Is it possible to pause an ATT account and transfer the phone number?
May 6, 2015 11:11 PM   Subscribe

My company offers to cover our phone bill, however I'm currently on my family's plan. I've been grandfathered into unlimited data and I don't want to lose that. Is it possible to put my individual ATT account on hold, while leaving the rest of the family plan active, and still keep the same number either on an ATT individual account or another service provider?
posted by jsmith78 to Technology (7 answers total)
This is not directly answering your question, but could your company just reimburse you to use your personal cell phone? Wherever I have worked, I always had a choice to either use my own cell phone and be given $50 or so in my paycheck every month, or they will provide a phone to me. I always go with the reimbursement because I don't get many work calls and it's a hassle to have two numbers.

This article is old, but it seems you can call AT&T and ask them if you can freeze your account. You can claim you are traveling or something. The problem is, it sounds like there is a time limit and you will probably be at your job for longer than the time limit. AT&T mentions suspending cell service on their website here, but it says you still have to pay "monthly plan fees." Here is where you can apparently request it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:27 AM on May 7, 2015

Came here to say what AppleTurnover did. Last job I had that would pay for a cell, I didn't feel like changing my number, so just submitted my bill as part of my expenses every month.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:10 AM on May 7, 2015

I have ported a personal number to a company's corporate account before, so that when I got a job there they just took over paying for my old number. I believe both accounts (my personal account and the company's) were with Sprint. People transfer numbers into and out of family plans all the time; but I think what you're proposing is a step further. In fact it sounds like you're trying to do two different things: change your number and service over to a new account paid by a different person, but still keep aspects of that number--but not the number itself--with an old account.
posted by resurrexit at 7:00 AM on May 7, 2015

Also it is worth noting that AT&T tries very hard to make it easy for their reps to screw up your unlimited data and that any substantial change to your account can result in the plan being removed from your account. Once removed, for any reason, even if obviously their fault, it is nearly impossible to get it re-added.
posted by jgreco at 7:13 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Realistically probably not. But you won't know until you ask AT&T.
posted by samthemander at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2015

I'm fairly certain you can change the credit card that pays for the bill for that particular phone without changing the plan or number. The only thing that changes is the payment info. So, I'm pretty sure you could keep everything the same, but just have the bill paid by your company if that works for them. If you were thinking of doing that, I would talk with someone at an AT&T store about what specifically you should do to make that happen without changing your plan -- just be candid about what you are trying to do, and maybe let them know that you don't want to make the change that day so you don't feel any pressure. And maybe ask them how it would work if you don't have the new card present or just want a bill sent somewhere (since you may not have your company's physical credit card for them to swipe).
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:41 AM on May 7, 2015

I'm 99% sure that, no. You CAN transfer an unlimited account to someone else. Look up "assumption of liability/AOL". People do this all the time.

However, porting out a number closes that line. You can't port out a number then change the number on the previous line and keep unlimited data. I feel like they do this intentionally. It's possible to split an unlimited line from a family plan(search howardforums/slickdeals type places for MASSIVE threads on this sort of chicanery) if you get a knowledgable rep who knows how to work the system, but you can't split one off then merge it with something else. Especially a corporate mega-account that's already getting substantial discounts and weird deals.

I'm also fairly certain you can't "suspend" an unlimited account and restart it. And if you can, you'll run in to tons of reps who will either do it wrong or say you can't in the process. Jgreco really gets it right here, they set up their entire system to make it easy to disable accounts or change them in such a way that you use unlimited. My friend got a check from AT&T over this with the ipad unlimited data fiasco, and still has an unlimited phone plan(from BEFORE the original iphone) that they've continually tried to fuck up over the years.

What i will say though, is that my friend has a family plan independent of his company and the company simply applies a discount to the account(through an agreement with AT&T), and in some cases pays the rest of the bill. You should see if this is an option.

The cool thing about that setup is that while only the employees line gets paid off, the entire plan gets some percentage of discount and you get a fat discount on some accessories at the at&t store($9 brand name lightning cables and car chargers! 50% off cases!)

I actually know almost no one who gets a corporate phone anymore, you just get a discount or reimbursement. Be prepared to submit your bill and tons of info and maybe even authorize your account for your employer to talk to them though.

On preview, is it possible to "give" this line to someone in your family and get it back later if you leave the job? My friend is using her dads old-ass pre iphone unlimited verizon line while he uses his corporate number. That way you don't have to deal with suspending it and possibly losing it, just changing your number. They both found that reasonable.
posted by emptythought at 10:09 PM on May 7, 2015

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