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--- How to Change Your Cell Phone Carrier---

Posted by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:42 AM
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How to Change Your Cell Phone Carrier

Changing cell phone carriers can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to dealing with contracts and making sure you keep your old number. Thankfully, the process has been streamlined over the years, and now it’s possible to keep your old number in almost every case. Follow this guide to see how.

  1. 1
    Shop around for the right deal. Cell phone carriers are constantly changing plans and rates, and often run all kinds of promotions. Look for a promotion that includes a phone that you want for cheap or free. Make sure that you read as much fine print as possible, so that you’ll know when to expect rate hikes or other fees.
    • Pay attention to the details of the plan. If you barely ever send text messages, then you probably don’t need a plan that includes unlimited texts. Make sure that you are signing up for the plan that is most useful for you.
    • Check the coverage area. Each network has different coverage areas. Find out what the coverage is like in your area by talking to friends that use that network, or by asking around online. Most companies will say that your city is covered, but service may still be spotty.
  2. 2
    Check your current contract. Most cell phone carriers make you sign a contract when you join their service. This contract typically includes an early-termination fee. This fee is designed to cover the cost of the phone that they gave you when you joined. Most contracts last for 2 years.
    • If you are cancelling because of service issues, you may be able to argue against an early-termination fee. When you are on the phone with your old carrier arguing your fees, be sure to ask to speak to a supervisor, and have any documentation about your service issues.
    • Do not start the account termination process until your new account has been setup and your phone is activated.
  3. 3
    Listen to your voicemails and backup your contacts. Voicemails will most likely not transfer to your new service, so be sure to listen to and write down any important messages. Backup your contacts if you are switching to a new phone. You can backup your contacts on both iPhone and Android.[1]
  4. 4
    Contact the company you want to switch to. Make sure to have your phone number, old account number, and any passwords you might need to access your account information. The service representatives for the new provider will need these in order to transfer your phone number to your new account.[2]
    • You can also visit various vendors or company stores, though this usually will involve purchasing a new phone as well.
    • You may be required to buy a new phone regardless of whether or not you want one. Different carriers use different networks, and not all phones are compatible with other networks.
    • You may be able to keep your old phone if it is unlocked. The unlock process varies depending on the phone, and it is not always guaranteed to work. Some phones come unlocked.
  5. 5
    Verify that your new service is working. Make a few calls and send some texts to ensure that your new service has been activated. Transfer your contacts back to your new phone if you switched.
  6. 6
    Cancel your old plan. Once you have verified that your phone works on your new service plan, you can cancel your old contract. Be firm while cancelling, and argue any fees that weren’t explained or written out when you signed the contract. If you are cancelling early, you will most likely be obligated to pay the early termination fee.

by on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:42 AM
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by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Changing Carriers in Canada

  1. Check your current contract. Most major service providers in Canada currently use three-year contracts. While the law for this is changing at the end of 2013, most people are still locked into these contracts. The fees for early termination are quite high, so make sure that you aren’t causing yourself financial distress by changing.
    • Don’t cancel your account until you have signed up for a new one, otherwise you will lose your number.
  2. 2
    Contact your new service provider. Once you have found a new plan that suits your needs, contact the new provider and let them know that you want to transfer your old number. The new provider should be able to handle the transfer process entirely on their end.
    • You will most likely need to provide your personal information, as well as your most recent phone bill. You may also need your phone’s MEID number, which is located underneath the battery.
  3. 3
    Wait for the activation. Once you set up your new account, the phone number tr4ansfer should take about two and a half hours to complete. Your old phone should work up until the service is transferred.[3]

