Fix for bad port: two half-working sims with the numbers
August 5, 2022 9:04 AM   Subscribe

How to reconcile an incomplete port that has two different carriers' sims servicing the same phone number?

I'm desperate to merge a cross-carrier schism in order to regain normal function of my phone number, the ownership of which is important that I don't lose.

(Bear with me. There’s a third intermediary carrier involved, and I think this will make the most sense Memento-style.)


Present

* Mint
  • This is the carrier I'd like to use going forward.
  • What services work: all incoming and outgoing calls, SMS, and MMS/data—except for incoming calls and SMS from AT&T-serviced phone numbers.
  • Mint says that Mint's SPID owns the phone number. (Public third-party carrier lookups confirm.)
  • Mint says that no further transfer requests to port in this phone number can be made, as it is already active on account and showing as fully operational with Mint.
* Republic Wireless
  • This is the carrier I've been trying to transfer my phone number away from.
  • What services work: data, all outgoing calls, but only AT&T-serviced incoming calls and SMS.
  • Republic Wireless's lookup confirms T-Mobile (Mint's telecom servicer) owns the phone number.
  • However, the Republic Wireless service/account with this phone remains active, which Republic Wireless claims should not be possible without having the number's ownership. Republic Wireless says the number can't be ported in (because an account is active with it) and can't be ported out or even transferred internally (because Republic Wireless is not the owner).
  • Republic Wireless is adamant that the service/account should not be canceled or suspended, if I want the phone number retained. Otherwise, it would be released to the pool of available numbers in 90 days with no way to retain it, which would be likely to cause problems whenever it gets picked up by someone else.
Two weeks ago

* Mint
  • Mint made unsuccessful attempts to port in of the phone number using Republic Wireless's credentials.
  • Mint claimed a successful port in of the phone number using Red Pocket's credentials (see: “Red Pocket” sections below).
* Republic Wireless
  • In efforts to fix porting hang-ups to other carriers, Republic Wireless offered to first make an internal transfer of the number from the old "Legacy" service (e.g., version 4.0 and earlier, a "Broadband Inc." VOIP/landline system) to their latest offering, "5.0", backed by DISH/AT&T.
  • Republic Wireless shipped a new sim and claimed the internal port and new service activations were successful; the old Republic Wireless sim then ceased working.

Four weeks ago

* Mint
  • A Mint account was opened.
  • Many attempts were made to port in to Mint using both Red Pocket's and Republic Wireless's credentials; none worked.
* Red Pocket
  • The Red Pocket account was suspended in an attempt to mitigate potential interference.
* Republic Wireless
  • The Republic Wireless account and service remained fully functional, and Republic Wireless claimed there had been no successful port-out attempts for this number.
  • Republic Wireless claimed "Broadband" (the legacy telecom servicer) retained ownership of the phone number.
Six weeks ago

* Red Pocket
  • Red Pocket claimed that upon review the earlier port in was not fully "completed" but now was.
  • What services worked: data and outgoing calls only.
  • Red Pocket said that no further transfer requests to port in this phone number can be made, as it was already active on account and showing as fully operational with Red Pocket.
* Republic Wireless
  • The Republic Wireless account and service remained fully functional, and Republic Wireless claimed there had been no successful port-out attempts for this number.
Eight weeks ago

* Red Pocket
  • A Red Pocket account was opened.
  • Many attempts were made to port in to Red Pocket using Republic Wireless's credentials. Red Pocket eventually claimed the port in was successful, but no services yet worked using the Red Pocket sim.
* Republic Wireless
  • Toward the many port-out attempts, Republic Wireless offered various credentials.

At this point, the number of times I've sought support from these carriers must be in the three-figures. There was a whole lot of "have you tried turning it off and on again" of course, but the huge hurdle throughout has been reaching anyone at Republic Wireless who can understand and see and affect anything to do with legacy service (which is clearly being starved of resources). In the end, Republic Wireless's position is:
  • the only tool left available, which might get the Mint service/sim fully working, would be to cancel the Republic Wireless account;
  • but, if I want to keep the number, I should not cancel the Republic Wireless account.
I did file an FCC complaint a month ago, but is there anything else I can do?
posted by glibhamdreck to Technology (5 answers total)
 
Does your state have a utilities and telecom department you can complain to?
posted by kschang at 9:15 AM on August 5


This isn't so much a porting issue (Mint/T-Mobile owns your number now) as much as a call routing issue. Mint needs to raise a ticket with T-Mobile who needs to have a chat with AT&T about why the calls are failing.

If you can't get anybody to take ownership of the issue, your best bet is an FCC complaint.
posted by wierdo at 9:17 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


Here is what I would consider as a later option. It is not without risk.

Port you number from Mint to Google Voice. Get a new, random, number from Mint. Use GV to overlay your carrier so that no matter who is your carrier, you keep using your number.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:07 AM on August 5


My general rule of thumb is that asking for service from the old carrier is pointless. Those folks are treated as a pure cost center. So you want to deal only with Mint, because they have an incentive to help you. Just keep going up the chain there. Email the CEO if you have to. One other option is to switch to T-Mobile, which has excellent reception and more features than Mint for the same price. The advantage there is you can go to a T-Mobile store and demonstrate your problem for the staff. I have activated three eSIMs with T-Mobile Essentials and two of them were fully functional (number ported in, SMS, calls, etc.) in 15 minutes. It was so fast the call disconnected in the middle because I was already on the new carrier. The third port involved a family plan and a death and was a three week oddyssey. So your mileage may vary.
posted by wnissen at 2:15 PM on August 5


Nthing the idea to deal with Mint only. Ask them to open a ticket with AT&T to resolve the issue. _Somewhere_ in AT&T's network your phone's ESN/MEID is still identified as being connected to Republic Wireless. I am pretty certain the problem is in AT&T because that's, according to your post, the only network that sends calls or SMS to Republic. It's barely possible that it's an issue in Republic's database, since it sounds like they are using AT&T as a carrier, but I think AT&T is more likely. Can anyone you know using Republic make a call to your number and have it go through to your phone?

I _also_ think that Republic is wrong about cancelling your account. They have themselves verified that Mint owns the number, and you are receiving calls on your phone via Mint. You already have the number, it's not owned by Republic, so Republic cancelling the account should not affect ownership. How could cancelling Republic's account remove ownership from Mint? And if it does, then Mint has a beef with Republic.
posted by TimHare at 9:24 PM on August 5


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