How to Switch Phone Carriers

Switching cell phone providers can feel like a scary task, but really, it’s easier than ever!
phone on disk

Switching cell phone providers was once a long, drawn out process, thankfully, those days are long gone. Switching cell phone providers has become a much easier task nowadays. Here are a few things to think about before switching cell phone providers.

You don’t have to go into the store

The store is the first place many turn to when switching. In many cases, almost the entire process can be done over the phone or online without ever stepping foot into a store.

You can keep your number

Long gone are the days where you had to get a new number when switching cell phone providers. In most cases, you can port your number over from your old carrier. You just have to make sure your current phone plan is still active when you initiate a port. Porting also needs some important information from the primary account holder.

You don’t have to purchase a new phone

Many carriers now support plans where you can bring your own phone. This means, you have the ability to keep your current phone as long as it is compatible.

You may have to have your current carrier unlock your phone or SIM card

If your account meets the criteria to be unlocked, your current carrier can unlock your phone. Most carriers can do this over the phone or online, as well.

Some devices are not compatible across all networks

The list of devices not compatible across all networks is constantly shrinking with evolving technology, but there are still some. You can check your device compatibility on the carrier’s website to make sure your phone will work on their network.

Make sure your phone is paid off

Many providers offer iPhone upgrade programs or similar programs with other device types. These are great because you can split up the cost of a phone with payments, but if you’re looking to switch to a new cell phone carrier, this might create an extra step in the process. If you still owe on your phone, you’ll need to pay it off before you can go from one cell provider to another. You also want to make sure you will not have any termination fees. In some cases, your new carrier will cover these as part of a deal, but you’ll want to check with both you old and new carrier to find out.

Don’t cancel your current phone plan before switching

Your current phone plan must be active in order for you to port your number over. If you can, don’t cancel your current plan before you’ve initiated the process of signing up for a new phone plan.

You’re going to need some important account information before you start the process

In most cases, you’re going to need a few key bits of information when switching. If you are the main account holder on your current plan, this should be no problem. But if you’re on a family plan and the main account holder is someone else, you’ll want to get this information from them. The main information usually needed includes your name, address, account number and possibly your account password or pin if you have one.

Make sure the data on your phone is backed up

This is more of a precautionary thing to do. Now-a-days, most smart phones are able to carry over information like photos and contacts by signing in with your device/cloud specific ID. Before you start the process, back up your phone data to a cloud service or your computer for safe keeping.

You may not have to switch to another long-term plan

Take the opportunity to find the best phone plan for you. If you’re ready to try something new, a prepaid phone plan might be on the horizon for you. You can check out more information on prepaid plans
Hopefully some of these tips will help you the next time you’re looking to switch cell phone providers. If you’re considering switching phone plans, you’ll want to check out some of the great AT&T phone plans available.

This article is AT&T sponsored content written by Tiffani Anderson, a TechBuzz contributor. The statements in this article are her own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T. 


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