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Cellphone Number Portability -- A Big Lie?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the caught-in-the-small-print? dept.

Wireless Networking 108

juuri asks: "Having spoken to a few friends it seems like troubles with cell phone portability here in the States is rampant. However today I ran into a new problem, it seems numbers aren't really portable if you move. For example if one has an LA number and moves to a different region (which vary greatly from carrier to carrier) you can not move your number with you if you switch to a new carrier such as Cingular or T-Mobile. Why not? You obviously already have the number and with nationwide roaming plans there is no reason for such distinctions. Even more alarming is that your new regional arm of your carrier may give you much trouble over your previous contract and basically refuse to give you service unless you sign up for a new, local region one. Does anyone know of a cell provider that lets you move your number, regardless of region?" It seems that the latest new thing for cellphones has turned into more of a flop, than a feature. Has anyone else run into this problem? Were you able to keep your number, or were you forced to change it?

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But Why change? (4, Insightful)

Johnathon_Dough (719310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470521)

When I moved from San Francisco to LA (then back again a year later) I never changed my billing. I already had free roaming and no long distance charges, so I just kept my 415 area code, even though I lived in LA. Aside from the slight annoyance of having to explain that I really lived in LA, it was no problem, ATT just sent my bill to my LA address.

Re:But Why change? (3, Insightful)

Lshmael (603746) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470555)

Some people don't like their carrier. For example, what if one day you wake up and realize that Cingular offers better service? Since it would cost AT&T money to change your number, it was more cost-effective for them to just let you keep it. If you switch a new carrier, it is cheaper for them to make you change.

Re:But Why change? (3, Insightful)

Johnathon_Dough (719310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470588)

but that is slightly different than the posters question. he is moving to a new area code, and wanting to change his service, I do not find it surprising that the local carriers are saying no to him.

If he is interested in keeping his same number, area code included, he could switch to which ever service he wants back in the area that his phone is from.

Re:But Why change? (2, Insightful)

yoyodyne (469596) | more than 10 years ago | (#8475480)

Then for anyone in LA to call you makes it long distance for them. Not everyone has free long distance, particularly landlines and businesses.

latest new things about cellphones (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8470541)

latest new things about cellphones = slashdot.org link

wtf? slashdot is the latest that cell phone users can get?

slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

linuxdawg (730659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470557)

How is /..com the "latest new thing for cellphones" ??

Re:slashdot? (-1)

linuxdawg (730659) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470572)

sorry it seems fixed.... its now to an article MOD ME DOWN

Why? (0, Troll)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470561)

Would anyone choose to switch to T-Mobile or Cingular?

I would recommend switching to an avian messaging system or tin cans over either carrier.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

ratsnapple tea (686697) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470853)

T-Mobile gives you unlimited free GPRS with every plan, so you can use your phone's email client without worrying about bandwidth limits. Or you can use your Bluetooth phone to connect to the Internet anywhere you get signal (which in Manhattan, admittedly, means you'll have to sit next to the window, but it's still useful sometimes).

Cingular gives you commercials strangely reminiscent of Apple's "Switch" campaign, except with hot girls.

Re:Why? (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8472041)

That is cool... when I had T-Mobile, the signal was totally hit or miss and the voice quality was abysmal.

My dad had Cingular back when it was Cellular One in our area. At that time they used franchised tower operators, some of whom billed Cellular One quarterly. This poses a problem when your plan allocates minutes monthly. (I think this situation led to the rollover minute plans)

Re:Why? (1)

jsfetzik (40515) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474694)

Had Cingular/CellOne in the Chicago area for a few years. They were okay for our relatively low usage. Switched to T-Mobile about 8 months and have no problems with the service.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8475751)

I switched to T-Mobile because of their $20 a month plan... I'm in school right now and the cheapest is the best. I think AT&T might have one too but they don't cover here. I used to have Sprint but their cheapest plan was $45 a month. BTW I can never recommend Sprint to anyone, they have abysmal customer service who will outright lie to you to make them the extra dollar.

Re:Why? (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474961)

Do you mean a system like the one defined in RFC1149 [faqs.org] ?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477397)

Would anyone choose to switch to T-Mobile or Cingular?

Because the T-Mobile chick is hot.

Troll? (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8482804)

Why is this guy a troll? In Jersey, the only thing that is remotely consistant is verizon. Cingular, T-Mobil, and the others have horrible service in the most densely populated state. Sure verizon doesn't have rollover and it's expensive, but hey, you get what you pay for.

If the question asked was: "which program for doing ... should I use in windows" and he answered with: "windows?? use linux you retard!" he would have been modded +5 Insightful.

Let's see if I can get -1 flamebait for this one!

the deal on porting (4, Informative)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470589)

Porting OUTSIDE OF YOUR AREA is not always possible.

The numbers are still linked, geographically, to a specific place.

The carrier where you are going to at the very least, needs to have a presence geographically within the same market that your phone number came out of. I'm not sure how it works internally, but I'd be willing to lay odds that at least some carriers are unable to take a number from one area, and transfer it to another -- like they won't activate a phone for a customer that lives outside their presence area - they can't take a phone number from outside their presence area.

In THEORY, however, as long as both carriers have a presence in the same geographic telephone LEC, then they should be able to port.. they may have to set it up under your old address, then change the billing address.. but it could be done. If they don't have presence in the old location though, it ain't gonna happen.

Re:the deal on porting (2, Interesting)

evilad (87480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470755)

OK, so why can't I, in NYC, purchase a cell plan in a different zone, say LA? Why is it necessary that I have a mailing address in the zone where I want service?

This sounds to me like just another arbitrary way to shaft the customer.

Re:the deal on porting (3, Interesting)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471022)

In at least the case of Verizon, where they at one point had several different billing systems, it was mostly a billing system issue. Since Verizon and Cingular are made up of a whole crapload of smaller carriers that were once regional or local carriers, their billing systems couldn't handle the deal.

Sprint PCS requires an address in the area where you are getting the area code.. but you can have the billing address be something else.

That might actually be FCC restrictions, not allowing them to sell numbers for say Detroit to a customer in Florida, I don't know that one.

I don't have all the whys, but I do work in the business. :D

Re:the deal on porting (2, Informative)

KevMar (471257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471526)

Two years ago I moved from seattle to Lincoln, NE. Verizon does not have home coverage in Lincoln, but because my plan included the extended network, I still got service.

I tried several times to get a local (or atleast in state) number. Every time I called they refused to give me a number. I could not get a Lincoln number because they dont have local coverage. I could not get a Omaha number because I did not live in Omaha (where they do have coverage).

Finaly, I added a second phone to my plan at an Omaha store and they "made" me get a local "Omaha" number.

Hey, atleast it is in the state.

Re:the deal on porting (2, Informative)

crazymennonite (40480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474672)

FYI you're probably costing your friends more money by having them call an intra-state call, rates for that are generally higher than inter-state calls on most POTS service plans.

Re:the deal on porting (1)

KevMar (471257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8481157)

Good point, but most cellphone plans have free long distance in a limited service area. All my friends have coverage that grants them free longdistance in Nebraska.

everyone I know my age has made the move to wireless plans. No land line for us.

Now, my parents on the other hand ... Yes is does cost them more.

Re:the deal on porting (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476029)

Yeah, but with Sprint you can move and keep your old number. I've moved out of area code twice since I got my 508 numer, and I still have it. I haven't lived in the 508 area code for 4 years. If I went to get a new number, they'd make me get a local one, but once you've got a number they let you keep it.

Re:the deal on porting (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8475124)

With T-Mobile, you can. We live in Connecticut, and that's our billing address with them. My wife has two phones with T-Mobile and one has a 413 area code (Massachusetts) and the other is 805 (California, which she sent to her sister there). The reason she got the 413 instead of 860 (CT) initially was because the 860 block was full, but now we're used to it and it doesn't matter anyway. Technically you can't purchase any area code when you sign up, I guess, but if you call them, they'll switch your number to any area code you want that they have available.

national numbers (1)

boarder (41071) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476034)

You can, or at least, you could with Sprint (pre-portability).

When I got my first cell phone, it was bought and billed to Indiana; but I requested a Los Angeles number since I would be living there for the summer. They allowed me to do that. When I moved back, I requested an Indianapolis number. After finishing school, I moved back to L.A. and still have my Indy number (but am billed in L.A.).

If the carriers are giving him problems, the obvious and simple solution would be for him to switch carriers NOW (before he moves), keep his old number, and just change billing addressses later.

Re:the deal on porting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477143)

You don't have to. They want the phone to be assigned a number that is appropriate for the area it's going to be used in the most. So if say, you "live" in Chicago but spend five days a week in California, they will want the phone to have a California number.

If you live in Chicago you can't get a California phone number just because you want it. Numbers are still tied to area codes and rough geographic areas.

I know in my contract it says that they have the right to change your number if you make/receive more than a certain percentage of calls (like 80%) from another area. So if you sign up in Texas and then move to Florida, eventually they will notice and want to switch you to a Florida number.

Re:the deal on porting (2, Insightful)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470947)


What about porting of landline phone numbers to cell phones? Is this possible, even between carriers, especially if the carriers like to claim the phone numbers are bound to a geographic region?

Re:the deal on porting (3, Informative)

XO (250276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470996)

Yes, it is possible, although the same rules do apply. I've seen it work, sometimes amazingly fast, sometimes, amazing slow.. sometimes the number isn't available to be ported into that system, though.

Re:the REAL deal on porting (2, Informative)

WirelessMike (715106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476612)

The FCC, In it's original mandates to wireline LECs to implement LNP (Local Number Portability) limits portability to a wireline rate center. That is, the area you can call locally on your phone without toll charges or extended area agreements (referred to in the industry as EAS). The reason for this is extreme difficulty in automated billing systems and the technological limitations with "querying" every single call to every ported number in the United States. Respecting these logical and proven limitations, the FCC has retained the same limitation (portable withing the rate center, only) in their mandate on wireless number portability. In other words-- It has never been expected, nor demanded by the FCC or the industry to try to make numbers portable across large geographic regions. There is no "theory" on this matter. LNP has been tested and implemented throughout the United States. It's been working since 1997, when the original mandate came out to wireline LEC (LEC, by the way, stands for Line Exchange Carrier or "service provider"). Wireless rate centers are much larger than wirline rate centers and can overlap several wireline rate centers, but they can only port numbers to the limitation of their presence in the rate center of the carrier they are porting from. So, the wireless carrier cannot port a number to anywhere in their rate center-- They can only port a number to anywhere in the DONOR's rate center. This is how it is supposed to work, and this is how it DOES work. The technology required by service providers nationwide to port numbers over large geographic regions (often referred to in the industry as "geographic portability") is not yet available, and what is available is far too expensive to justify the charges to customers like yourself to recover the cost. Keep tabs on the FCC to find out when it WILL be available.

The latest new thing.. (3, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470623)

The link goes to the story that has the link to the story.. to the story.. with the link.. OH GOD MY MIND!

Just did it today (4, Interesting)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470626)

I just got my new phone from T-Mobile (via Amazon) today and called around 1:00pm to get the number portability in. The total call lasted 11 minutes, including a phonetree misstep and a service addition. They said that it would take up to 14 business days for the transfer to happen, during which I couldn't use my old number. As luck would have it, my number transferred 6 hours later and I'm up and running!

It wasn't instantanious, but I couldn't imagine things going more smoothly.

Re:Just did it today (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8471184)

Worked smoothly for me to.

I ported my Verison number to my family plan on sprint to take advantage of free mobil to moble calling (The rest of my family uses Sprint). My family lives in MD I live in CA my father works in GA. Everything went fine. Also a note, I got my number ported at a MD sprint location. So we have 1 phone that is used in MD and billed in MD. One that is used in GA and billed to MD and one that was transfrerd from Verizon, used in CA and billed to MD. It took 5 days to transfer the number but I was able to use my old carrier in the mean time.

Re:Just did it today (2, Interesting)

elmegil (12001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471767)

I ported my old Sprint number (about 3 years old) to Verizon two weeks ago. I had the "it may take up to 48 hours" speech too, but it only took a couple. No problems. I didn't move state to state, but other than that possible complication my experience doesn't seem like a big lie.

I switched my landine to cell w/o a problem (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474742)

I switched my land-line telephone number to a cell phone and it all went extremely smoothly, especially in regards to Verizon ending my account. I never contacted them, and they never contacted me, my service was terminated, and I got half of a bill.

The cell phone could make calls immediately, and began receiving calls within 10 days, but my old line still worked over that period.

Re:Just did it today (1)

InfoCynic (71942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476302)

Funny. I got a phone in early December (also T-Mobile). The sales rep checked my number elegibility and started the transfer process. I called about 2 weeks later, they had a problem because they thought the number was from SPRINT, not SPRINT PCS (DUH!). So they fixed that and resubmitted the data, or so they said. Call back another 2 weeks later... Your request has been cancelled (this was appearently a good thing, because they had to cancel the old one before they could start the new one). Call back in ANOTHER 2 weeks. "It's being processed." Call back in another week (c'mon, it was being processed). "Your request has been cancelled."

Turns out my number was NOT elegible for transfer... my area, despite being home to a big 10 university, somehow eludes the infamous "top 100" cell phone markets. Honestly. So now I have an extra phone which I paid decent money for which will be 6+ months old by the time I get to use it for the first time.

latest new thing for cellphones? (0, Offtopic)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470676)

link color suggests that i've already read that...? must be reading in my sleep...

oh, a link to slashdot!

oh, a link to slashdot!

oh, a link to slashdot!

oh, a link to slashdot!

Number portability isn't done! (4, Informative)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470735)

The first wave was the top 100 MSA's (Metro Service Area), so if you are moving from, say, Louisville KY to one of the outlying RSA's (Rural Service Area) or even another MSA in KY, you would be in a different area code and the number portability would be rejected.

