Porting a Phone Number to T-Mobile
Porting a phone number to T-Mobile is the process of moving the number from the current carrier (losing carrier) to T-Mobile (winning carrier). This is not the same thing as call forwarding – where an inbound call is simply forwarded to a different number. With porting, the number becomes part of the winning carrier’s network.
- Porting a phone number to a wireless carrier such as T-Mobile is the simples of all port types.
- It requires no paperwork to be submitted as part of the port request.
- And it takes the lease amount of time – approximately 3 business days.
- Gather current account information for the carrier account where the new number is right now.
- Submit that information to T-Mobile. They will submit it to the losing carrier.
- Reprogram outbound caller ID on your wireless phone handset.
- Wait approximately 3 business days for the number to start working automatically.
- Carrier currently holding the number
- Account number
- Account PIN (not the voicemail pin)
- Name on account
- Address on account, including zip code
- Tax ID on the account – only necessary for an ATT Mobility port; T-Mobile does not ask for it.
Normally only the account number and pin will be required. But, once in in a while the T-Mobile rep may ask for the other details mentioned above.
You do not need to bring in any documentation. Just the information is sufficient.
PORTING FROM A LANDLINE CARRIER?
Also, if you are porting from a landline carrier, you will need to have T-Mobile submit the name and address on the losing carrier’s account in the port request. However, T-Mobile removed, for some unknown reason, the name and address fields on their port request interface given to their in store and over the phone representatives. The result is that the request will bounce for “wrong” account information. Or T-Mobile will not get any kind of a response. This added step is a hard requirement that most landline and even VOIP carriers have in order to more firmly put number security into place. In this case, you will need to contact the Landline Casework Department at the number listed at the end of this article.
SUBMIT INFORMATION TO T-MOBILE
If you have a spare T-Mobile SIM card, or if you will be replacing the number on an existing SIM card, call 611 SEND or call the T-Mobile Number Transfer Center at 877-789-3106 on your T-Mobile handset, or optionally go into an T-Mobile store to initiate the port request. If you are opening a new account, or are adding a line to an existing account but do not have a new SIM card, you will need to to to a store.
You must have an unlocked handset (able to work on any network in order to perform the port).
NEW LINE OR EXISTING LINE?
The T-Mobile representative will ask you if you want to port your new number to an existing line (i.e., replace an existing phone number) or to a new line. If it is to a new line, you will need to have a new line added to your T-Mobile account first. T-Mobile may provide you with a temporary number just for this purpose. The temporary number will be replaced by your new number when the porting process completes. It does not matter which area code the temporary number is in.
If you are porting your new number to an existing line, you will be porting the new number “over top of” the existing number – which means you will lose the old/current number permanently. So if you need to keep the old number, then open a new line for the new number. You may want to consider using call forwarding from the old number to the new number so you don’t miss any calls.
T-Mobile does not charge a fee for porting a new number in, but they generally charge about $20 for a new SIM card. There may also be an activation fee if you are adding a new line or are starting a new line on a new account. Ask them if they could waive the fee. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.
If you are porting your new number over top of an existing one, your existing 2 year contract period will not be restarted. So if you have, for example, 5 months left on your contract, only the 5 months will be left on the line after your port request goes through. But confirm this with your representative just to make sure a mistake is not made.
PROGRAMMING YOUR PHONE
Unlike with Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile does not need to program the phone handset. The intelligence of what the telephone number is and will be is transmitted to the handset through the SIM card, and not the handset such as in Verizon Wireless.
WAITING FOR THE PROCESS TO COMPLETE
If your number is being ported from another wireless carrier, the acknowledgement and approval of the port request by the losing carrier can usually be instantaneous.
That is because the FCC has required there to be automated porting systems between carriers.
Hence, a wireless-to-wireless port will normally take less than 24 hours to complete, including over the weekends. However, it might take only 5-10 minutes.
If your number is being ported from a landline or VOIP carrier this will normally take about 3-4 business days (not calendar days).
This is because landline/VOIP carrier port-out departments do not work weekends, and their porting systems are not automated to the same degree that wireless carrier porting departments are.
Your T-Mobile representative may incorrectly estimate that the port will take 24 hours or less if they are not familiar with landline/VOIP ports.
Conversely, a representative may tell you that the port may take 5 days, 10 days or even 15 days. This will be incorrect as well. The representatives may simply want to overestimate the port times so that they do not falsely set your expectations to the short side.
FIRM ORDER COMMITMENT DATE (FOC DATE)
If the losing carrier is a landline or VOIP carrier, you can contact T-Mobile after one to two business days (not calendar days) to get an FOC date. The FOC date is the port date that the losing carrier has scheduled your number to port to AT&T Mobility. (They are also given the planned time of day for the port, however you will rarely be offered that information).
ONCE THE PORT IS COMPLETED
Your new number will automatically start to work on your handset once the port has completed.
You will normally get a text message from T-Mobile to let you know that the port request is complete and the number is now functioning on the new handset, though not always.
However, be aware that, even then, it is not guaranteed to be fully functioning properly; this can take another day or two as explained in the next point.
This is something T-Mobile rarely tells you but is important. Sometimes during the 24-48 hour period after a port is “complete” some inbound calls may still get routed to the losing carrier even while outbound calls will be functioning normally. This period is called a Dual Service or Mixed Service period. It can happen because it may take a day or two for all of the primary switches in the telephone network to be reset so that all inbound calls get routed to the correct carrier and handset. This rarely happens, but, unfortunately, it can happen while the change works its way through the multiplicity of carrier systems involved. There is no benefit to contacting T-Mobile about this problem unless it lasts for longer than 2 days.
Text messaging capabilities can sometimes take up to 3 business days longer to begin functioning normally. There is no need to contact T-Mobile about this unless it has been longer than 3 days after your new number has begun working with voice service.
USEFUL CONTACT INFORMATION
611 SEND may be used to reach the T-Mobile customer service department from your T-Mobile phone.
To check to see whether a number is eligible to be ported into your T-Mobile service, go the following link: https://www.t-mobile.com/switch/
To get the FOC date, you will still need to call the porting department.
You can reach the T-Mobile Number Transfer Center at 1-877-789-3106. If you are porting from a landline carrier and are experiencing difficulty with the port, ask them to connect you to the Landline Casework Department. They will definitely be able to help out.