Changing Carriers in India

  1. 1
    Pay your existing phone bill. You cannot receive your transfer code until all of your existing dues have been paid. If you are a pre-paid subscriber, your remaining talk time will not carry over to your new plan.
  2. 2
    Get your Porting code. In order to keep your old phone number, you will need to get the Porting code from your existing carrier. To do this, send an SMS to 1900 with the message “PORT <yourphonenumber>”. You will receive a reply from 1901 with your Porting code and a date. The date is when the code expires.[4]
    • The code will be formatted as “AB123456”.
    • Porting codes are valid for 15 days.
  3. 3
    Sign up with your new service. Provide the PORT code along with your personal information to the new carrier. You must submit this information before the date you received when you requested your PORT number. After submitting the information, you will receive your new SIM card.
    • You will also need to submit proof-of-payment for your existing plan to your new provider.
    • You may be charged up to ₹ 19/- for the porting process.
  4. 4
    Wait for the financial check to clear. After you provide your information to your new provider, you will need to wait 7 days for the master clearing house to process your account. The changeover to your new SIM card will occur after the 7th working day during the night time.
  5. 5
    Insert your new SIM card. Once the changeover has occurred, you can begin using your new SIM card on your phone. You cannot change providers again for at least another 90 days.[5]

Changing Carriers in the UK

  1. 1
    Find a new service. When you sign up for a new service, you will always receive a new SIM card. This card will have a new number when you receive it, but you will be transferring your old number to your new SIM card, overriding the new number.
    • Check with your existing service while shopping for new ones to see if they will match any deals you might find. This could end up saving you a lot of time and hassle.
  2. 2
    Get your Port Authorization Code (PAC). This code will allow you to transfer your old number to your new SIM. Service providers have to provide this code to you within two hours of you asking for it. You may be offered deals to try and keep you on the same network.
    • Most service providers will send you your PAC via text, though some may give it to you over the phone. Others may send it through traditional post.
  3. 3
    Backup your contacts. If you store contact information on your SIM card, they will need to be backed up so that you can transfer them to your new one. You will also need to use any prepaid minutes before your old SIM card is deactivated, otherwise they will be lost.
  4. 4
    Purchase your new SIM. Contact your new provider and order your new SIM or phone deal. Give them your PAC and the new provider will handle the phone number transfer process. You can usually schedule a day that you want to the activation process to occur. Pick a day that you most likely won’t be using your phone much.[6]
    • The transfer process can take as long as 24 hours or as little as a few minutes. Typically it will happen in about an hour.
by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Switching Cell Phone Provider

Summary: A complete guide on how to switch cell phone providers in the USA

By  | 

Switching Wireless Provider, Keeping Your Number

One thing which puts many people off switching between cell phone carriers is the belief that they will lose their existing phone number. As more and more people shift their mode of communication from their land line to their cell phone, the thought of having to tell friends, colleagues and acquaintances of a change of number is enough to keep some customers tied to plans and networks which are not necessarily best for them.

The good news is that it’s a relatively simple process to switch your allegiance whilst keeping your number. This is due to Wireless Local Number Portability (LNP), a facility that has been available across the US since May 2004. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent US government agency responsible for regulating interstate and international communications, has stipulated that all wireless carriers must allow Wireless LNP. There are, however, certain conditions which must be met.

The main proviso is alluded to by the word LOCAL - you can only keep your number if you are moving to a carrier within the same local area. For instance, you cannot port your number if you relocate from New York to San Francisco.

  • A carrier cannot stop you taking your number with you, but a new carrier is under no obligation to accept it. Obviously, most carriers are more than happy to accept a new customer, and this will not be a problem. However, there are cases where some pre-pay carriers will not accept ported numbers.
  • Only the primary account holder can fill out a port request. If you are an authorised user on a family/share plan, you must establish a separate service with your current carrier before you can initiate a port request. If you have a company phone, you may not be able to port your number if the service is in your company’s name.
  • You can port between your wireline and wireless service ‘where the requesting wireless carrier’s coverage area overlaps the geographic location in which the wireline number is provisioned’. So you can get rid of your wireline service altogether if you wish, whilst keeping your number, providing you remain in the same locality.
  • Your current company cannot refuse to port your number, even if you owe them money. You will, however, be liable for any debts, and may have to pay an early termination fee if you are under contract (although some carriers will prorate this, so it may still be financially viable if you are some way into your contract).
What numbers can I port?
  • You can port your cell phone number, wireline number or fax number. Pre-pay numbers can be ported, but must be active at the time you wish to transfer the service.
  • You cannot port 800 or pager numbers.
  • You cannot port a number to an existing account – porting only works when you are opening a new account with a carrier.
What is the process?

It really is very simple.

  1. Once you have decided which carrier, plan and cell phone you want to go for, contact your new provider. They will ask for your name, address and 10-digit customer account number as they appear on your bill. They may also ask for your account password if you have one.
  2. Your new provider will then contact your current company and start the porting process. You do not need to do anything else, just wait for your new service to start.
  3. Once your new service is activated, your existing service should be automatically cancelled. You will usually receive a bill for any outstanding debt within a month.
During the porting process you can make outgoing calls on your old cell phone, but incoming calls will only go to your new phone. Take care with 911 calls – operators will not be able to call you back or trace you when using your old phone during porting, so ensure you give them your exact location.
How long will it take?

Simple ports should now take just 1 business day at the most. In fact, the wireless industry and FCC have agreed a goal of 2.5 hours or less to port, so it may be much quicker than this. Wireline to wireless portability may take a few days.

Does it cost anything to port my number?

In theory, providers can charge a small amount to process porting. In practice, however, this does not tend to happen due to competition between carriers. However, you should always ask if any fees apply (you may be able to get them waived if you are aware they are there).

Tips for a smooth transition
  • Make sure you do your homework – research which is the best plan for you and what handset you want. Check the carrier you wish to use is licensed in your area.
  • Look at the coverage provided by your chosen company – a great plan is rendered useless if you can’t get reception when you need it.
  • Check if your current handset is compatible with the new network – most are not, and you will need to get a new phone.
  • Have your most recent wireless bill to hand to ensure the information you give to your new company is correct - all details you provide must be exactly as shown on your bill, any differences can slow things down.
  • Do not cancel your existing contract until the porting process is complete or you may lose your number. This also ensures you do not end up without a wireless service at any time.
  • Your old service should be deactivated automatically when your new service is activated, but it would be sensible to contact your previous carrier to confirm this (and to make sure you are not running up unnecessary charges).
  • Remember, you are still liable for any remaining debt and/or termination charges with your old provider - porting your number does not mean you can break your contract.
  • You cannot transfer pre-pay airtime to your new network, so make sure you use up any credit before you move.
  • Voicemail messages won’t transfer to your new phone, so make sure you listen to them before changing carriers.

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Apple iPhone 4s

Apple iPhone 4s

iPhone 4s has a 3.5–inch Retina display, an 8–megapixel iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording, a FaceTime camera, and long battery life.

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:45 AM

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 10:07 AM

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Selecting a wireless carrier is just as important as picking a phone. The provider, after all, delivers the network that makes your handset work. And since you'll probably end up paying a healthy amount for that privilege, there's no point in sticking with a bad user experience.

Fortunately, CNET is here to help guide you through the decision process. Read on for the major factors that you should consider when choosing a carrier, followed by brief descriptions of each of the major players that CNET reviews. Also, be sure to consult CNET's cell phone buying guide if you need help buying a phone.

Five rules when choosing a carrier

1) Coverage is key
You can't do much on your phone without a signal, so make sure that you can get coverage in the places that you'll need it. That means looking beyond carrier slogans and coverage maps (though the latter is a good place to start) and doing your own research.

The best way to gauge coverage in your area is to ask your neighbors. See which carrier they use, and ask if they're satisfied. You even can borrow a friend's phone and use it at home and in your workplace to see if you'll get the reception that you need. Sure, it's a very unscientific method, but personal experience is really the best tool.

Just remember that no carrier network is perfect. Gaps exist, even in urban areas, and reception can vary by your precise location. For example, a carrier's signal may not penetrate deep into buildings and underground, and it will vary according to how many people are using a network at a given time (think about how hard it is to get a signal at a big public event).

Another point to consider is whether a carrier uses GSM or CDMA. GSM (think T-Mobile and AT&T) is the dominant global technology and is used in almost every country around the world. So if you're a globe-trotter and want to take your phone on your travels, make sure it supports GSM. Though strong in North America, CDMA (think Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and most smaller carriers) is present in only a handful of countries outside of the United States. If your phone is CDMA-only, your international coverage will be limited. Fortunately, handsets that support both technologies are widely available. GSM phones also are easier to unlock, meaning that you can take them to another carrier as long as your chosen device supports the necessary cellular bands.

