Porting a phone number in conjunction with a change of employer
February 9, 2015 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I need help figuring out the best way to make sure I don't lose my current wireless number when I change employers.

Currently, my cell phone number is on AT&T, with a phone owned and paid for by my current employer. Soon I'll be leaving this employer to take a job at New Employer. After I start, New Employer will supply me with and pay for a new phone on Verizon.

Employer A is willing to release liability for the phone number to me (and it's no longer under contract); they say that this process takes 5 to 7 days from when I initiate the request. They will be taking back the phone itself when I leave the job.

What's the most foolproof way for me to eventually end up with my current phone number on my new phone at employer B?

If it's helpful, I have at my disposal an unused phone locked to AT&T (though it takes a different SIM size than my employer A phone). Or perhaps I could use a third party service like NumberGarage, but they require a copy of the most recent bill, which I do not have access to). We can assume that Employer B is cooperative, once I start there.
posted by Prawn to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It might be best to walk into a verizon store and explain the situation and how best to go about getting your number ported.
posted by royalsong at 7:35 AM on February 9, 2015

HowardForums is my goto on the web for this type of question. They have a Verizon forum frequented by people who (claim to) work for Verizon, and give good advice from what I've seen.
posted by Alterscape at 7:41 AM on February 9, 2015

Presumably you'd want to keep this number if/when the time came to leave New Employer also? So why not port the number to something like Google Voice where you will own it, can use it and won't have to go through this process again.

Because if you end up porting the number to your new employer's account, they will now own the number.

I held on to my work cell phone number by porting my personal number to Google Voice and then the work number to Ting (a Sprint MVNO).

You would need Employer A's billing address, account number and PIN to initiate a number port.
posted by eatcake at 7:45 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

In Australia, you can just call, or get on the website of [provider of your choice], sign-up/request a SIM card, and they'll ask if you want to bring your existing number with you. The number still works for the few days it takes for the SIM to arrive in the mail. You then make another phonecall to new provider, they flip a switch and tell you to swap the new SIM in, then you're ready to go. They say to give it 10-15 mins, but it's pretty instant in my experience.

Or, yeah, just walk into a store and say you want to port your number.
posted by quinndexter at 7:47 AM on February 9, 2015

2nd-ing Google voice.

Port your number to google voice, and then for subsequent jobs have two numbers -- the number your company puts on your work phone and the Google voice number that will forward to your work phone. This is the best way to do it if keeping your number is important to you for your non-work life because if you are suddenly let go or have frustrating bureaucracy, you'll always own your number and can access it on your desktop through the browser.
posted by tinymegalo at 8:06 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've done this, although in Canada but the technology is the same as the US. What I did was transfer the number to me, not my new employer. Then it's mine for life. It took about 15 minutes over the phone with the new cellular provider.

All I needed was an email from someone in authority over phones at my old employer to allow the number to be transferred to me. Note: Make sure all liabilities are paid up before transferring the number or they may become your problem. So make sure that your old employer has paid the account in full prior to transfer. Then call the provider and bam you're done.

Once the number is your make a deal (in writing) with your new employer to cover your monthly phone costs and the cost of a new handset and that's it.
posted by Zedcaster at 2:23 PM on February 9, 2015

PS Since the number actually rests with the SIM card, buy your own SIM to fit the new phone just to make sure you are covered on the ownership issue.
posted by Zedcaster at 2:25 PM on February 9, 2015

Nthing Google Voice, best $20 I ever spent.
posted by lootie777 at 5:29 PM on February 9, 2015

In the end, the process that worked well was:

1. Old employer releases liability for the phone number with AT&T.
2. Before end of current billing cycle, I call AT&T and add the number to my personal AT&T account (without causing a new contract to start).
3. Go to AT&T store and get a new SIM for the unused phone, and transfer the service from the old phone (owned by old employer) to my unused phone.
posted by Prawn at 1:45 PM on March 11, 2015

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