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Can I keep my number if I switch carriers?

By Josh Levesque

Originally published March 6, 2024

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Last Updated March 30, 2024

A phone with text reading "Can I keep my number if I switch carriers?"

So you’re ready to bid farewell to your current wireless carrier. While there are things you’re probably excited to leave behind (monthly bills, poor coverage, excessive fees), there’s at least one thing you want to keep with you: your phone number. Nobody likes having to tell everyone in their contacts that their number has changed. So if you’re asking yourself, “Can I keep my number if I switch carriers?,” the good news is the answer is “yes;” wireless carriers cannot keep you from taking your number with you. It’s a relatively simple process called “porting out,” and we’ll walk you through it below.

In this article

What does number porting mean?

Porting a phone number is when you take your phone number from your current carrier and bring it to your new carrier, so your wireless plan changes but your phone number doesn’t. It’s kinda like taking the license plates off your current vehicle and putting them on a new one, so you don’t have to learn a new license plate. Most carriers allow porting your number to them…in fact, many of them encourage it.

Tips for Keeping Your Number
Don’t cancel your current plan ✔️
Port the primary account holder last ✔️
Don’t forget your number transfer PIN ✔️

Tips for keeping your number when switching phone carriers

There are a few important things you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re planning to switch from your current wireless carrier to a new one if you want to keep your phone number.

Don’t cancel your current service until after you’ve ported out

This is the most important part. If you cancel your current service before fully transferring the number to your new carrier, you will lose your number. Once an account has been canceled, the number returns to the pool of available numbers and cannot be retrieved. And if that number has been ported in the past, it will “snap back” all the way to its original carrier.

The primary account holder may need to complete the port out

If you’re an authorized user on a family plan, you may need to have the primary account holder initiate the port request for your number, or separate yourself from the family plan before you can initiate your own port out. Be sure to look into your current family plan to confirm any and all port restrictions. If you’re porting out the whole family, make absolutely sure you port the primary account holder’s number last. Depending on your current carrier, porting the primary account holder’s number first may result in delaying the transfer of the other numbers, or worse — losing the other numbers on your account altogether. 

Have your current account number and number transfer PIN ready

In order to port your number from your current carrier, you’ll need your full account number, billing address (with ZIP code) and number transfer PIN. If you need help finding this stuff, we have more blogs that explain how to switch it up with any carrier, especially if you’re coming from AT&T or Verizon. You may need to contact your current carrier for the number transfer PIN (and they may call it something else, like your account PIN or porting PIN). Also, the number transfer PIN they provide may be temporary, so we recommend waiting to obtain it until you’re ready to initiate the port request.

Before you switch, don’t ditch your digits

Now that you know the answer to “Can I keep my number when I switch carriers?,” you can confidently make the switch from your current carrier without losing your current number. Still deciding where to bring that number of yours? Mint Mobile offers an introductory plan for new customers for $15/mo for three months* ($45 total, equivalent to $15/mo) on the nation’s largest 5G network. We’ve also got a Care Team that can help you along the way (although you’re now a number porting pro, so you may not need ‘em). And if you’re also wondering. “How long does it take to switch carriers?,” “Should I switch carriers?,” or how to switch phone carriers with paying…we’ve got you.

*New activation and upfront payment for 3-month plan req’d. Taxes and fees extra. Addt’l restrictions apply. Unlimited customers using >40/GB will experience lower speeds. Video streams at ~480p.

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