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Verizon Prepaid = A 6 Month Lock on Switching Your Number to a Verizon Contract?
March 10, 2012 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Verizon and Google Voice experts: Which of these plans will be the best way to port my number? What can go wrong with these approaches?

Here's the deal. My (AT&T) smartphone died. I wanted to switch to Verizon. I didn't know what Verizon smartphone I wanted. So to cover me while I decided, I got a prepaid Verizon plan and a cheap phone.

I finally decided on the Droid Razr. It's $49.99 at Amazon Wireless for those getting new contracts. Great. I tried to order it. It says I can't port my number over. Why??

As best I can figure out, I can't port it anywhere because I'm not a "new Verizon customer." Verizon has some kind of firewall between prepaid and contract customers, but it doesn't apply in this instance. Verizon will still give me the "with a new 2-year contract" phone prices, but they won't let others give that to me, because I'm not a "new customer." (Never mind that the entire point was that I wanted to be a new customer but just take my time deciding.) For this phone, the price difference between Verizon and Amazon is $180.

My first idea was:
1. Buy a phone via Amazon and get a new number, then:
1a. Go to a store and have the old number transferred to that phone.

What I was told is that this would not work because that number is "locked in pre-paid for 6 months." What! I specifically did not get a contract because I specifically knew I was going to do this exact thing. Do you think that this warning is right?

Or, I could get a new number, then:
1b. Port my old number into Google voice and forward calls to this new number

Would that work?

My other idea is:
2. Port the number to a prepaid service with a different carrier, like MetroPCS or T-Mobile, for a few days. Then try again, and see if I'm now a "new customer" with Verizon. Would this be easy? I have an LG Extrovert. Oh, AND I want to trade the phone in to Verizon if possible.

I'm leaning toward 1b. Could something go wrong with this plan? I suppose if I don't like it, I could switch my number back to the cell phone after 6 months... right? Is there some other risk of switching my number to Google Voice that I'm missing? (Since I'm on a Droid, it seems that my Caller ID won't be a problem.)

Thanks for any advice. I've called Verizon four times already. Nobody seems to have answers.
posted by slidell to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Port my old number into Google voice and forward calls to this new number

Seems like the easiest thing, by far. It's what I do and I never worry about porting my number when changing carriers anymore.

People on HowardForums might have the inside scoop on what Verizon's policy on this is, but there's no reason to think that you will magically become a new customer just by switching to another carrier for a few days. I wouldn't count on it, in any case.
posted by grouse at 4:20 PM on March 10, 2012


Or just reach someone in Verizon who can take your number off the 6 month lock, then do your original Amazon plan. Somebody at Verizon can do it. I have no idea how to get through to such a person there.
posted by caclwmr4 at 4:26 PM on March 10, 2012


The way the law works with number portability is that all carriers are required by law to allow you to port your number from them. They aren't required to allow you to port numbers to them. So if Verizon won't port the number, go to a different carrier.
posted by empath at 6:31 PM on March 10, 2012


Thanks for the clarification on that, empath. I was just on the FCC page. It seems Verizon has a block on recent Verizon prepaids establishing contracts via third parties. That makes sense from the perspective of wanting that extra $180 for themselves.

I've pressed the button on the purchase with a new number. But I'm still interested in opinions about whether I should go straight to 1b (Google Voice) or try 1a first. Looks like Google Voice would save me $10/month on texting.
posted by slidell at 6:38 PM on March 10, 2012


I ported straight to GV (from Verizon), then after 2 months at a temp number @ metro pcs I got a new contract as a new customer with Vz and don't give a shit about my Vz number (although it is a decent one). So I did almost what you are saying in 1b
posted by AugustWest at 7:16 PM on March 10, 2012


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