Thursday, November 20, 2003

Here's how to keep your number

If you want to switch cell phone providers, but keep your cell phone number, here are some things you should know:

• When you switch providers, you will probably have to buy a new phone because your current handset might not be compatible with the new carrier's network.

• The new rules only apply when you're switching providers in the same calling area. If you're moving from Cincinnati to, say, California, you can't keep your number.

• To make the switch, call or visit the new carrier to make sure your number can be switched. Don't cancel your old service before the switch to your new carrier is completed.

• To make the switch, customers will need their current contract, most recent bill and personal identification.

• The switchover is expected to take a few hours, as your account information is moved from the old to new carrier. Switching a wire line to wireless service will take longer, possibly several days.

• If you're moving your wire-line number to a wireless service, your wire-line long distance service will not move with you. The wireless provider will generally provide long distance service.

• For more information on number portability, go to the FCC's Web site:

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