These days, the cell phone industry is ultra-competitive with wireless providers vying for your business. The change has been great for consumers and has brought about some of the lowest monthly cost seen in the business. If you are looking to change wireless providers, here are a few items you should consider when courting your potential new suitor.
- What do do with your current device?
Here in the USA there are two cell phone technologies used by cell phone companies, which are CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles). Assuming your device was bought from your current cell phone provider, you need to be aware of where and to who you can take the device.
The Big 4 are separated evenly when it comes to cell phone network technology with AT&T and T-Mobile using GSM while Verizon and Sprint use CDMA. More importantly, all of the Big 4 have what is called MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) which enter into an agreement with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and/or Sprint to obtain access to their networks services under individual branding.
More often than not, one is able to take a device from one of the Big 4 and use it on a corresponding MVNO pretty seamlessly and without many restrictions. Below we have compiled a list of MVNOs based on the Big 4 for reference.
AT&T & MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators)
T-Mobile & MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators)
Sprint and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators)
Verizon & MVNOs
Being properly armed with an understanding about cell phone technology gives you the ability to make an informed decision. A decision that hinges on which provider can support your existing device. Now that you have decided on a suitor for your wireless services lets move on to last bits of changing networks.
- What is cell phone unlocking and do I need to have my device unlocked?
Cell phone unlocking is removing the SIM lock placed on your device by the original carrier. Cell phone unlocking is specifically for GSM networks phones such as AT&T and T-Mobile in most cases. If you are going to move from one carrier including MVNOs (AT&T <=> T-Mobile) to the other then your current device will need an unlock code in order to operate on another network. Our sister site UnlockMyTalk.com can provide factory unlocked codes for all major cell phone providers.
The process is really simple and all done remotely, which means you do not have to send your phone anywhere and you can unlock it on your own. UnlockMyTalk.com just needs your device info including brand, model, IMEI (Press *#06# on your keypad), and original carrier of your device.
Once your order has been submitted we will being processing your unlock code with delivery times varying based on your device. When the unlock code is ready, we will automatically email you the results to your email provided and check out. Just put in the code provided and your device will be unlocked. We will provide additional instructions on finishing the unlock process as well in our unlock code email.
- How do I keep my current number and move (port) it to another wireless provider
Porting 1 on 1
- A wireless provider cannot stop you from porting your number as long as your account is in good standing.
- If you are keeping your current device you may need to provide the IMEI (device serial number) to your new provider.
- Only the primary account holder can make a port request.
- Cell phone, wire-line, fax, and pre-pay numbers can be ported.
- Contact your current provider and request account information needed to process a port of your number. Usually this info is your account number and password/pin.
- Contact your new provider of choice to setup a new line of service and provide them with your port request information
- Your new cell phone provider will provide you an active SIM with a temporary number until the port process has concluded
- Your new carrier will submit the port request with your old provider, which can take up to 24 hours
Tips and Links
- You can find direct links to cell phone provider transfer pages by clicking on the following google link How Do I Port My Number
- We recommend visiting OpenSignal.com and CellReception.com to see what carriers have the best coverage in your area