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Wireless Networking Hardware

Cellphone Number Portability -- A Big Lie? 108

Posted by Cliff
from the caught-in-the-small-print? dept.
juuri asks: "Having spoken to a few friends it seems like troubles with cell phone portability here in the States is rampant. However today I ran into a new problem, it seems numbers aren't really portable if you move. For example if one has an LA number and moves to a different region (which vary greatly from carrier to carrier) you can not move your number with you if you switch to a new carrier such as Cingular or T-Mobile. Why not? You obviously already have the number and with nationwide roaming plans there is no reason for such distinctions. Even more alarming is that your new regional arm of your carrier may give you much trouble over your previous contract and basically refuse to give you service unless you sign up for a new, local region one. Does anyone know of a cell provider that lets you move your number, regardless of region?" It seems that the latest new thing for cellphones has turned into more of a flop, than a feature. Has anyone else run into this problem? Were you able to keep your number, or were you forced to change it?
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Cellphone Number Portability -- A Big Lie?

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  • But Why change? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Johnathon_Dough (719310) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:13PM (#8470521)
    When I moved from San Francisco to LA (then back again a year later) I never changed my billing. I already had free roaming and no long distance charges, so I just kept my 415 area code, even though I lived in LA. Aside from the slight annoyance of having to explain that I really lived in LA, it was no problem, ATT just sent my bill to my LA address.
    • Re:But Why change? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lshmael (603746) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:16PM (#8470555) Homepage
      Some people don't like their carrier. For example, what if one day you wake up and realize that Cingular offers better service? Since it would cost AT&T money to change your number, it was more cost-effective for them to just let you keep it. If you switch a new carrier, it is cheaper for them to make you change.
      • but that is slightly different than the posters question. he is moving to a new area code, and wanting to change his service, I do not find it surprising that the local carriers are saying no to him.

        If he is interested in keeping his same number, area code included, he could switch to which ever service he wants back in the area that his phone is from.

    • Re:But Why change? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by yoyodyne (469596)
      Then for anyone in LA to call you makes it long distance for them. Not everyone has free long distance, particularly landlines and businesses.
  • Why? (Score:1, Troll)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) *
    Would anyone choose to switch to T-Mobile or Cingular?

    I would recommend switching to an avian messaging system or tin cans over either carrier.
    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

      T-Mobile gives you unlimited free GPRS with every plan, so you can use your phone's email client without worrying about bandwidth limits. Or you can use your Bluetooth phone to connect to the Internet anywhere you get signal (which in Manhattan, admittedly, means you'll have to sit next to the window, but it's still useful sometimes).

      Cingular gives you commercials strangely reminiscent of Apple's "Switch" campaign, except with hot girls.

      • That is cool... when I had T-Mobile, the signal was totally hit or miss and the voice quality was abysmal.

        My dad had Cingular back when it was Cellular One in our area. At that time they used franchised tower operators, some of whom billed Cellular One quarterly. This poses a problem when your plan allocates minutes monthly. (I think this situation led to the rollover minute plans)
        • Had Cingular/CellOne in the Chicago area for a few years. They were okay for our relatively low usage. Switched to T-Mobile about 8 months and have no problems with the service.
    • Do you mean a system like the one defined in RFC1149 [faqs.org]?
    • by Stevyn (691306)
      Why is this guy a troll? In Jersey, the only thing that is remotely consistant is verizon. Cingular, T-Mobil, and the others have horrible service in the most densely populated state. Sure verizon doesn't have rollover and it's expensive, but hey, you get what you pay for.

      If the question asked was: "which program for doing ... should I use in windows" and he answered with: "windows?? use linux you retard!" he would have been modded +5 Insightful.

      Let's see if I can get -1 flamebait for this one!
    • well, perhaps that's a typically /. exaggeration, but I'm quite happy with them.

      In Chicagoland, I haven't seen anyone with any carrier get better reception than I have - and some were worse - although the reception with my Nokias has been decidedly better than some other people I know with Tmobile.

      Their prices definitely beat anyone else when I signed up.

      I got good reception in FL (several places) and Vegas - and we'll see in May about Boston and DC.
  • the deal on porting (Score:5, Informative)

    by XO (250276) <blade.eric@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:20PM (#8470589) Homepage Journal
    Porting OUTSIDE OF YOUR AREA is not always possible.

    The numbers are still linked, geographically, to a specific place.

    The carrier where you are going to at the very least, needs to have a presence geographically within the same market that your phone number came out of. I'm not sure how it works internally, but I'd be willing to lay odds that at least some carriers are unable to take a number from one area, and transfer it to another -- like they won't activate a phone for a customer that lives outside their presence area - they can't take a phone number from outside their presence area.

    In THEORY, however, as long as both carriers have a presence in the same geographic telephone LEC, then they should be able to port.. they may have to set it up under your old address, then change the billing address.. but it could be done. If they don't have presence in the old location though, it ain't gonna happen.

    • by evilad (87480)
      OK, so why can't I, in NYC, purchase a cell plan in a different zone, say LA? Why is it necessary that I have a mailing address in the zone where I want service?

      This sounds to me like just another arbitrary way to shaft the customer.
      • by XO (250276) <blade.eric@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:11PM (#8471022) Homepage Journal
        In at least the case of Verizon, where they at one point had several different billing systems, it was mostly a billing system issue. Since Verizon and Cingular are made up of a whole crapload of smaller carriers that were once regional or local carriers, their billing systems couldn't handle the deal.

        Sprint PCS requires an address in the area where you are getting the area code.. but you can have the billing address be something else.

        That might actually be FCC restrictions, not allowing them to sell numbers for say Detroit to a customer in Florida, I don't know that one.

        I don't have all the whys, but I do work in the business. :D
        • by KevMar (471257)
          Two years ago I moved from seattle to Lincoln, NE. Verizon does not have home coverage in Lincoln, but because my plan included the extended network, I still got service.

          I tried several times to get a local (or atleast in state) number. Every time I called they refused to give me a number. I could not get a Lincoln number because they dont have local coverage. I could not get a Omaha number because I did not live in Omaha (where they do have coverage).

          Finaly, I added a second phone to my plan at an Oma
          • FYI you're probably costing your friends more money by having them call an intra-state call, rates for that are generally higher than inter-state calls on most POTS service plans.
            • Good point, but most cellphone plans have free long distance in a limited service area. All my friends have coverage that grants them free longdistance in Nebraska.

              everyone I know my age has made the move to wireless plans. No land line for us.

              Now, my parents on the other hand ... Yes is does cost them more.
        • by ivan256 (17499) *
          Yeah, but with Sprint you can move and keep your old number. I've moved out of area code twice since I got my 508 numer, and I still have it. I haven't lived in the 508 area code for 4 years. If I went to get a new number, they'd make me get a local one, but once you've got a number they let you keep it.
      • With T-Mobile, you can. We live in Connecticut, and that's our billing address with them. My wife has two phones with T-Mobile and one has a 413 area code (Massachusetts) and the other is 805 (California, which she sent to her sister there). The reason she got the 413 instead of 860 (CT) initially was because the 860 block was full, but now we're used to it and it doesn't matter anyway. Technically you can't purchase any area code when you sign up, I guess, but if you call them, they'll switch your numb
      • You can, or at least, you could with Sprint (pre-portability).

        When I got my first cell phone, it was bought and billed to Indiana; but I requested a Los Angeles number since I would be living there for the summer. They allowed me to do that. When I moved back, I requested an Indianapolis number. After finishing school, I moved back to L.A. and still have my Indy number (but am billed in L.A.).

        If the carriers are giving him problems, the obvious and simple solution would be for him to switch carriers NO
    • by cpeterso (19082)

      What about porting of landline phone numbers to cell phones? Is this possible, even between carriers, especially if the carriers like to claim the phone numbers are bound to a geographic region?
    • The FCC, In it's original mandates to wireline LECs to implement LNP (Local Number Portability) limits portability to a wireline rate center. That is, the area you can call locally on your phone without toll charges or extended area agreements (referred to in the industry as EAS). The reason for this is extreme difficulty in automated billing systems and the technological limitations with "querying" every single call to every ported number in the United States. Respecting these logical and proven limitat
  • by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:23PM (#8470623) Homepage
    The link goes to the story that has the link to the story.. to the story.. with the link.. OH GOD MY MIND!
  • Just did it today (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GeorgeH (5469) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:23PM (#8470626) Homepage Journal
    I just got my new phone from T-Mobile (via Amazon) today and called around 1:00pm to get the number portability in. The total call lasted 11 minutes, including a phonetree misstep and a service addition. They said that it would take up to 14 business days for the transfer to happen, during which I couldn't use my old number. As luck would have it, my number transferred 6 hours later and I'm up and running!

