Two different markets' area codes, family plan possible?
February 26, 2007 9:09 PM   Subscribe

Will any of the wireless phone service providers allow you to do a Family Plan if you want to port into such a plan numbers from two different metropolitan statistical markets? (Cingular will NOT). Thanks!
posted by skepticallypleased to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I actually did this last year with T-Mobile. When I moved from Chicago to Portland, I wanted to get a local number and still keep my Chicago cell phone for a while, so I signed a new contract for a Portland phone and worked with one of their CSRs to bundle my original Chicago plan and cell number together with it as a family plan (in this case, that meant basically paying $10 additional to have both phones sharing a single plan with expanded minutes). I kept that plan for about six months before finally dropping the Chicago number (which was off contract already) and falling back to a standard contract on my remaining line.

This kind of deal is not advertised or documented anywhere on T-Mobile's website, and the first time I inquired about it I was told it was not possible. As a matter of fact, as I was shopping this question around, I was advised by more than one wireless vendor that there was no way to put numbers from two different markets into a single plan. However, T-Mobile certainly could and did put it together for me after a few calls to their customer service department (and a bit of persuasion).

This is the kind of thing that may well depend on who you get on the phone (or in a store) on any given day - just like anywhere else, you'll find that some representatives are more sympathetic than others and more willing to work with you on this. If you get a "No" the first time, with T-Mobile or anyone else, try them again or escalate it up to a supervisor. Be polite but insistent. It may also depend on how long you've been with your current vendor and whether you're under contract or not (i.e., how badly your vendor wants to keep your service and how much they stand to gain from working with you on this).

Good luck - I hope you get it worked out.
posted by herichon at 9:52 PM on February 26, 2007

I've been doing this for years with T-mobile. At times I've had San Francisco, Boston, and Floridia numbers on the same account. Currently, I have a Boston and a Florida number on the same account. It never once seemed to be a problem to anyone I dealt with.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:23 AM on February 27, 2007

I can tell you Verizon will not -- my family tried to do Boston (me) and Ohio (them) and they said the way their computer systems are set up, it was technologically impossible. I don't know if I completely buy that, but it was the standard answer from everyone we talked to.
posted by olinerd at 3:59 AM on February 27, 2007

Despite olinerd's experience, my grandfather was tacked onto my parent's Verizon family plan last year. He lives two area codes over (we're all in the Chicago area) and it didn't cause any troubles.
posted by quadrinary at 7:07 AM on February 27, 2007

My sister lives in Columbia, MO, and the rest of us live in the Twin Cities, MN, and we have a family plan with Sprint. We've never had any trouble, but as herichon pointed out, it may depend on who you talk to. The person you talk to may tell you you can't do such a thing simply because a) they are less experienced and maybe don't know how to set up such a thing b) doesn't have the authority to make an exception for you, or some other reasons. What I think you ought to do is find out which company you would rather go with provided that they can give you such a plan. Then find out which companies will actually give you such a plan. Go to your first overall choice, ask the associate lots of questions, make them expend some effort trying to get you to sign up with them. Then if they tell you no, tell them that you'll have to go elsewhere. Ask to talk to the next person up to see if they can do anything. If they still say no, walk away. If you really want that company anyways, come back later.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 9:12 AM on February 27, 2007

My family has a plan with Sprint with three different area codes, all at least 300 miles apart.
posted by sulaine at 11:39 AM on February 27, 2007

Cingular has. My family plan includes me in one city, my parents and brother near another city, and my grandmother near a third city. I would follow gauchodaspampas' advice, but now you can go in knowing it is definitely possible with Cingular.
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:06 PM on February 27, 2007

Probably too late to answer but...

Verizon allows it depending on if the two locations are both within the same billing system. If the numbers are located in the same location Western United States, Northeast/Midwest, or the Southeast you can share between. If the numbers cross those areas you can't.

Cingular probably has similar limitations considering they are a conglomeration of various companies and billing systems.

T-Mobile and Sprint both use a single billing platform and allow this from what I understand.
posted by Octoparrot at 7:45 PM on February 27, 2007

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