How to Switch Your Cell Phone Number From Verizon Wireless to AT&T Cingular

I hope to blog a bunch about my new Blackberry Curve (8300) phone, but before I do that I want to explain the process for moving your cell phone number from Verizon to AT&T.

I ordered my phone off Amazon, and there weren’t great instructions on how to handle this, so here goes:

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  1. Do NOT cancel your Verizon account. You tell AT&T that you’re moving and they handle it. Be aware that if you cancel your Verizon account yourself, you will probably lose your phone number.
  2. After you recieve the phone, put in the SIM card (which was new to me since Verizon doesn’t use them) turn the phone on. The phone will be live on a new cell phone number. This is temporary and you won’t really be using it at all.
  3. Call AT&T’s sales line. (1-888-333-6651) I did this from a seperate land-line phone so I could have the device in front of me.
  4. Tell the sales person you are a brand new customer switching from Verizon and would like to port your number over. The sales person will hear this and treat you with kid gloves and conference you to someone in AT&T’s “porting department.” Be sure to tell the sales person you are porting a number to replace the number assigned to your new account.
  5. You need to have your Verizon account number handy. Get this off of one of your Verizon billing statements, or sign into your Verizon Wireless online account. From there you can view a PDF of your most recent bill which will have your account number on it. It will be something like: 465879123-00001. The AT&T Porting service representative won’t need the -00001 part, just the first part. The representative may also ask your last 4 social security digits, etc.
  6. The AT&T representative will submit the port request to Verizon. Magically, before your very eyes your your new Blackberry Curve (or other cellular device) will now make calls on your old number that you’re keeping. Meanwhile, your new device will not be able to recieve calls to your old number. Those calls will be routed to your old phone.
  7. Supposedly it can take a few hours to reconcile your old number to recieve and make calls from your new phone. In reality, it took just under eight minutes. When everything is done you’ll recieve a text message saying: “S: Port In or Within Complete Welcome! Your phone is now ready to receive calls. Bienvenido! Su telefono esta listo para recibir llamadas.”
  8. You’re done.

I actually don’t know how Verizon handles the end of your billing with them, I’m assuming it is pro-rated but I can’t say for sure. I’ll update this post once I find out. Finally, the FCC has a page that explains your rights for moving a phone number between carriers. see here for official details about phone number “porting” or saving your old phone number.

62 thoughts on “How to Switch Your Cell Phone Number From Verizon Wireless to AT&T Cingular”

  1. Rob after you got all that setup and complete, (once your curve made and recived calls) did you then have to call and cancel your verizon account? Or will verizon just keep billing you till you close the account that way they make more money? My contract thur verizon has ended a few months ago if that makes a difference.

  2. Hey Ash, Verizon will send you a final bill and close your account. If your contract is over there is no charge. If you are still in contract you will probably pay for ending it too soon.

    The point is that no matter what your Verizon account will be closed by AT&T. For this reason it is a good idea to listen to any voicemail that you had saved on your old account before completing this process.

  3. This was a huge help in getting my number ported over. Behold the power of google and tech bloggers in finding an exact walkthrough of what I wanted to do!

    Thanks!

  4. Thanks again! Just a caveat – I ported a number between states and was annoyed – but not in a huge way – to learn that the SIM card they sent wouldn’t work. They had to give me a new one at an ATT store or send it, but it is a bit of a process if they do have to do that – if you are porting between states, it’s easiest to just go snag a SIM card for free at any ATT branded store. (Just tell them you’re porting – apparently they know about this.)

  5. Hi,
    i know this question is probably stupid, but i’m asking anyway. When you ordered the blackberry on Amazon did you buy the phone with the contract, or JUst the phone? If it was with the at&t contract, did it come pre-assigned with a phone number?
    thanks,
    Berrycurious

  6. @berrycurious: I did buy the phone from Amazon with a two year contract. It did come with a pre-assigned phone number, but I gave that up the moment I ported over my existing phone number on Verizon.

    Thanks to everyone else for mentioning this helped them. Makes the writing worthwhile to me.

  7. Hi Rob –
    Like everyone else said, thank you sooooooo much for this step-by-step rundown of how to port your number from a verizon phone to an at&t phone. It’s really helpful!
    I have 2 questions:
    1. did at&t start your billing cycle when you started using the phone (after you ported your number) or did they start your billing cycle right when you bought the phone from amazon?
    2. i just received my phone in the mail but i can’t port my number for another week because that’s when my verizon account ends. do you know if there’s any type of penalty for porting your number a week or 2 after you receive your phone from amazon?
    Thanks again!!!

  8. Hey Jean,

    I’m glad this was helpful to you.

    1. I believe that the AT&T cycle did not begin until I called and performed the port–although I can’t remember for certain now. I did the port soon after receiving the phone.