    It wasn't instantanious, but I couldn't imagine things going more smoothly.
    • Re:Just did it today (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Worked smoothly for me to.

      I ported my Verison number to my family plan on sprint to take advantage of free mobil to moble calling (The rest of my family uses Sprint). My family lives in MD I live in CA my father works in GA. Everything went fine. Also a note, I got my number ported at a MD sprint location. So we have 1 phone that is used in MD and billed in MD. One that is used in GA and billed to MD and one that was transfrerd from Verizon, used in CA and billed to MD. It took 5 days to transfer the numbe
      • Re:Just did it today (Score:3, Interesting)

        by elmegil (12001)
        I ported my old Sprint number (about 3 years old) to Verizon two weeks ago. I had the "it may take up to 48 hours" speech too, but it only took a couple. No problems. I didn't move state to state, but other than that possible complication my experience doesn't seem like a big lie.
    • I switched my land-line telephone number to a cell phone and it all went extremely smoothly, especially in regards to Verizon ending my account. I never contacted them, and they never contacted me, my service was terminated, and I got half of a bill.

      The cell phone could make calls immediately, and began receiving calls within 10 days, but my old line still worked over that period.

    • Funny. I got a phone in early December (also T-Mobile). The sales rep checked my number elegibility and started the transfer process. I called about 2 weeks later, they had a problem because they thought the number was from SPRINT, not SPRINT PCS (DUH!). So they fixed that and resubmitted the data, or so they said. Call back another 2 weeks later... Your request has been cancelled (this was appearently a good thing, because they had to cancel the old one before they could start the new one). Call back in AN
  • by bofkentucky (555107) <bofkentucky@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:36PM (#8470735) Homepage Journal
    The first wave was the top 100 MSA's (Metro Service Area), so if you are moving from, say, Louisville KY to one of the outlying RSA's (Rural Service Area) or even another MSA in KY, you would be in a different area code and the number portability would be rejected.

    As for the posters argument that there should be no problem since you are going from one provider's nationwide plan to another, there is no such thing as "Free long distance" or "Free Roaming", someone has to pay for the towers, radios, switches, and the fiber connecting them. Your provider is constantly analyzing if they can turn a profit on the average user, with average usage per month, at whatever price point we're talking about. The trucker on a $100/month nationwide plan that uses $110 of service will be ballanced out by that persone who buys a 400 minute anytime plan for 40 a month but never leaves your towers/fiber ring/switches.
  • IIRC (Score:5, Informative)

    by octover (22078) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:39PM (#8470765) Homepage
    All of the number portability things had a disclaimer that it needed to be in the same local market. As someone suggested, just change your billing address if you are happy with your service, if you don't have roaming or long distance charges it should cost you just the same.
  • I use Nextel, and when I needed a local number in another state, it was no problem to add a second line to my existing service with that number. The model phone I had at the time actually allowed me to have one number show up as "Line 1" and the other show up as "Line 2" - I know with Cingular, at least in NC, the limit is one number per phone.

    I've since dropped the second number (you do have to sign a year contract, which is annoying), but I also know Sprint will activate a number for you anywhere from anywhere in the nation.

    Also, a lot of the VoIP services will let you choose where your local number is provisioned. I know of a few folks who buy family overseas a "local" number, then send the the VoIP equipment to them. They hook it to the Internet, then call a local number to reach family in Europe or Mexico. Actually, it's pretty slick.

    I think eventually, long distance service as we know it will be a thing of the past. My company pays something along the lines of 2.5 cents a minute for intra- and inter-LATA long distance (we actually run a "cooperative" that pools several companies and negotiates lower rates with the LD providers out there - if you're interested, send me an IM - we don't make any money, but the more people we sign up, the lower we can push rates down!) Eventually, the phrase "too cheap to meter" might become a reality.
    • VoIP services are indeed the way to do this... you can transfer your cell phone number to your vonage account and then you can set that up to ring your internet phone first and then if that is not answered to forward to another number (your new cell phone #)... The virtual numbers are pretty cool - you can have local number for Chicago, New York, and LA all on your business card, all coming to your secret lab in Montana...
  • Event Telstra over here in oz managed to figure it out so it cant be that hard
    • I think the ease of number porting in Australia is an example of the different telecommunication architectures developed in different countries.

