How to switch phone carriers and keep your phone

How to switch phone carriers and keep your phone

There are a lot of cell phone providers to choose from and this means you have options if you are looking at changing carriers. Cell phone carriers want to make the transition seamless so they can easily recruit new customers. This means that something such as keeping your cell phone should be pretty simple, but there are a few things to consider before changing carriers. 

Can I bring my old phone to a new cell phone provider?

Absolutely in love with your old phone but not your provider? You might want to switch your cell service without the hassle of getting a new phone in the process. In most cases, you should be able to keep your phone and phone number when making the change, but there may be some exceptions. That said, most providers will allow you to check your number and phone eligibility on their website to make sure you can take both with no issues. 

Will switching cell phone providers save me money?

Switching providers is a common way to save money on your cell phone bill. It might be a good idea to check out less popular cell providers. It’s possible that they will have better deals, especially if you are considering switching cell phone carriers but keeping your old phone. Also, be sure to look for discounts with your current provider and wherever you plan on switching. It might be worth it to consider getting rid of your unlimited plan too. Contact your provider to see what makes the most sense based on your usage and needs. 

How to switch providers and keep your old phone

You’ve decided that switching cell phone carriers are the best option? Let’s look at the steps to make this happen. 

Compare the best deals

Before you make the switch, do your research. Who has the best deals? Who has what you need? You can compare carrier deals to make sure you are getting a good price and also look into their plans to make sure they are giving you everything that you need. 

Check your eligibility

If you really want to keep your phone, make sure it is compatible before you start the process. Not all phones can switch carriers even if they are “unlocked”. You can either check online or call the provider directly. Make sure to have your international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number, available to check. 

Unlock your current phone

If you have the all clear to switch, you need to unlock your phone. Here are the steps needed to unlock your current phone before changing carriers. 

Find IMEI again. The location on your device varies by the operating system. Go to your current provider’s website or call and tell them you need your device unlocked. Unlock your device. Directions will vary by provider, but once you follow these steps, your phone should be ready to switch. 

There may be some requirements to unlock your device depending on your carrier. T-Mobile for example limits the number of devices you can unlock in a 12 month period. When you call your provider, make sure to ask about restrictions on unlocking phones and switching your number. 

Back up your data

Your phone probably has some really important data in it. Make sure you back it up just in case something happens during the switch. You can use either your computer or various cloud services, depending on your operating system, to keep your personal information safe so you don’t lose anything. 

Gather your current account information

You’ve unlocked your phone and found a plan. Now you need to get your account information together from your old provider. This can be as easy as having a current bill handy. Your bill will have your plan features, prices, and usage information. It will also have your account number which you might need when switching over. 

Keep your phone number

If you want to keep your old number, it is best to wait to cancel the service. If you cancel service first then your number will likely lose your number. You will want to port, or switch, your phone number over to your new provider first. Phone number porting can take up to 24 hours but typically is a quick process. 

Call your old provider

When your number has successfully changed to your new carrier service is typically automatically canceled. It’s still a good idea to call your provider to tie up any loose ends. You will likely receive a final bill from your old provider also. 

Making the switch and saving money

Making the switch is a great idea, especially if you are attempting to save money. Another great way to save is by making the switch at the end of your billing cycle. This will keep you from paying for two services in one month. Your billing cycle varies so call your provider or check your bill if you are not sure of exactly when your billing cycle ends. 

Keeping your number is easy 

The process of switching cell phone providers and porting your phone number can seem daunting but overall the process is fairly easy. Once you confirm you can switch your phone and find a new provider that works for you, your new cell phone company will do most of the work for you. Phones are important, though they can be expensive. Keeping your number and simply switching carriers is a great way to save money.


Do I need my old phone to switch carriers?

No, you don’t have to keep your old phone to switch carriers but it can be a good money saver.

Can you keep the same phone when switching providers?

Most phones can be unlocked, information ported, and transferred to other providers but it is important to make sure you can before making the switch.

Can I use my old phone with a new carrier?

It depends. Sometimes your old phone will transfer but it might need to be unlocked through your old carrier.

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