keep your number

Keep Your Number: Your Guide to Switching Carriers

So you’ve decided it’s time to switch carriers, whether it’s for a better deal or friendly customer service, we have a few tips to make the transition as smooth as possible. Knowing your rights when you’re switching carriers is so important. If you want to keep your number from your old phone, all you have to do is ask. Follow our five steps to make this a seamless switch:

1. Check your device balance

keep your numberIt’s important to consider the fees you might have to pay when leaving your existing carrier. If you’ve reached the end of your contract and are simply looking to move your business elsewhere, you can skip this section. If you’re a few months away from finishing your contact, you should look into the fees you might have to cover.

You’re most likely going to have to pay off your device balance to leave your contract early. When you first buy your phone, it’s usually offered at a subsidized price – you’ve slowly been paying that off over the extent of your contract. Visit your carrier website or app to lookup your remaining device balance to see what you owe.

2. Transfer your number

Circulating your new digits to a few hundred people in your contact list poses a bit of a challenge. It’s well within your rights as a consumer to transfer your current number to a different service provider. Just don’t cancel your existing contract if you want to keep your number. In order for you to transfer a number it has to remain active, otherwise your old carrier can release it for public use.

The Wireless Number Portability rights apply when switching between any wireless, landline, or VoIP service. That means your landline can be transferred to a wireless carrier or vice versa. If you’re transferring your wireless number to another wireless carrier the process should only take a few hours.

3. Unlock your phone (or get a new one)

If you were hoping to bring your current phone over to the new carrier, you’ll have to make sure your device is unlocked. You can our article all about unlocked devices here. You’ll have to pay the remaining device balance, plus an unlocking fee to truly own the phone.

If you’re at the end of your contract, you can sign-up for the latest phone on your new carrier. You can even sell your old iPhone to Orchard to get some extra money in the process.

4. Sign up to your new carrier

It can be useful to provide your new carrier with your original account number from the old carrier. You can usually find this on the top of your bill, on the carrier website or by calling customer service. This is helpful for transferring your phone number to the new account among other things.

Keep Your NumberOnce a phone number has been ported to the new carrier, a cancellation notice should automatically be sent to the original provider.

5. Finalize things with your old carrier

Even though you paid off your device balance and transferred your number, there still might be unfinished business with your old carrier. Give them one last call to negotiate any termination fees or other charges left on the account – you should then receive your final bill within a month.


And just like that, you’re free from the grasp of your old service provider. Hopefully the grass is greener on the other side and your new wireless carrier offers everything you were hoping for.

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  • Orchard 29 January, 2014   Reply →

    A little extra colour from Brian:

    “It is best to come to the new provider with your original account number [from your old carrier], which can be obtained from a recent bill or by calling customer care (if you decide to call, customer care may inquire about why you need the account number and attempt to retain you as a client through different offers, but no promises). It may be a good idea at the time of call in to verify if there would be any cancellation fees currently as well, just so there are no surprises.

    Generally once a number has been ported to a new provider a cancellation notice is automatically sent to the original provider. There shouldn’t be a need to call them afterwards, with the exception being if you need to clarify potential account charges or final bill information.

    Hope this is helpful!”

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