      Australia has a specific number range dedicated to mobile phones (04XXXX-XXXX). You can't tell where a person is by the number, but since the numbers were originally assigned in arbitrary segments to carriers, you could take a guess what carrier someone was with. Now that number porting has been introduced, a mobile number is exactly that. Not fixed to a location (

      • Canada sure does. And there are some cell-only area codes in america. (greater houston comes to mind, only because my sister lives there. As she's explained it to me, local service and some cells get 281 or 713, and 832 is just cell numbers.)
        • Then the question arises: does Canada have number portability and if so, how easy/screwy is it to change carriers and keep your number?

          • We don't have wireless portability... Well, not exactly.

            Some of the wireless carriers are also registered as CLECs. This means you can port wireless numbers to wireline numbers, then to another wireless carrier. It's kludgey as hell, and only one wireless carrier ( Microcell communications [www.fido.ca]) is a CLEC nationwide. They tend to push the ability to move your home phone # to a mobile, and unplug from a landline, rather than move your cell number from another carrier. It sometimes screws up text messaging s
      • The FCC has ruled that cellular-only area codes are anti-competitive, and prohibited, except for some cases that have been grandfathered in.

        There are also historical and technical reasons for cellular phones using the same area codes as wireline phones. The system has evolved over many decades from the mobile telephone service, to analog cellular, and now digital cellular.

  • then maybe it would be more reasonable. However, as most area codes are still linked to specific areas, the extra amount of numbers an area code in a specific region may have to handle due to people wanting to maintain that phone number may cause regions to go through very annoying area code splits, which of course would mean half of the population in that area code would suddenly have to dial extra digits to call someone in that area code.

    Would be nice to have an area code just for cells for people who w
    • by riprjak (158717) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @11:43PM (#8472093)
      ...like they do in Australia ;)

      Sure, we have only 19odd million people, but from the outset our mobiles ("cell's") have had separate area codes, originally the area codes indicated carrier, but now we have number portability, we just recognise a mobile number from its 04xx (or +614xx) prefix but cant infer carrier anymore.

      just a pointless $0.02
      err!
      jak
      • That's pretty much the same system we have in germany, too. There are designated prefixes for cell phones, grouped by carriers. Now you can take your number with you when switching providers.
        But this is really not as cool as you might think because there are different rates when calling numbers of different cell providers. And calling a number of carrier A can be twice as expensive as calling a number of carrier B.

        And now with the prefix-carrier relation gone, there is no way for to find out how much th
  • Cell phones still rely on area codes. Hence why you will need a new number when you move. You just switched area codes, and so there's a chance that your old number may be in useinyour new area code.

    Secondly. The first link there (added by an editor it seems) points to the slashdot front page. Hope this helps those in charge make this site runa little smoother for the editors.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by idiot900 (166952) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @08:58PM (#8470939)
    I did exactly what the poster claims could not be done. Perhaps I got lucky, but here is what I did:

    Was using a Sprint phone with Chicago suburbs area code. (And living in another state, I might add.) Moved to NYC. Bought a T-Mobile phone with a NY area code. A bit later, had T-Mobile port my Sprint number over.

    Number portability is great! Because of cell phones, area codes are irrelevant, so I figured there was no reason to lose my old number which had served me for so long. (Plus I was getting random calls in Chinese, a language I don't know, meant for the former owner of the NY number.) I know zero, count 'em, zero people for whom area code has any relevance.
    • by addaon (41825)
      Especially in new york, now that we have 11-digit dialing.

      On that note, can someone please explain to me what the heck the point of 11 digit dialing is? Isn't the semantic content of the leading 1 exactly null? Why not 10 digit? My cell phone allows it...
      • > what the heck the point of 11 digit dialing is? Isn't the semantic content of the leading 1 exactly null?

        That annoys me too, and I've wondered about this. Some theories:

        - The US is technically "country code" 1. I'm not sure if this is the one we're dialing there, though. It makes no sense if it is, because it's not parallel with the other countries, i.e. I don't think you can just dial 44-whatever to call your friend in the UK. Anyone care to explain just how you do directly dial another country?

        -
        • by _hAZE_ (20054)
          Dialing another country is easy..

          011 + Country Code + Number

          So like..

          01144... ..would be a UK number.

          They don't teach you that in school, though. You kind of have to ask around at work and find someone who's had to phone the London office. =)
        • Umm, its simple. The leading 1 tells switching equipment you're about to dial 10 digits, not 7. Otherwise, there'd be no way other than a long pause to tell when you're finished dialing.

          For example:
          If you dial 413 5112, thats either a local call or the first 7 digits of a 10 digit long distance call. If the leading 1 wasn't required, the upstream switch would have to wait until it was sure you were done before connecting you. Who wants that?

          --
          lds
          • That's not exactly right...

            A lot of places (New Jersey, Baltimore, NYC, ...) have ten digit dialing: even when making a call in your area code, you have to dial the area code, but you don't need the leading '1'! Maybe it's a matter of the switching equipment saying "OK, that was the local area code, discard it & read the next seven digits", but if that's the case I don't see why it couldn't just as easily understand "OK, that's a CA area code, route this call to California and send along the next seve

            • Well, I was attempting to speak to dialing in the usual course of events, not big-metropolitan area freaky-dialing :). I have no explanation for that.

              Anyway, the reason the great grand parent poster's cell phone doesn't require a leading 1 is that it knows when you're done dialing; you hit 'send' or 'talk' or something else. Same number of keypresses as a leading one :).

              --
              lds
              • Right, but the original question was in the context of the new york metro area, where 7-digit dialling is no longer allowed. All numbers are either three digit (in the from x11) or eleven digit (in the form 1xyzabcdefg, where !(y & z)).
          • Aha. That does sound like the right answer to why the 1+ dialing is there in the first place.

            But in New York (or on my VOIP [packet8.net] phone), where 11-digit is mandatory and 7-digit dialing doesn't work, you can't dial seven digits. So if you dialed 413-5112, that would logically have to be interpreted area code 413, exchange 511 [primeris.com], and it should wait for the rest of the number.

            But it doesn't do that. It just sits there and gives you a fast busy signal. I guess they don't want it to be inconsistent with the way the r
      • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

        by michael_cain (66650)

        On that note, can someone please explain to me what the heck the point of 11 digit dialing is? Isn't the semantic content of the leading 1 exactly null?

        No. Among other things, it indicates the possibility that you may be dialing a number that will include a long-distance company identifier -- for example, 10-10-220-303-555-1212. The dialing plan in the US carries an enormous amount of historical baggage. Choosing a long-distance carrier, as well as the additions to the dialing plan to allow you to sp

        • by addaon (41825)
          Interesting. Best answer I've heard yet. But there's no area code 101 (I think...) so the 10-10 prefix still uniquely identifies that type of call. Ditto 011 for long distance.
          • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Informative)

            by michael_cain (66650)

            But there's no area code 101 (I think...) so the 10-10 prefix still uniquely identifies that type of call.

            Correct. There are currently [prodial.com] no area codes that start with 1. There are plans in progress [wikipedia.org] to add an 11th and possibly 12th digit to the North American numbering plan by 2030. If I live that long I'll be 77, and probably find it to be incredibly confusing. They may be optimistic about needing those extra digits, of course, since there's a chance that most useful devices will reside on IP-based net

    • [snip] I know zero, count 'em, zero people for whom area code
      has any relevance.

      Shorthand response

      7+-2

      Longer response.

      7 digits is the right number to remember. I see no compelling reason not
      to limit to the best extent we can, the length of phone numbers.

      Because of cell phones, area codes are irrelevant [snip]

      Within a carrier network maybe. From anywhere else, this is not so. The advent
      of number portability makes this more of an issue. Calls originating from
      another carriers network are not rout

  • And we all still get to pay for it, too.
  • port painless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MacAndrew (463832) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:08PM (#8471002) Homepage
    our port was handled overnight (verizon --> t-mobile) but that may be plain old luck. interesting about the region-to-region defect.

    here's a permanent fix -- how about a permanent number assigned to you for life, like a SSN. dial it, get your friend. yeah, i don't like that idea either, but it certainly is *portable*.
  • by gregRowe (173838) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:10PM (#8471018)
    I've been trying since December 6th 2003 to port my landline number to a verizon phone (bought on December 6th). We were told it would take 3-4 days to port the number. I expected 2 weeks.

