Keep Your Number: Cell Phone Number Portability Is The Law

When people began using cell phones it didn't take long for a number of annoyances and issues to arise.

While cell phones have been around for several decades it was not until the mid-late 90's that they truly became "mainstream". During this time a fierce competition between wireless providers mounted and price wars ensued.  This prompted many customers to switch wireless service providers.

The downside to this effect was cell phone numbers being dropped, created, and even reissued at an alarming rate; all of which was amplified by the exponential growth in mobile phone adoption.

In 2003, as a response to this, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a set of rules that allowed consumers to keep their cell phone number, even after they change service provider.  The FCC called this "Wireless Local Number Portability". This meant that if a consumer wanted to port (or keep) a number, they would contact the prospective new service provider, who would start the process of porting by submitting a request to the current provider. FCC rules required carriers to port a number upon valid receipt of this request.

This didn't mean that any remaining contracts were not valid. If a consumer was one year and six months into a two year contract, any fees the existing provider was contractually entitled to in the event of early termination of that contract would still have to be paid.

If you are considering porting your number, here are a few tips to help avoid any hassle:

Here are a few additional resources in case you have any other questions: