People usually feel some kind of brand loyalty towards the companies they have been a customer of for the past decades. Sadly, the days of rewarded customer loyalty are now behind us, especially with phone carriers. There are countless cases of phone carriers raising prices on existing plans, year after year, while offering the same, or better plans to new users at lower prices. Switching carriers seems like a huge hassle to most of their customers - carriers know this and take advantage of it. This often hits seniors the hardest, since this demographic changes carriers least often. Many people don’t want to change the phone number that they have been using for years and just pony up the increasing rates. What’s important to know is that it actually is possible to retain your current phone number when switching to a cheaper carrier, both for landlines and mobile.
What can you do about it?
Don’t accept price increases that happen for no good reason. While calling your phone carrier and demanding a lower rate is a bit of a long shot - it sometimes pays off to try. When you do so, make sure to check the rates your carrier charges for new customers, by searching for their new plans on their website. A quick search online might be the fastest way to find their current offers to new customers.
A usually far more effective way of fixing this problem is simply by switching carriers. Some carriers will offer much better rates for the same size plan as you’re currently on. They do this because the focus is usually on acquiring new customers, instead of keeping existing customers happy.
Finding the cheapest reliable carrier can be a bit of a chore as it involves checking many different carrier websites, but it pays off in the end. Throwing dozens of dollars away every month is unnecessary and you can stop that from happening by simply spending half an hour of research and signing up for the new carrier.
How do you keep your phone number if you switch?
One of the most important reasons for people to be hesitant about switching carriers is the fear of losing their telephone number. There is a federal regulation called the LNP (Local Number Portability) for fixed lines and the FMNP (Full Mobile Number Portability) that requires phone carriers to reassign your old phone number to the new carrier. This is called Porting. Legally, your old carrier can’t stop you from taking your phone number with you when you move to a new carrier, even when you’re in debt with the old carrier. However, this only applies to the primary account holder of the plan, so if you’re on some kind of shared or family plan, make sure that the primary account holder makes the request.
You can port landlines, fax numbers, cell phone plans and prepaid numbers, even across states. Prepaid numbers can only be ported while the number is still active, if it has been deactivated due to lack of usage or top-ups it can no longer be moved. Your new carrier will happily guide you through the process of porting your old phone number.
How does porting work?
First of all - don’t cancel your old plan before signing up for a new plan and initiating the porting process. If you cancel before you start porting your number, you will most likely lose the opportunity to do so as the old carrier will deactivate it.
Once you decide on a new plan (do your research well by comparing plans and searching for reviews), contact the new carrier and ask them to guide you through the porting process. They will ask for some information. If you port a mobile number and want to keep your old device, make sure to find your device’s IMEI/ESN number. This is usually listed somewhere in your phone’s settings menu or on a sticker inside the battery cover. Your new carrier can help you find it if you describe the make and model to them.
Your new carrier will then get in touch with your old carrier to take over the phone number from them. Once the move is completed, your new carrier can cancel your old subscription for you. Make sure to ask them to do so.
That’s it, you’ll be saving some serious money while keeping your trusted old phone number!
We do recommend to search for multiple offers by multiple carriers in order to find the best plan in your area. It’s also highly recommended to read some reviews by other customers to learn from their experiences with these carriers.
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