If you want to change your phone plan to a new carrier, but you don’t want to lose your current phone number, you need to go through a process called ‘Port-forwarding.’
All carriers offer this and most ask you when you’re signing up if you want to bring over your old number. That said, sometimes numbers get blocked from being transferred. To see if your number can or cannot be transferred, you can use this handy tool from Bell.
Another critical thing to remember is not to cancel your old phone plan until you’ve successfully gotten your old number moved over to your new carrier. If you cancel your plan, your old number goes back into circulation and you’ll lose it forever.
It’s also worth noting that your voicemail may reset during this process, so it’s smart to check it before you proceed. You also often need a copy of your old bill to make this process happen.
The easiest way to port your number is, of course, to call your new carrier or sign up in a store.
However, many carriers also offer a way to do this online when you get a new plan. Just keep your eyes peeled for a checkbox that says ‘Port forward.’ If you port your number online, you’ll be sent a temporary SIM card with a temporary number.
Once your new SIM card arrives in the mail, you can go online and activate it by logging into your new self-serve account to initiate the transfer. Once that happens, you’ll receive a text message from your old carrier (so make sure that your SIM card is still in your phone) to verify that you want to move your number to a new carrier. Accept this message, and the transfer process should begin. Once you notice that the old SIM card isn’t working, slide your new one into your phone and everything should be good to go. This also automatically cancels your old plan.
You can also check out each carrier’s own FAQ page to get a more in-depth sense of how to move your number to or from that carrier. Beyond that, there’s also a Mobile Number Portability website that makes it easy to input what carrier you’re coming from and what carrier you’re switching to.
Each of the big carriers’ FAQ page is also linked below: