How to Transfer a Mobile Number to a New Mobile Phone

Updated February 21, 2017

When changing cell phone carriers, consumers now have the option of keeping their original mobile telephone number. Keeping the same number, regardless of cell phone carrier, is generally more convenient than changing. The responsibility of retaining a cell phone number lies on the new carrier. During the process of changing service providers, the customer service representative can enter a request to transfer a mobile number to a new mobile phone. The process of transferring a mobile number from an old phone to a new one is sometimes referred to as local number portability.

Inform the customer service representative who is handling the purchase of your new mobile phone that you would like to retain your original mobile number. In some cases, the customer service representative will ask if you already have a telephone number. If you are not asked, you should mention transferring your mobile number before the representative begins the activation process on your new phone.

Give the customer service representative your original mobile number. The customer service representative will look up your information and determine what company last held your number.

Provide the customer service representative with your account number with your previous carrier if asked. In some cases, customer service representatives need this information to determine whether you have the right to that mobile number.

Tell the customer service representative your account's personal identification number (PIN) if asked. You may also be required to provide the customer service representative with your billing address.

Ask the customer service representative if they have all the information they need to switch your telephone number to their carrier. Generally, this information is sufficient. However, if they require more information, provide it as necessary.


In some cases, it takes up to 24 hours to activate a transferred mobile number.

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About the Author

A professional writer since 1994, Eva Talent was trained as a journalist by the U.S. Army. She received two Army Commendation Medals and an Army Achievement Medal for journalistic excellence. Her press releases are frequently featured on the websites of the Department of Defense and the Army. Talent holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan.