Canceling your current mobile phone service and switching to a new one isn’t as easy as you think. For instance, you may want to keep your old number and get specific mobile services. This will involve taking a few extra steps on top of the usual procedure of opening a new account.
Whatever your reasons are for making a switch, it’s important that you are well-informed about the process so you can be aware of what to expect.
Assuming that you’ll be taking your current phone number with you, here are the important things you should know before signing a new mobile service contract.
1. Your account gets canceled when you transfer your number
Many people forget to consider this fact when switching to another service provider. If you only have one phone number with your current provider and you plan to retain that when you make a switch, then your account with your previous provider will automatically get canceled unless you have a special arrangement with your current provider. Since there’s no phone number on the account, it then gets canceled as the account has no reason to exist.
2. The transfer will take a few days
If you’re taking your current phone number when you switch, expect that the process won’t be instantaneous. You will pass through various technical and legal factors. This is why the transfer of your existing phone number to your new service provider may take a few days.
The infrastructure which supports the porting of your phone number may not have been updated in a long time, which means the process can’t be completed quickly. There will be a verification process to prove to your new service provider that you own the number. Then, your previous service provider will “approve” the release of your number and process the transfer.
You may have to allow at least one to four weeks for the transfer to be done.
3. Your phone won’t function unless it gets a new number
Remember that your current mobile device may not continue functioning as before when you sign up with the new phone service provider. If you have been using a specific device with your current provider and it comes with the phone number you wish or need to keep, that device will go dead the moment you port your number to a new service provider.
4. The current features of the phone number will get cleared
Your phone number is where your service providers attach features, and these capabilities won’t automatically follow the number when you transfer. If you’re taking your number to a new service provider, expect that the features you once had, like call forwarding or SMS, will get cleared.
The only way you can keep those features is to ensure that your new service providers also offer the same. This way, when you switch and port out your number, you get the features that you want, plus more from the new provider that you can now choose to add.
When to make a switch?
If you plan to switch to a new service provider, consider the timing. For example, should you wait for a new phone to get released or not?
If you don’t currently care about getting the latest device on the market, you can switch anytime you like. But whenever new flagship phones get released, major service providers tend to go into overdrive to win more customers or keep the ones they have. Often, there are also special perks, like a rewards program, offered to loyal customers to encourage them to stay.
Overall, the best time to switch phone service providers and upgrade to a new phone is when a major phone model gets launched. When you time it right, you can trade your old phone then get out of your old contract and have a brand-new device – all with your new service provider.
How to switch?
If you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s the information you need.
- Do you need to sign up for a new plan in person?
You can easily switch service providers by signing up with your new provider online. But most people prefer having a customer service representative walk them through the process in person.
- Should you cancel your old service first?
Don’t cancel your existing service until your new phone plan gets activated and your device is ready to use. This will save you from tons of trouble as it may take longer for your new service provider to port over your existing phone number and data.
Understanding what the process of switching phone service providers entails can help you prepare yourself beforehand to reduce the potential stress and confusion involved. With the right knowledge, you can become confident that you made the right choice before signing a new contract.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.