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Can You Transfer a Prepaid Phone Number?


Many people wonder if you can transfer a prepaid phone number to another phone or carrier. Here are the steps you can take to successfully port a number.

Image of a person transferring a prepaid phone number

Mobile Number Portability (MNP), also known as Local Number Portability (LNP), is designed to allow users to transfer cell phone, mobile or cloud-based numbers from one carrier to another. While the process to port such numbers differs by carrier, there is one common denominator for all: You must be current on your cell phone bill. If you aren’t keeping up with your mobile number payments, you won’t be transferring your number anytime soon.

Now, if you ARE all caught up on your payments, you can certainly transfer a prepaid phone number. The process of transferring a number to another carrier is known as “porting” and it’s fairly straightforward/quick. Mobile numbers are probably the easiest of all numbers to port. I ported my mobile number about 2 years ago and it took less than an hour. You can even port a mobile number to use as a landline or use with an  answering service if necessary.

To transfer a prepaid phone number, you have to contact your new carrier and ask them what the process is to get your mobile number ported. But the instructions basically follow these steps:

  1. Contact your new carrier (perhaps Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile) and ask them what to do. Usually, they will direct you to a website that will ask you for personal information and walk you through the process. Or they can help you on the spot if you go into one of their stores. Be sure to ask them in advance if your mobile number works with their system. Some cell phones do not work across carrier networks because they are either GSM or CDMA technology. If your phone passes the test – you are ready to port.
  2. Keep your current service active while you initiate the transfer process with your new carrier. Do NOT cancel your current service until the port is complete.
  3. If necessary, prove that you are keeping up with your current carrier’s bills by providing a copy of a current bill. Then, sign your new carrier’s port request forms.
  4. WAIT. Some online transfers only take an hour or so. Some carriers can take anywhere from a week to a month to get a number ported. You’ll have to check back in frequently with your new carrier’s customer service department for updates.
  5. FIGHT! If your port request is denied (and there is a chance it will be) it is because of some silly documentation error. For example, they will deny your port request if the name on your current cell phone bill is “Larry R. Hudson” but the name on the port form you just signed says “Larry Hudson.” Yes, they will deny you because you left out your middle initial. Carriers will look for just about any reason to deny a port and it usually boils down to details on the paperwork. So be sure you have everything filled out completely and accurately and fight if it is rejected. You will eventually win and have successfully transferred your prepaid phone number.
  6. Once you number ports, THEN you can go back and cancel with your previous carrier. You will have to pay for both services for a very short time but this is the only way to effectively transfer a mobile number. Remember, your current carrier may not automatically cancel your service for you. You have to follow-up and officially cancel with them about half the time.

So there you have it. Yes, you can transfer a prepaid phone number, and these are the six steps you should take to do it.

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This entry was posted in Telecommunications and tagged , by Brian Gabriel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.