    2. This is a good question. I can’t see any reason why porting it late should incur an additional cost to you. AT&T wants you as a customer very badly, it has cost them quite a bit to get you to this point. I would be very surprised if as a new customer they would assess you fees for waiting two weeks to move over.

    Please write back your finding’s though, they may help someone else.

    rob

  9. Hey Rob,

    Thanks for this. Did Verizon charge you an early termination fee? And was it pro-rated.

    I want to switch to AT&T… but dread paying 175 or so bucks to VZW.

    I have about a month to go on my two year contract…

    J

  10. Hi Rob

    I was wondering if you know how I would do this with a family plan account where I have 2 phone #s. One for my wife and one for me. Since I am the primary # on the account and my wife is the secondary # should I switch her # over first? I think if I switch my # over first the account will be canceled immediately with o access to the secondary # afterwards. Do you think I can switch one # over at a time or is this going to be a lot more tricky if I want to keep both old #s? Thanks any advice would be appreciated.

    Dharma

  11. Dharma,

    I am not sure the best way to handle this. I recommend that you call AT&T and ask them to guide you through it. If you wouldn’t mind coming back and posting your findings, I’m sure it would be a good contribution to the web.

    Regards,

    Rob

  12. Rob,
    I will gladly post a reply but my contract is not up until August 08 and I think I will wait it out for the new iphone. I will definitely post how I did it when I do though. I think I will also call at&t and see what they say.
    Thanks,
    Dharma

  13. Is it possible to transfer all of your contacts/numbers over to your new AT&T phone too? Or do you need to manually do this?

    What about pictures/videos on my old Verizon phone? Can they be switched over too?

    Thanks!

  14. i tranfered my number from verizon at&t said it would be a couple hours till i could recive calls well its been a couple of hours and keep calling from my home phone and reciving my old phone message from verizon should i wait it out or is there a way around this without going to customer service

  15. Will my Verizon prorate my bill when I change? My contract is up on July 3 and I plan to purchase a new iPhone on July 11 (or when I can) and switch to ATT at that time. I am concerned about how Verizon will handle the billing.

  16. I have 4 lines thru Verizon. I want to change to ATT because we travel overseas quite often and want to use the GSM phones in other countries. I know I need a 4 band phone and have to purchase a new SIM for each country but I am looking for advice from users who have switched for similar reasons. I will likely be hit with $175 ETF for each line for a total of $700. I spend about $22o a month on my wireless bill. I plan to ask ATT for some breaks.

  17. Coco,

    I am in the same position. My contract with Verizon just ended and my current billing cycle ends July 9th, which means for two days I have to either go without a phone or buy a used phone and switch over now. Once the phone number is working on AT&T, I’ll cancel with Verizon.

    I assume, since I am bringing my own phone to AT&T and not be on contract, that I will be eligible to buy a 3g iPhone.

  18. I have a family plan (3 lines) on verizon. My contract does not end until dec. 26, 2008. Is it possible to keep the contract and change one of the phone numbers on my contract and switch it over to At&T. My plan is to keep all three lines, but change one number. Any ideas?

    The reason for doing this is because my sister will be taking over my plan and my phone number is very important to me. Any thoughts?

    Thanks everyone!

    Steven

  19. Hi,

    I’m in a similar situation. I’ve a family plan with Vzn that expires in December ’08 and I plan to switch to ATT with iPhones. I wonder if there is any way to avoid paying any penalty for early termination of the contract. Or will I have to wait till december. I’ve no problems in my number changing.

    Someone told me that I can convert my current plan to vzn’s bare minimum one and let it finish off paying my way thrugh. This means paying for two contracts if I decide to start ATT straight away. Is there any other way out?

    Thanks in advance.

    VB

  20. Yea, I am just in the same process. If you port you verizon number to ATT before you contract is up they will charge you the early termination fee. That is what the guy from verizon said. So in my case I have to keep my verizon number, until the contract ends, meanwhile I will have my new ATT phone with a different number.

    The only thing I can think of for keeping you same number is waiting until you verizon contract expires.

    I hope that was a help…

    -martin

  21. My contract with Verizon expires 8/14/08 and I am considering switching to AT & T, but I live in Boca Raton, Florida and years ago was with AT & T and experienced lots of dropped calls so I switched to Verizon. Anyone out there live in South Fl. to give me their opinion on the services will be appreciated. Thx.

  22. I just switched from verizon to an iphone. I was way out of my contract so there were no fees. But when I called to cancel my Verizon account, I was told I cant, because I ported my number, my account is automatically being deleted at the end of the month. But with verizon, the main part of your bill is for the NEXT month not the LAST month. In other words they are making me pay for the next two weeks of service even though I have no phone that will even work with them. I told them in that case I want my account cancelled right away. They said they couldn’t. Is it true that they can’t?

    I had the idea that I’d call back, tell them I want my phone working again with a new number so I can use it until the end of the month. And once they get it working again, I’d tell them to NOW cancel my account immediately. Do they always make you wait till the end of the month before your account is cancelled, or is that just for ported numbers?

    Thoughts?
    I know it’s only about $20 that they are ripping me off for, but still I could use $20.

  23. I just called them up, talked to a supervisor. They “can’t” close an account, so I have to pay for my service even though I don’t actually have service since I have no working phone. But I haven’t paid my second to last bill yet so I’m just going to pay $20 less than whats due and go from there.

  24. im so glad i found this site! i just got a new phone today and apparently it didnt work ith verizon so i switched over to AT&T. and now i have to wait to get my phone from at&t. hopefully by this weekend.

    the thing im worry about is that i have a family plan with two other lines. I can just switched my number and keep the rest with verizon right? since my brother will taking over it.

    i know im going to have to pay a fee since i had my line for only 8 to 9 months but my brother and my mom had for almost two years. but they arent the one switching over so i hopethe fee isnt too high. like 175! thats just too much.

  25. Hi, thank you very much for this information.
    but I am wondering about the deposit money-$400- that I deposit to have my own verizon account.
    Can I get that money back? if so how..?

  26. Hi Rob
    I have 5 lines with verizon family plan my kids want Iphones for xmas
    The plan is not up for another year.
    I heard it was $200 to buy back your number from Verizon, is there a limit on that or anyway out of it.
    Thanks

  27. I’m on the phone making the switch as I type. Just wanted to add to this great step by step instruction. There’s a direct phone number to the “porting” department. It is 888-898-7685. This save the wait time to get to a sales person to make the switch. Thanks Rob for a great instructional. I had every thing in front of me when I made the call and it went smoothly.
    Also I am the lead account holder on my Verizon account with 5 lines, all with different renewal dates. I wanted an iphone so bad that I made the switch paid $100 early termination, but the other accounts are intact.

  28. I use AT&T, and want to transfer my AT&T phone number to a Verizon phone that has no SIM card. Is this possible without activating a Verizon account? I just want to use the new cell phone.

  29. OK, here we go. I live in Taos, NewMexico. I have an ATT phone from Alaska. I want a local phone number. Taos is not on the ATT network. I want an Iphone, but because I don’t live in an ATT area, I can’t get one. Here is my question:

    If I buy a Verizon phone and contract and port the number over during the first 30 days, will I still not be obligated to Verizon and, more important, will I be able to use the local number I acquired through Verizon on an Iphone that I would have purchased in the mean time?

    Thanks in advance.

    Timm

  30. Beware Verizon

    I’ve just moved 2 lines from Verizont to AT&T, we are 5 months out of contract. Everything went smoothly until we called Verizon to be sure our account was closed.
    As some others have mentioned, they plan to bill us for an additional 3 weeks until the end of our current billing cyle. They say that was the terms of our agreement, that there is no pro rated termination. In other words, they are always guaranteed one extra month of service charge ($58 in our case), even though our phones are disabled.

    And some people wonder why there are so many class action suits. I mean, really, they agree they are not providing a service but can’t “cancel an account”.

    michael

  31. my son has a at&t blackberry curve he sat on it and it broke I have a blackberry curve that use to be with verzion can we use this phone. i do not have a contract with verzion

  32. Can someone help? I am on a family account through Verizon wireless. Today, I ordered a new 3Gs Iphone from ATT online. They asked me if I wanted to keep my number which of course I do. I received confirmation that the “porting” of my old number would be completed this evening. Then I got another message that my new phone would not be shipped for 7-14 days. Does a confirmed ported number mean no phone access at all until I receive my new phone?

  33. Im currently on a family plan with my folks on verizon. i was wondering if just I could separate from verizon and switch over to att, without them having to cancel the whole family plan. the whole whil me still keeping my number.

  34. You will need to have your new phone for the number transfer. Here’s what I did to switch from Verizon to AT&T with four phones. I ordered two Samsung phones from Amazon. Along with the Amazon shipping notice, AT&T sent me an email with new assigned numbers. I wanted to keep the old numbers, so I went to a local AT&T store after I got the package, and that was one day after my contract end date. A technician in the store transferred all contact lists from my old Verizon phones to the new phones, then canceled the newly assigned number and transferred my old phone numbers to the new phones. I then went to the Apple store to add two iPhones to my new AT&T family plan, of course with the old numbers. It was that easy and smooth. AT&T people are so professional!

  35. Please help! Anyone! If I switch from Verizon to AT&T will I lose all my text messages on my old Verizon phone?

  36. I have a Verizon plan and want to move the number to AT&T to an iPhone. I also want to keep the Verizon account active with a new number until the contract expires – any suggestions on how to get a new number on the Verizon account?

