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How long does it take to switch phone carriers? 

By Josh Levesque

Originally published March 8, 2024


Last Updated March 22, 2024

How long does it take to switch phone carriers?

So you’re thinking about switching to a new wireless provider, but you have some concerns. That’s perfectly normal. A lot of people take price into consideration when switching, wondering how much it will cost. But another factor that could impact when & why you switch is timing. How long does it take to switch phone carriers? Fortunately, moving from one carrier to another is (usually) much simpler than moving into a new house or even getting a new car. The timeframe tends to be pretty consistent for most subscribers. We’ll go over the average timelines and share some valuable tips on how to make the switch as smooth and fast as possible…just like the aforementioned new car.

In this article

How long should it take to switch phone carriers?

According to the FCC, bringing your phone number from one major wireless carrier to another should take just a few hours (at most) once the transfer request is received.* Depending on each individual’s circumstances, a simple port may take up to five days or in the very rare case, a few weeks (which can happen if incorrect account information is provided or an unauthorized user attempts a transfer). Here are a few factors that could delay that switching time: 

Your current contract

Double & triple-check any contract you have with your current carrier. If you’re financing your phone through them, there’s a good chance it’s locked to their network, and can’t be brought over to a new carrier just yet. 

Your billing info & transfer PIN

In order to bring your number to a different carrier, you’ll need to gather some information from your current carrier first. Your account number, billing address (with ZIP code) and number transfer PIN are required to process a number port. You may need to call your carrier to get the number transfer PIN (your carrier may call it something else, like porting PIN or account PIN), which could also be time-sensitive, so it’s best to plan accordingly.

Three Tips to Prepare to Switch
- Start early
- Locate your acct info & transfer PIN
- Communicate with both carriers]

Three tips to prepare to switch

Once you know for sure you’re ready to switch carriers, here’s what we recommend to ensure the switch goes smoothly: 

Start early

If you know you want to switch within the next month, you should start forming a game plan now. If you try to rush switching at the last minute, you may encounter some roadblocks or make a costly mistake that could cause you to lose service for a while…or lose your phone number forever.

Locate your account info & number transfer PIN

You need your account number, billing info and number transfer PIN in order to port your number to a new carrier. This info can be found in different places depending on your current carrier, and wouldn’t you know it — we’ve got another blog with steps on how to locate it. And if you’re switching from AT&T or Verizon, we’ve got separate blogs that can walk you through that too. Just know that the PIN they provide may be temporary, so we recommend waiting to get it until you’re ready to initiate the port request.  

Communicate with both carriers ahead of time

Check in with your current carrier and reach out to your new carrier to confirm all the necessary steps to switch between them. As we said, it’s usually pretty standard, but if you’re on an obscure carrier that only lets you port out during our moon’s waxing gibbous phase, that’s important information to have.

Ready to switch? 

If you’ve read this far, there’s a good chance you’re already pretty sure you want to switch carriers. However, if you’re still on the fence, check out our other blog for more help deciding if you should switch. And when you’re finally ready to switch things up, whether it’s to get better coverage, save more money or you’re just bored with your current carrier’s lack of a quality mascot, we’ve got plenty of reasons why Mint Mobile should be your next wireless destination.


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