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Telecom Information Resources Guide

Updated on: 06/05/2009

What You Should Know About
Transferring Your Cell Phone, VOIP and
Home Landline Phone Numbers!

  Under the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) “local number portability” (LNP) rules, as long as you remain in the same geographic area, you can switch telephone service providers, including interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and keep your existing phone number. If you are moving from one geographic area to another, however, you may not be able to take your number with you. Therefore, subscribers remaining in the same geographic area can now switch from a wireless, wireline/ Landline or VoIP provider to any other wireless, wireline/ Land phone or VoIP provider and still keep their existing phone numbers.

While this new freedom should benefit consumers as phone companies compete for their business resulting in lower prices and better service. We also should be aware of the following issues when switching the home phone line in to cellular service vice versa.

Know Your Rights and Obligations:
Your carrier can't stop you from switching or try to delay the process, even if you still owe a contract-termination charge (typically $150 to $200) or monthly dues.

On the timeline, be aware that even though the wireless industry has said "porting" (as it's called) should take no longer than 2 1/2 hours, you might have to wait a bit longer, especially in the beginning.

· Initiating a Switch: If you want to change cell phone carriers, or move your home phone line to a cell phone, contact the new carrier, who will start the process. Do not terminate service with your existing carrier before initiating a switch. Also, know that you are obligated to pay any early termination fees that may apply with your existing cell phone provider (or landline with contract) if you change the service before the contract ends.

What you need for switching?
As per the FCC guidelines number port should require no more than the following information: (1) 10-digit telephone number; (2) customer account number; (3) 5-digit zip code; and (4) pass code, if it applies.

· Switching Time: It should only take a few hours to move your current cell phone number to a new cell phone provider (wireless-to-wireless transfer). It is expected to take several business days to complete a home Landline to cell phone transfer (Landline to wireless). Make sure to ask the cell phone company you are moving to if you will still be able to use your home Landline during the transfer process.

Extra Fees when switching carriers :
Some companies may assess fees to recover the costs that they incur in providing number portability. Your old carrier could also require you to pay a porting fee, but cannot charge in excess of these “porting” costs. Some companies may pay your current phone provider’s cost in order to get your business, so ask your new carrier to reimburse you.

Don't Cancel until you find a new carrier:
  Switch your carrier before you cancel your existing service. Your phone number belongs to your current carrier until it's transferred, so if you cancel before you switch, that number will simply go back to the original carrier's pool.

Here's how it's supposed to work: You go to your new carrier and say you want to sign up, but you also want to keep your number, your new carrier will put a request for your number transfer directly with your current carrier. The two carriers will then match your information (bring an old invoice to your new carrier to avoid possible mistakes), and once the number is switched, your old service may be automatically cancelled. Keep your old phone until the switch happens and then double-check that your old service is no longer in effect.

Shop Before You Switch the Phone Line:
There are a number of Web sites to help you do that. You can find them by doing a general search in any major search engines or Click Here to compare and find Cellular Phones.

· Landline incoming is free but not the Wireless: Most cell plans are priced per minute, and get pricey when you exceed your limit. However, local landline (home phone) service is often a flat rate in which you pay the same fee no matter how much you use the phone. Many cell phone plans charge for incoming calls, but landlines do not. Take care to consider how much you will use the phone and whether the cell plan includes a sufficient number of minutes for your outgoing and incoming calls.

· Extras and Long Distance on home phone line: Home phone service typically charge extra for such things as caller ID, voice mail and, of course, long distance. Cell phone plans often include the extras and long distance in their service. If you switch from a home phone to wireless, your long distance service will not move with you, so make sure to verify your long distance options when changing to a cell phone provider.

· Safety with Home Phone Line: If you dial 911 from your home phone, the emergency operators can immediately pinpoint your location. If you dial 911 from your cell phone at home or on the road, most emergency operators cannot readily locate you, and unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your call will get through.

· Service Quality: Consumers frequently complain about wireless service quality, such as dead zones and dropped calls. Overloaded networks and "dead spots" can affect your ability to use a wireless phone in ways that are not a consideration for landlines.
Whether consumers are switching their home phone number to their cell phone, or switching cell-phone companies, they also should consider the service quality.

Phone Compatibility when switching the Wireless Carriers:
In some instances, wireless handsets of different wireless telephone companies are incompatible. If you switch wireless companies, you may need to purchase a new handset, even if you retain the same phone number. For example Verizon Wireless and Sprint uses CDMA technology phones but they may not work for each others' service. But GSM phones used by T-Mobile and AT&T are capable of working for each others SIM cards as long as they are not in locked status by the carrier. In this case you will need to use Unlocked Mobile Phones.

 For more information on wireless-to-wireless transfers, or Landline-to-wireless transfers, call the Federal Communications Commission, 1-888-225-5322 or visit

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