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Thread: Is it possible to port a number out but keep the line active?

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    Is it possible to port a number out but keep the line active?

    Is it possible to to port a number out but keep the the line active and just have a new number replace it?

    I called AT&T porting department and the CSR I spoke to was a non-native English speaker and was confused by request, she put me on hold and then the called dropped before she came back. So I've decided to do a little research on my own before calling again.

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    Short answer, NO.

    Once a mobile # is ported out, the associated contract and or account (if the there is only 1 mobile associated) is terminated. You cannot replace an existing line of service with a new one. The term is called "False Churn" and is strongly discouraged by the carrier. Otherwise, customers would cancel their line of service and re-up every time they wanted to upgrade their device when not eligible for a discounted upgrade.
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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    Short answer, NO.

    Once a mobile # is ported out, the associated contract and or account (if the there is only 1 mobile associated) is terminated. You cannot replace an existing line of service with a new one. The term is called "False Churn" and is strongly discouraged by the carrier. Otherwise, customers would cancel their line of service and re-up every time they wanted to upgrade their device when not eligible for a discounted upgrade.
    I think the carriers should allow it, though without any equipment upgrades. I am not sure why you think the OP might be interested in that. Sounds like he wants to port a number to another service (Google Voice?) so he can keep the number, but also keep the service active.

    Since I have a family plan, I could port my number to GV, add a new line, sell the new phone I get, and then just activate my old phone on the new line I created. I could then sell the new phone I got to cover the ETF of the ported line. I have therefore created false churn and taken a phone from ATT inventory when all ATT would have had to do was allow me to re-activate the closed/ported line, but with a new number.

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    The person wants to avoid an Early Termination Fee. If the person simply wanted to transfer the number out, that could be done and he could start a new line with a new number if he still wanted a line on the old carrier. If he were not under contract, there would be no concern about keeping an old account.

    Maybe it is a mistake but you appear to be selling the same phone twice. What did you gain in these transactions? If you add the activation fee, cost of the phone, two years of service at $9.99 per month plus the ETF, you may have lost money. If the line you transferred out was a primary line, one of your remaining lines would become the new primary line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by efparri View Post
    The person wants to avoid an Early Termination Fee. If the person simply wanted to transfer the number out, that could be done and he could start a new line with a new number if he still wanted a line on the old carrier. If he were not under contract, there would be no concern about keeping an old account.

    Maybe it is a mistake but you appear to be selling the same phone twice.
    Obviously the OP wants to avoid an ETF. That would be the whole purpose for porting out the number but keeping the line active with a new number. I would have no problem with ATT (or any carrier) requiring starting a new 2 year contract and not grandfathering any plans or features if someone was doing what the OP proposes, however.

    As for me selling the same phone twice? If I have 3 lines, port one out and then add a line, I end up with 3 lines and 4 phones. So I sell 1 of em, pay the ETF, and then I have 3 lines and 3 phones. Just like I started with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthroMatt View Post
    Obviously the OP wants to avoid an ETF. That would be the whole purpose for porting out the number but keeping the line active with a new number. I would have no problem with ATT (or any carrier) requiring starting a new 2 year contract and not grandfathering any plans or features if someone was doing what the OP proposes, however.

    As for me selling the same phone twice? If I have 3 lines, port one out and then add a line, I end up with 3 lines and 4 phones. So I sell 1 of em, pay the ETF, and then I have 3 lines and 3 phones. Just like I started with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthroMatt View Post
    I think the carriers should allow it, though without any equipment upgrades. I am not sure why you think the OP might be interested in that. Sounds like he wants to port a number to another service (Google Voice?) so he can keep the number, but also keep the service active.

    Since I have a family plan, I could port my number to GV, add a new line, sell the new phone I get, and then just activate my old phone on the new line I created. I could then sell the new phone I got to cover the ETF of the ported line. I have therefore created false churn and taken a phone from ATT inventory when all ATT would have had to do was allow me to re-activate the closed/ported line, but with a new number.

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    I said the same thing twice. Poor grammar. Poor post editing. But a modicum of common sense (I called it the new phone each time) could have led you to that conclusion.

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    You still can edit your reply to avoid confusion. You still have not addressed the total cost of the transaction. Using the 16 GB iPhone as an example:
    Cost of phone $199.99
    Upgrade Fee 36.00
    Two years of service @$9.99 per month $239.76
    ETF after thirty days $315.00 (prior to thirty days, you have to give back the phone)
    Total $790.75
    Good luck selling a locked iPhone for that price when one can purchase an unlocked one directly from Apple for $549.99.
    You can get any Google Voice number available and forward calls to your existing wireless number without any changes to your wireless service. I see no benefit to your convoluted procedure.

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    Or I could buy a refurb HTC Vivid for 1 penny and sell it for $300 (at least).

    Activation fee = $36
    ETF is not $315, as I (and the OP) would be porting an existing line that has been in service longer than a month. In my case the ETF would be about $200.

    Two years of service = no cost. Why? Because I am adding one line and canceling another, so they are a wash.

    So I would spend about $250 after taxes, and probably make about $250 after ebay fees.

    That = $0.

    As to why someone might want to do that? Why should that matter to you or ATT?
    Last edited by AnthroMatt; 03-18-2012 at 12:09 AM.

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    I've always wanted to do this as I have unlimited data on my account and had a SERO account but wanted the ability to have phone calls/texts reach both phones incase I wanted one and not the other.

    Not sure why everyone automatically assumes one wants an upgrade or to scam the company. My expectations would be the number would be ported out, new number activated on same account with the original contract end date, etc. If I'm still going to pay for my bill, why should AT&T care?

    Not sure why it's so difficult for AT&T/other company's to do it but I think it's because number is tied to account so if you transfer number, you're essentially closing out the account.
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    ^ The reason has been touched on in this thread. What the OP wants to accomplish causes Phantom (or False) Churn. That is where someone cancels an existing line with a company and starts a whole new line (usually for the propose of taking advantage of "new customer" offers, but not always). From a records standpoint it doesn't matter if they buy new equipment or not, the churn rate is still affected.

    As for the other question posed in the thread "Why can't they just re-open the line to avoid the churn/ETF?", there are additional reasons this isn't done. Without getting too technical I will try to explain. Porting a number out cancels that line just as if you had cancelled it any other way (including accepting the ETF); The request to port out is a request to cancel your service on that number. The line cannot remain open as if nothing had ever happened, just not how porting works. Whether the line was cancelled by port out or some other reason the only way to bring that line back active is to reinstate that number, a customer typically has some timeframe after cancellation in which he can reactivate and after that time the line is permanently dead. It works like this because of how the system ages the numbers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthroMatt View Post
    Or I could buy a refurb HTC Vivid for 1 penny and sell it for $300 (at least).

    Activation fee = $36
    ETF is not $315, as I (and the OP) would be porting an existing line that has been in service longer than a month. In my case the ETF would be about $200.

    Two years of service = no cost. Why? Because I am adding one line and canceling another, so they are a wash.

    So I would spend about $250 after taxes, and probably make about $250 after ebay fees.

    That = $0.

    As to why someone might want to do that? Why should that matter to you or ATT?
    If you were planning to transfer your line out why would you start a new line on the old carrier? You would only be out the $200 ETF and no more voice plan and data plan charges, no purchase of a phone to have to sell, no activation fee and no eBay sales.

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    :banghead:

    Why does it matter? What if I simply wanted my current number to move to GV and then to set up a new number for use with my phone? Maybe because I am planning to move?

    Sent from my HTC PH39100 using Tapatalk

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    Why did you even bring up the topic? Were you seeking approval? You explained your plans poorly and then tried to use "gotchas" by bring up the missing details after people had found problems with your original details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthroMatt View Post
    :banghead:

    Why does it matter? What if I simply wanted my current number to move to GV and then to set up a new number for use with my phone? Maybe because I am planning to move?

    Sent from my HTC PH39100 using Tapatalk
    Any carrier would rather you use their relocation or transfer options before resorting to false churn. It is unavoidable sometimes though.

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