireless local number portability rules, which forced cellular carriers to let customers keep their phone numbers and established the right to convert land-line phone numbers to wireless numbers. Keep your phone number and pull it to Verizon Wireless to avoid the hassle of getting new contact information to all of your friends.
Call the phone number's current service provider and ask if the number is under contract and if there is a termination fee. Cell phone companies often sell phones for less than the company paid for them but require service agreements with hefty termination fees. If the phone is under contract, decide whether you want to pay the termination fee or wait for the contract to expire.
Gather the account information for the old phone number. You need the name of the service provider, account number, name and address of the account holder as it appears on the bill, the phone number that you want to pull, or port, to Verizon and the Social Security number associated with the account.
Visit a Verizon Wireless store. Take the person named on the phone number's account if that person is not you. Otherwise, you will need to get in touch with him from the Verizon store and let the representative talk to him.
Choose a phone and a service plan. Avoid a service contract and activate the number on an old Verizon phone if you have one around. Otherwise, select a phone in the store to use with the phone number, but remember that this generally requires a two-year service agreement. Decide how many minutes you need for the new phone on your account and whether you want to add the phone to a shared minutes plan or give it its own dedicated minutes allowance.
Ask a sales representative to port the number to Verizon Wireless and tell her what kind of service you would like for the phone. Verizon representatives work on commission, so carefully consider whether you really want or need any extra services the representative suggests.
Request that the representative waive the $35 activation fee. Verizon considers the ported phone number a new line of service and subject to the fee, but if you suggest to the representative that you may not activate the phone because of the fee, he may waive it because he wants to earn the commission.
Sign the user agreement for the new line of service, pay for the new phone if you bought one and let the representative activate the new phone. You can call from the phone immediately, but it usually takes a few hours before the number completely ports to Verizon and the phone receives calls.
- The phone number usually starts working within a few hours, but it sometimes takes up to four days for the number to convert to Verizon.
- Remember to pay the last bill from the phone number's old service provider.
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