(Credit: CNET)

2) Data speeds
Of course, making calls is just one thing that you'll do on your phone. And if you're like a lot of smartphone owners, it may be the last thing. That's why you also need to carefully evaluate data networks. Data networks enable your handset to access the Internet, send e-mails, stream music and video, and download the apps that have become so popular.

Most U.S. carriers in the United States are now locked in an always-evolving race to build the largest and fastest 4G LTE data network. So just like with a provider's voice network, data coverage and strength will vary widely by area. If you want LTE (and really, why wouldn't you?), know where the carrier has 4G coverage and how fast it is. And just like with calls, make sure you've tried a carrier's data network before committing.

3) Plans
After coverage, your service plan is the most central component of your carrier experience. It dictates how long you have to stay with a carrier, how many calling minutes and how much data you'll get, and the price that you'll pay each month. Prices will largely depend on how many calling minutes and the amount of data that you expect to use. Be sure to get what you need, but don't overspend, either. And remember that monthly taxes and fees will add more dollars to your final bill.

Plans that require a contract are still the dominant service model, but that's beginning to change. Prepaid carriers like Cricket continue to expand and T-Mobile ditched contracts completely in April 2013. Signing a contract entitles you to a heavy discount on a phone up front, though the trade-off is that you'll continue to pay for the device through the life of your agreement (and even after). With a prepaid plan, you'll have to pay full price for a handset at the time of purchase, but you'll be able to end service with the carrier any time you'd like. As you'll see in a moment, T-Mobile has adopted a somewhat hybrid of the two concepts. Here again, just think carefully about what's right for you.

Pay equal attention to the plan's terms. Though carriers now offer unlimited calling, some providers still have plans that limit the number of minutes that you can use during weekdays (often called "anytime minutes"). Minutes for nights and weekends, on the other hand, are always unlimited. Messaging brings its own charges so be sure to explore your options. You're better off buying a message bundle or paying for unlimited messaging than paying for each message that you send.

Data plan types also vary widely. Some deliver unlimited data while others restrict you to a certain amount for each month (what we call tiered plans). Once you go over your set data amount, you'll have to pay big fees. Alternatively, if you're getting service for a family or group of friends, shared plans will pool voice and data use across multiple devices. Note also that some carriers charge extra if you want to enjoy 4G speeds.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

4) Your phone
If your heart is set on a particular phone that's available with only one carrier, then you may have skipped the previous points entirely. But if you've yet to decide which handset you should buy (again, see CNET's cell phone buying guide for more help with that process), don't assume that each carrier's device lineup is the same. Selection varies widely, so it pays to think about which kind of phone you'd like and which carrier(s) offer it.

Up until recently, contract-based carriers strictly limited how often you could buy a new phone with the subsidized price, even if you extended your contract. But over the last few weeks, the largest providers (following T-Mobile's lead) have introduced early-upgrade plans that have changed the roles. Terms will vary as I'll explain below, and they're not the same value by any measure. Maggie Reardon has an excellent comparison of the different upgrade planshere.

A welcome trend over the last year is that popular devices like the iPhone 5 and theSamsung Galaxy S4 now land at multiple providers. That may help make your decisions easier, but keep in mind that even on these common phones you can have a vastly different customer experience depending on your carrier choice.

5) Customer service
Unfortunately, there's no way to predict this. For everyone who has a horror story with a provider, there probably are almost as many people who have had no problem. Also, though consumer studies singing the praises of different carriers continue to get headlines, there are no guarantees. So all you can do is make your choice, hope for the best, and be your own advocate if you aren't pleased.

(Credit: CNET)

Carrier basics

Verizon Wireless

The biggest wireless carrier in United States, Verizon Wireless operates a robust and far-reaching 4G LTE network and a strong lineup of smartphones, feature phones, and basic handsets. A joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone, Verizon Wireless was formed in 2000 through a merger between GTE Wireless and Bell Atlantic.

Things you should know about Verizon Wireless: 

  • Verizon requires a "Share Everything" plan that includes unlimited and text and voice calls for multiple devices plus a monthly allotment of data use. The monthly price increases based on the number and type of devices you add to the plan and the amount of data that you elect to use.
  • As a CDMA carrier, Verizon's international coverage is limited to a handful of countries, but it offers dual-mode CDMA/GSM handsets.
  • Verizon offers prepaid plans.
  • Verizon announced Edge, its early upgrade program, in July 2013. You buy a new phone without a down payment, but you're on the hook for 24 monthly payments before the handset is really yours. Also, Verizon limits you to one upgrade every six months and you have paid off 50 percent of the price of your handset before you can trade it in for a new device.


AT&T is the second-largest wireless carrier in the United States after Verizon Wireless, at least for now. Today, AT&T has an extensive lineup of GSM devices, and it continues to grow its 4G LTE network. The current company came to be in 2007 when Cingular Wireless, which acquired the original AT&T Wireless in 2004, changed its name to AT&T.

Things you should know about AT&T:

  • Like Verizon, AT&T has shared plans with data tiers for smartphones customers, but customers can stick with an individual plan if they prefer.
  • As a GSM carrier, AT&T offers extensive international roaming.
  • AT&T offers prepaid and family plans through its Go service. Also, on May 9, 2013, it launched a new prepaid brand called Aio. In addition to not requiring contracts, Aio allows customers to pay for a phone up front in installments. Alternatively, customers can bring a compatible unlocked phone.
  • AT&T Next allows customers to upgrade once every 12 months. There's no option for a down payment and you'll pay off your handset over the course of 20 months (to determine a monthly payment, AT&T divides its total cost by 20). When your year is up you can trade in your phone and start the process again. On the other hand, you must pay off your phone completely if you leave AT&T before your finished making those 20 payments.


Though its merger with Nextel occurred way back in 2005, Sprint finally is phasing out the defunct carrier's iDEN network while retaining push-to-talk service. Sprint was the first carrier to offer a 4G network through WiMax technology, but it is now transitioning to LTE. As such, its 4G coverage is far behind that of AT&T and Verizon for the time being. Sprint carrier offers handsets of all stripes, including a few handsets with rugged designs.

Things you should know about Sprint:

  • Sprint continues to offer unlimited calling and data plans. On July 11, 2013, the carrierunveiled its Unlimited Guarantee, which promises that the monthly price of your service plan will not change for the life of your line of service.
  • Its international CDMA coverage has a smaller footprint than GSM, but Sprint has dual-mode CDMA/GSM handsets.
  • Sprint has family and prepaid plans. Prepaid service also is available through its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile subsidiaries.

Popular flagship smartphones like the iPhone (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S3 are now available across multiple carriers.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)


After narrowly escaping a merger with AT&T in 2012, T-Mobile remains the smallest of the big four U.S. carriers. It now operates an LTE network and continues to operate an HSPA+ "Faux G" network that offers LTE-comparable speeds. T-Mobile was the last major carrier to sell the iPhone and it was an early leader in Android. Compared with the other major carriers, its home network is less prevalent in rural areas.

Things you should know about T-Mobile:

  • In March 2013, T-Mobile changed its service plan model. Most importantly, it did away with contracts completely, which means that you can end your service at any time. Customers get unlimited voice and text messaging service, and on top of that can choose from a variety of data packages. Though total data use is unlimited, T-Mobile prices its plans by how much 4G data you can use each month. Also, T-Mobile no longer offer subsidies for its phones. You can either pay full price for the phone up front or you can "finance" your handset by paying monthly installments for two years.
  • As a GSM carrier and a subsidiary of Germany's Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile has extensive international roaming.
  • T-Mobile carrier offers no-contract family plans.
  • T-Mobile kicked off the early upgrade trend by announcing Jump on July 10, 2013. Available only for customers who are paying off their handset in installments (so if you paid full price, you're out of luck), Jump requires an extra fee of $10 per month, which also works as an insurance policy. You'll buy your device in 24 monthly payments, but, unlike AT&T and Verizon, you start with a down payment. After you're in the Jump program for six months, you're eligible for their first trade-in. You'll have to make another down payment on your new handset, but the process starts again at that point. Note, however, that you can upgrade no more than twice in a 12-month period.
For a detailed comparison of early upgrade plans and an analysis of which carrier offers the best deal, see this edition of Ask Maggie

U.S. Cellular

Based in Chicago, U.S. Cellular is a regional carrier serving 26 states in the Midwest, the Southeast, and the Northwest. Its smartphone lineup is a bit smaller than the Big Four providers and largely sticks to Android models including Galaxy S4. It launched its LTE network in 2012, though coverage is limited to larger urban areas. Unique among carriers, U.S. Cellular offers rewards points that long-term customers can redeem for new phones, accessories, and downloadable content.

Things you should know about U.S. Cellular:

  • You can opt for contract-based, prepaid, or family plans. U.S. Cellular has unlimited calling, but data comes in tiered packages.
  • As a CDMA carrier, international coverage is limited.
  • U.S. Cellular's home network isn't nationwide, but it has roaming agreements with several partners for nationwide service.


On May 1, 2013, T-Mobile and MetroPCS completed a planned merger. Though the two carriers are now operating as one company, the brands and services will remain distinct for the time being.

Serving customers in select markets in 15 states, MetroPCS is a completely prepaid carrier. Though its handset roster tends toward no-frills models, it has plenty of Android smartphones and touch-screen handsets including the Galaxy S3. MetroPCS has a growing 4G LTE network, but coverage and speeds aren't as robust as they are at the major carriers.

Things you should know about MetroPCS:

  • As a CDMA carrier, international coverage is limited.
  • Most plans include unlimited talk, text, and Web browsing.
  • MetroPCS' home network isn't nationwide, but it has roaming agreements with several carrier partners for nationwide service.

Prepaid carriers skew mostly toward low-end and midrange handsets like the LG Motion 4G.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)


A subsidiary of Leap Wireless International founded in 1999, Cricket serves select communities in 35 states and does not require contracts. It operates a growing LTE network, but outside of the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S4, its handset lineup trends toward basic and midrange models. Cricket's Muve Music plan, launched in January 2011, gives customers unlimited music downloads and playbacks in addition to talk, text, and Internet.

Things you should know about Cricket:

  • As a CDMA carrier, international coverage is limited.
  • Cricket offers unlimited plans for talk, text, and data.
  • You'll be using another carrier's network when roaming outside Cricket's home network area.

Virgin Mobile

For the most part, Virgin Mobile aims its prepaid service at the youth market. In February 2013, Virgin started using Sprint's LTE network while keeping older devices on Sprint's dwindling WiMax network. As for devices, it has a few smartphones, including Android models and the iPhone 5. First launched in 2001, Virgin Mobile is now fully owned by Sprint.

Things you should know about Virgin Mobile:

  • As a CDMA carrier, international coverage is limited.
  • The "Beyond Talk" monthly plans bring unlimited data and messaging, and you can opt for unlimited calling as well. The "PayLo" plans are cheaper, but you get fewer calling minutes and tiered data.
  • Virgin devices operate on Sprint's network.


Like Virgin, Boost Mobile is wholly owned by Sprint and is geared toward budget-minded consumers. Boost does not require contracts, and its Shrinkage Plan offers reduced monthly rates over time. It carries mostly midrange Android models and a variety of basic phones. As for 4G, its older phones run on Sprint's WiMax network, but newer models use Sprint LTE. Originally launched in New Zealand and Australia in 2001, Boost USA launched in 2003.

Things you should know about Boost Mobile:

  • Boost handsets operate on Sprint network.
  • Boost offers a monthly plan with unlimited voice calls, text, and Web browsing. You also can pay for voice calling by the day or by the minute.
  • As a CDMA carrier, international coverage is limited.

by Group Owner on Feb. 6, 2014 at 10:21 AM



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