    So far it's been 3 months and I've made more than 25 phone calls to Verizon - and still the number is not ported. To make matters even better the landline carrier, Frontier Telephone of Rochester disconnected my number today. I immediately called Verizon (yes, Verizon) about this. They tried to get a conference call to Frontier but Frontier was closed for the day.

    Can someone please tell me what to do? I filed a complaint with the FCC a week or two ago. I tried contacted a local TV news source but they didn't want to help me (or couldn't). I also left a message with the NYS attorney general tonight. I really don't know who to contact.

    I switched to Verizon because I was unhappy with Frontier and it wouldn't cost much more to use Verizon and have 2 phones with many more features than my landline carrier. Instead I'm faced with 3 months of phone calls to Verizon and Frontier and both companies pointing the finger at each other (and me wanting to point the finger at both).

    Verizons customer support has been very friendly and seemingly helpful but the fact of the matter is that after 25 calls and 3 months time the number still isn't ported.

    When I call Frontier they promptly tell me that I should be dealing with Verizon - not them. Their reps are typically very rude. A while back I was lucky enough to get a nice rep who put me in touch with her supervisor. Her supervisor was nice and contacted their porting department (which I can't contact). He said their porting department wouldn't tell him why, but that Verizon wasn't giving them the information they needed to port the number.

    To the best of my knowledge Verizon has sent at least 4 port requests. 3 have been ignored and one was denied.

    I almost forgot! We were never offered a temp number for the wireless phone so we can only make outgoing calls on it. This has been a major hassle.

    Sorry about the rambling nature of this post but I am extremely upset...

    Greg
    • learn to turbo [macwhiz.com]

      In other words, go right to the top - contact the Verizon CEO.
    • It looks like your problem lies with Frontier, not Verizon. Try getting in touch with your state's PUC (public utilities commission or sometimes public service commission.) The PUC is like an 800 pound gorilla that can make telcos jump on command. There's no guarantee this will work but a lot of times they can help.
      • Thank you for the information. It turns out that the port was completed last night. For a few hours the calls rang the disconnected landline. Late that night calls started ringing the cell phone.

        I'm not done though - 3 months is FAR too long for this process to take. Someone needs to be responsible for this.

        Thanks again,
        Greg
    • I switched from Verizon local to Verizon wireless in December without a problem. Sounds like Frontier is your problem.

      Sic Eliot Spitzer, the NY Atty. General, on Frontier and see what they do. If the guy can strike fear into the heart of Wall Street, he ought to be able to shake up a phone company.

    • You need to contact your state's Public Service Commission. This will get it done-- Period. Outside of that, if your home phone number has been disconnected, your new provider for that phone number is most likely the holdup. Your wireline provider will not disconnect your dialtone unless they have already sent confirmation of the request from your new provider to port your number. That's the last part of the "port-out" process. Stay on your new provider for that phone number and call your state Public
  • by mc_barron (546164) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:12PM (#8471027) Homepage
    Did this a few months ago, when they were two separate companies. Attempted to bring my Indy number with me to Chicago. No dice. Said that it was out of the area, even though i wanted to sign up for a local plan - I just wanted to keep my number. For what it's worth, customer service and technical ability was sub par on both sides of the equation. Waiting for the day when we all just have one number (perhaps a IPv6 domain, with subdomains for each of our telephones/computers/gizmos) - that way it's ours till death. Can't wait for the future.
  • One of my friends has got his parent's cellphone bill for years. Nobody wanted to let them get a number local to all the people they call (as if local means anything to someone with a no long distance cell phone plan with an RV). Their son still lives in that area though, so they use his address and everyone is happy.

    If you want a number local to someplace, odds are very good that you know someone there who can collect your bills, and forward them. With everything online lately, you don't really even

  • Read the fine print (Score:3, Interesting)

    by toast0 (63707) <slashdotinducedspam@enslaves.us> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @09:25PM (#8471116) Homepage
    Most of the phone contracts I've read indicate that the carrier has the option of switching you to a local number if you remain outside your home service area for a specified period of time (I think i've seen 3 to 6 months). Since I'm not in the market for a time contracted phone, I only read the contract notes I see in the newspaper or in direct mail, so ymmv.
  • Perhaps the reason you can't move your number across the country is because (from my understanding) the system was designed to mimic landline LNP (LOCAL number portability). Numbers can generaly only be moved if there is a common rate center (not nessearily an area code). If most of the cell phone providers operate out of a common local central office or location, moving is a snap. IF, however, they are outside of the same local area, the LNP rules do not apply.

    This applies to cell phones and landlines
  • by disappear (21915) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @10:41PM (#8471644) Homepage
    Funny thing, I just went through this today [livejournal.com].

    Now, my process isn't finished yet, but supposedly it'll be done in the next 24-36 hours.

    My problem wasn't that T-Mobile couldn't port my number from Sprint, but that they wouldn't sell me a subsidized phone if they did. I could pay $200 for the "free" Nokia phone, and prices for other phones went up from there. Because of the way their commissions work, they only got commissions on local phone numbers.

    So I bought a SIM chip from T-Mobile, ordered a phone from elsewhere, and we'll see what happens when the phone is delivered on Saturday.

  • by jht (5006) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @11:20PM (#8471940) Homepage Journal
    I have three phones, all linked on a family plan. We keep two of them here in Massachusetts, and one is with my wife's parents in southern New jersey. But all three have local MA numbers. They were originally with T-Mobile, but I moved them to Cingular in late January. There were no major problems with the port - my phone and my wife's phone went over within a few hours, and the third phone ported a day later. For the day it took, dialing their number from a landline would fail, but dialing it from one of the already ported cells would work fine.

    No problems since, either. And the GSM service up here is better with Cingular than it was with T-Mobile.
  • Why's this a issue? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bruha (412869) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @11:26PM (#8471981) Homepage Journal
    If you move you just update your billing address.. if you dont care that your new neighbors will have to dial long distance to speak with you then it's fine.

    If you want it to be a local number for where you're moving to then yes you'll have to change your number. The current switching network used worldwide Landline/Wireless will not allow what you're asking to be done. It would be chaos. Until all the SS7 traffic is converted into some sort of IP based system then it might be possible but until then I'd say try verizon wireless. They have a ez move program.
  • Moved from South Florida to Seattle;
    kept my nationwide plan, kept my number, kept my contract.

    No Problem.
    They let me change my billing address, immediately, keeping my South Florida number until I was ready to change it.
  • Number "Portability" (Score:2, Informative)

    by _hAZE_ (20054)
    From my understanding of what "Number Portability" was to bring to cell phone users, the ability to keep your number and move to another state was NOT on the list. I understood that number portability was implemented so that someone could move from one cell phone carrier to another and keep the same number.

    That's not to say that isn't possible, and I've heard several stories of people who have moved and kept their number. I think that is totally up to the carrier in question and their infrastructure and
  • i got a new cell for X-mas, intending to transfer my (verizon) landline number to the (AT&T) cell, after 2 months and NOTHING but empty support promises and a temp number on the phone, i said 'screw this' and now just have the two plus call forwarding, cheapre in the long run actually. This portability thing is a joke.
  • I just moved 2 nnumbers from one carier to another (same geographic location though) took almost 3 weeks for the entire thing to happen - they said they were having system problems. They finally got it working though.
  • number portability means you can take your number between carriers - not between geographic regions. Putting aside the "but they could!" factors, the simple fact remaining is that you should want a local number to wherever you are living - how else can someone in that area call your cell phone from a land line? Oh, they'll just dial long distance. Thanks ass.

    Well, they should've bought a nationwide free long distance unlimited minutes cell phone if they wanted to be my friend!

    That aside - the main reas
  • Not all markets offer portability right now. Only a few markets were required to. The rest is happening in May I believe. That may be your problem.
  • "Cell phones are Safe -- a big lie?"

    As many of you know cellphones, and other wireless handheld hardware emits RF radiation at low levels. Since I am considering using a cellphone as my primary phone line (as in not paying for a land line), I realised that the use of cellphones in this manner is quite new (within the last 10 years lets say). I can't help but wonder if this will pose a health risk in the long term.

    A recent study [popsci.com] just published by Popular Science [popsci.com] magazine found a "link between microwa

    • Wow, are you a bot? Because that's what it reads like.
    • Although a small number of people disagree [feyrazon.org] it is widely believed you cannot prove a negative.