  37. hi Rob,
    thatnks for the information you’ve provided… this is great! I want to switch from verizon to at&t. Could you please tell me if it better to talk to an at&t representative over the phone or at a store to switch my carrier.

    thanks

  38. Might be a little late but maybe helpful to future searchers. I tried to switch over to AT&T buy purchasing a Refurb IPhone from AT&T.com and when I submitted the order it kept getting cancelled. Spoke with their customer support who could not tell me why it was being cancelled, they suggested I visit a store.

    I had Verizon, was porting over two numbers who were eligable, and adding a third phone/new line. We went to an AT&T store, the Rep was very helpful and got through the whole process in maybe 30 minutes. The only downside is I ended up buying a new IPhone, instead of the Refurb, so spent a little more money then I wanted too. I’m not sure what happened with trying to do it online, unless maybe they were out of stock and hadn’t updated the website yet.

    I’ll have to see how long it takes for Verizon to cancel the account. We just paid the bill for costs through the end of the year (12/31) so I’m not sure how much overlap there will be.

  39. Here’s my problem, I am in a bit of pickle, I have had my iphone 3G for the last 2 years and it’s been great. It’s my understanding that Apple has a new software update coming out called OS 4 and it’s supposed to be adding some new bells & whistles to the Apple iPhone. I actually just bought Verizon’s new HTC Incredible the HTC Incredible and it is a great phone, way better than the iphone 3gs, BUT I’m hearing that Apple is going to be coming out with a completely new iphone altogether, and it’s supposed to be really nice but no one has any ideas as to when and Apple isn’t saying a thing. Should I keep my HTC Incredible, that I have 30 days to test and send it back if I do not want to keep it, or should I give it back, keep my current apple iphone and wait for the release of the new iPhone- tough to make up my mind.

  40. One final note here: If you are planning on selling your old Verizon phone, Verizon will give you the run around about how the port of your phone, on their end, does not actually complete until the end of your current billing cycle. I sold my phone and later found out that it would not be able to be active for a week because the ESN was still tied to that number. This makes no sense given that my number is now being used by the AT&T phone and the Verizon phone is no longer in service. I have an aircard with Verizon but they take the chance to tell me of their discontent with my switch every chance they get. They would also not allow me to switch the ESN to an old phone I had because it was “still in the port process”. So, just be aware of this. Suffice to say, the buyer of my phone is not pleased with waiting a week.

  41. I have verizon now and 3 phone nation wide plus canada. and we pay 280 a month, I am sick of this, but my contract doesn’t end until march 1st. That is going to be the happiest day i am going to switch to ATT. My dad has a phone under me and is a truck driver. I looked up the same plan we have now and it’s 60bucks cheaper a month. the only thing that i am worried about it the fact that my dad won’t get great service while driveing in canada near Toronto. I hope ATT holds up and doesn’t make me regret my destion on switching. If any of you know anyone who has brought their phone into canada please let me know what happened.

  42. Hello, just doing some research for a cell phone to home phone post. Lots of information out there. Looking for something else, but good site. Take care.

  43. Hey, I was wondering if anyone could help me which this question, I go to school in kansas and im from southcarolina and have no service with verizon on campus and have been told to switch to At&t. How do I go about doing that? and is there going to be a fee for switching plans?
    thanks!

  44. Ok here it is after porting the numbers verizon is charging me for a full months service. I waited till the day of my contract end and billing cycle so no matter what you do they will charge you for one months service. now heres the insanity of this. when you pay them you are paying for next months bill. Thats what they said to me so if i pay the bill they are assuming that i want the months service you get it all double talk and threating to ruin my credit which is, thanks to my wife, perfect. has anyone ever gotten out of paying for that last month of unused service? if so how

  45. this was a huge help. Everyone says that you have a right to keep your old number but no-one is clear on how to do it. Thanks

  46. I would like to know if you can keep your out of state number if you are adding to someone else’s bill they live in a different state.

  47. I was wondering how would it work to switch to at&t from Verizon. But also I recently got my contract like 2 weeks ago would I get my deposit back from verizon if not not do I keep the iPhone ?

  48. I am buying my buddy’s iPhone 4 from him and the phone with Verizon. I am with at&t with a prepaid plan. Would I be able to get this phone activated and switched from Verizon to at&t? Could I do it without having to get my dad to sign a contract?

  49. When I moved to a different state I chose to switch from Cingular to Verizon. I went to a Cingular store and said , my contract excpired several months ago,,,, can I port my number over and discontinue cingular service at any time ? The sales people assured me that since I was not under contract I could make the switch at any time. I made the switch at the beginning of my cingular billing cycle. Well,,, Cingular proceeded to bill me for the entire month. After many many phone calls and speaking to upper management they agreed to bill me for only a half of a month. I finally gave up and paid the half month bill, even though I had only used the service for three days. Needless to say, Cingular will never receive a recommendation from me.

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