How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile and keep your number

How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile and keep your number
Human is a creature of habit. It’s an evolutionary mechanism that lets us use and enjoy things we’re used to without putting in too much effort and energy. It’s a double-edged sword, though. Sometimes our habits turn into roadblocks and prevent us from taking on new opportunities.

People often get stuck with their phone carriers due to a number of reasons that don’t allow them to break the habit. They think it’s too much trouble to switch carriers, and the effort and time invested aren't worth it. Another very strong reason is that people are afraid of losing their phone number when making the switch.

In this article, we’re going to address the aforementioned cases and guide you through the process of switching to a new phone carrier while keeping your existing number.

Article Summary 

How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: The basics

How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: Choose your new plan
How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: Port your number
Switch to Verizon
Switch to AT&T
Switch to T-Mobile
How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: Keep your device

How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: The basics


  • There’s a federal regulation that lets people switch carriers and keep their numbers, called Wireless Local Number Portability (LNP). The carriers are bound by law to let you take your number with you when you decide to switch.
  • Contact your new carrier before you cancel the contract with your current one. You won’t be able to transfer your number if it has been deactivated.
  • If you plan to use your phone with the new carrier, make sure you have an unlocked device.

How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: Choose your new plan


Before you start looking for a new plan, you have to check your current one carefully. Analyze your billing statements to see if you’re fully utilizing everything you’re paying for. If your data plan is unlimited but you only use 4GB of traffic, maybe you can save some money with the new plan. When you made up your mind and have a basic idea of what you need, it’s time to start comparing offers.

If you don’t want to be covered in notes and paperwork right away, you can use one of the many online resources for comparing cell phone plans. Or you can use our tool that lets you use different filters, check coverage, and more.

How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: Port your number


When you’re ready with your new plan, it’s time to call the lucky carrier and tell them the good news. Your new provider will ask for your name, address, and customer account number as they appear on your bill. There are some specifics depending on the carrier you’ve chosen, so we’ll break it up for the three major carriers.

Switch to Verizon



To port your number to Verizon, you need to provide your name, number, and account number. Verizon will cancel your old contract for you, so you don’t need to do this manually. A word of advice: you want to do this close to your billing cycle date, so you don’t need to pay for days you won’t be using anyway. Otherwise, you may have to pay prorated charges with your new carrier.

If you’re canceling your service with your current carrier while you are under contract, you may be charged an early termination fee. The early termination fee is prorated, which means that as more time passes, you will pay less to terminate the contract. Once the whole procedure is initiated, it takes between 4 and 24 hours for your new plan to be activated.

If you’re looking for a new phone to go with your new contract, Verizon offers its best deals to new customers, so be sure to check them out. If you want to keep your old phone, jump to the next section.


The process of porting your number to AT&T is more or less the same. You need to submit some personal data: the number you want to transfer, account owner name and address
account owner's Social Security number or Tax ID, PIN or password, if applicable. You can initiate the procedure in an AT&T physical store, or do it online, or over the phone.

There’s a useful tool on the AT&T website that lets you check if your number is eligible for transfer. If you start your number transfer in an AT&T store, your number will transfer within 1-3 business hours. If you order your new phone or SIM card online or over the phone, your number transfer may take up to 3-5 business days. You can also check your number transfer status while you’re waiting.

Check AT&T customer agreement


Switch to T-Mobile



To start porting your number to T-Mobile, first, check to see if your existing number is eligible for transfer. You can order your new plan in a T-Mobile physical store, online, or over the phone. The transfer usually takes place anywhere from 2-24 hours from the time the order has been submitted.

T-Mobile advises its customers to opt for overnight shipping when ordering online or over the phone to ensure the new phone/SIM arrives before service on your old phone stops. If you decide to transfer your number in a physical store the procedure can take just 10 minutes.

Keeping your old phone is possible when switching to T-Mobile, check the next section for details.

Check T-Mobile terms and conditions


How to switch to Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile: Keep your device


If you’re happy with your current phone and wish to continue using it with the new carrier, there are a few steps you need to take. First, you need to check your phone’s ID number (also called IMEI or MEID).

How to find your IMEI or MEID


  • Android: Dial *#06# on your phone
  • iPhone: Settings > General > About

When you have your phone ID written down, you can head to the online phone checking tools each of the major carriers provide. Usually, there’s a step-by-step guide for each of the major carriers, so you won’t feel lost. 

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