      So there will never be proof that RF doesn't cause cancer. Ever. Just like you can't prove Santa Claus doesn't exist.

      However, there's no way for your tissues to tell the difference between a UHF TV transmitter 5 miles away or a low power cellphone held up to your head.

  • Before you go blasting the number portability you really should read up on what it was meant to do.

    It was meant to allow you to switch carriers in the same area that you are currently in. It wasn't meant to let you just do whatever you wanted with "your" phone number.

    Personally I had no problems with using it to switch from Verizon to T-Mobile the day after Thanksgiving last year. Little less then 24 hours after I walked out of the T-Mobile store my new phone was active with my old number. Much better

  • by WirelessMike (715106) on Friday March 05, 2004 @01:30PM (#8476671)
    The FCC, In it's original mandates to wireline LECs to implement LNP (Local Number Portability) limits portability to a wireline rate center. That is, the area you can call locally on your phone without toll charges or extended area agreements (referred to in the industry as EAS). The reason for this is extreme difficulty in automated billing systems and the technological limitations with "querying" every single call to every ported number in the United States. Respecting these logical and proven limitations, the FCC has retained the same limitation (portable withing the rate center, only) in their mandate on wireless number portability. In other words-- It has never been expected, nor demanded by the FCC or the industry to try to make numbers portable across large geographic regions. There is no "theory" on this matter. LNP has been tested and implemented throughout the United States. It's been working since 1997, when the original mandate came out to wireline LEC (LEC, by the way, stands for Line Exchange Carrier or "service provider"). Wireless rate centers are much larger than wirline rate centers and can overlap several wireline rate centers, but they can only port numbers to the limitation of their presence in the rate center of the carrier they are porting from. So, the wireless carrier cannot port a number to anywhere in their rate center-- They can only port a number to anywhere in the DONOR's rate center. This is how it is supposed to work, and this is how it DOES work. The technology required by service providers nationwide to port numbers over large geographic regions (often referred to in the industry as "geographic portability") is not yet available, and what is available is far too expensive to justify the charges to customers like yourself to recover the cost. Keep tabs on the FCC to find out when it WILL be available.
    • I won't speak to the rest of WirelessMike's comment, but his statement that

      LEC, by the way, stands for

      Line Exchange Carrier or "service provider"

      is inaccurate.

      LEC [bldrdoc.gov] actually stands for Local Exchange Carrier (according to Federal Standard 1037C [bldrdoc.gov] which is the government's canonical glossary of telecommunications terms.

      Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) are the "baby-bells", your local phone company (Verizon, SBC, Ameritech (do they still exist?) etc.). The other half of the coin is IXCs, which stands for Inter

      • You are absolutely right. It's easy to start mixing up some of the more common acronymns when it's part of your daily grind. Thanx for pointing that out. I don't want or mean to mislead. All local phone companies are LECs of some sort, baby bell or not (though baby bells are the most recognizable). You rarely see LEC by itself in the industry. It's usually preceded by either an I (for Incumbent) or C (for Competitive). So if you ever wondered what a "CLEC" (pronounced "see-lek") was, now you know. I
  • From what I understand, the number mapping between switching centers determines the "portability" of your number. Your cell phone actually has two numbers. The first number is the "alias" number that people call. The second number is the "real" number assigned to your phone by your service provider. Both numbers have to be within a certain call center radius in order for the mapping to work. When you port a number, the system is essentially mapping your alias number to a different mapped number.
  • But does anyone know if you can port a number from a Tracfone to another cell ( either a contract based or another Tracfone)
  • I ported from Verizon to Nextel and it happened pretty much on schedule once my Verizon service was reactivated. I had had it deactivated while I was working overseas, and when I returned, decided to try what seemed to be a Nextel plan that was a better deal. For whatever reason, a number that is assigned but "inactive" cannot be ported.
  • I work for Sprint and the policy on number portability is this:

    You can move to a different state and port your number over to Sprint and keep your same area code and number.....however.....you are limited to the services and plans that are available in the area that your number is from. That is the only glitch with it. So if you see a plan you like it may only be available in certain states, etc. And when you move you may not be able to have that exact promotion, you have to stick to the ones that are ava

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