As for the posters argument that there should be no problem since you are going from one provider's nationwide plan to another, there is no such thing as "Free long distance" or "Free Roaming", someone has to pay for the towers, radios, switches, and the fiber connecting them. Your provider is constantly analyzing if they can turn a profit on the average user, with average usage per month, at whatever price point we're talking about. The trucker on a $100/month nationwide plan that uses $110 of service will be ballanced out by that persone who buys a 400 minute anytime plan for 40 a month but never leaves your towers/fiber ring/switches.

IIRC (4, Informative)

octover (22078) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470765)

All of the number portability things had a disclaimer that it needed to be in the same local market. As someone suggested, just change your billing address if you are happy with your service, if you don't have roaming or long distance charges it should cost you just the same.

Actually, I've had exactly the opposite experience (4, Interesting)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470766)

I use Nextel, and when I needed a local number in another state, it was no problem to add a second line to my existing service with that number. The model phone I had at the time actually allowed me to have one number show up as "Line 1" and the other show up as "Line 2" - I know with Cingular, at least in NC, the limit is one number per phone.

I've since dropped the second number (you do have to sign a year contract, which is annoying), but I also know Sprint will activate a number for you anywhere from anywhere in the nation.

Also, a lot of the VoIP services will let you choose where your local number is provisioned. I know of a few folks who buy family overseas a "local" number, then send the the VoIP equipment to them. They hook it to the Internet, then call a local number to reach family in Europe or Mexico. Actually, it's pretty slick.

I think eventually, long distance service as we know it will be a thing of the past. My company pays something along the lines of 2.5 cents a minute for intra- and inter-LATA long distance (we actually run a "cooperative" that pools several companies and negotiates lower rates with the LD providers out there - if you're interested, send me an IM - we don't make any money, but the more people we sign up, the lower we can push rates down!) Eventually, the phrase "too cheap to meter" might become a reality.

VoIP the Way to Go... (1)

sunbane (146740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8475910)

VoIP services are indeed the way to do this... you can transfer your cell phone number to your vonage account and then you can set that up to ring your internet phone first and then if that is not answered to forward to another number (your new cell phone #)... The virtual numbers are pretty cool - you can have local number for Chicago, New York, and LA all on your business card, all coming to your secret lab in Montana...

What's so hard about number portability? (1)

FruitCak (56337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470795)

Event Telstra over here in oz managed to figure it out so it cant be that hard

Re:What's so hard about number portability? (2, Interesting)

Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471503)

I think the ease of number porting in Australia is an example of the different telecommunication architectures developed in different countries.

Australia has a specific number range dedicated to mobile phones (04XXXX-XXXX). You can't tell where a person is by the number, but since the numbers were originally assigned in arbitrary segments to carriers, you could take a guess what carrier someone was with. Now that number porting has been introduced, a mobile number is exactly that. Not fixed to a location (since it never was) and not fixed to a carrier

Some Australian mobile carriers even allow you to pick your number, charging more for numbers with special digit combinations. but I digress.

The problem with US number portability is that the cell phone number isn't really "portable". It's a hack, because of the lack of foresight in assigning a different area code specifically for cell phones, regardless of carrier or location. To be honest, I don't know any other country that actually uses existing area codes for mobile phones, but then my knowledge of global mobile phone number designations is somewhat limited.

Re:What's so hard about number portability? (1)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8472831)

Canada sure does. And there are some cell-only area codes in america. (greater houston comes to mind, only because my sister lives there. As she's explained it to me, local service and some cells get 281 or 713, and 832 is just cell numbers.)

Re:What's so hard about number portability? (1)

Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473024)

Then the question arises: does Canada have number portability and if so, how easy/screwy is it to change carriers and keep your number?

Re:What's so hard about number portability? (1)

Oopsz (127422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476010)

We don't have wireless portability... Well, not exactly.

Some of the wireless carriers are also registered as CLECs. This means you can port wireless numbers to wireline numbers, then to another wireless carrier. It's kludgey as hell, and only one wireless carrier (Microcell communications [www.fido.ca] ) is a CLEC nationwide. They tend to push the ability to move your home phone # to a mobile, and unplug from a landline, rather than move your cell number from another carrier. It sometimes screws up text messaging services, and prevents analogue roaming because of billing problems, but it works.

If they had a seperate area code for cell phones.. (1, Interesting)

Googo (695955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470858)

then maybe it would be more reasonable. However, as most area codes are still linked to specific areas, the extra amount of numbers an area code in a specific region may have to handle due to people wanting to maintain that phone number may cause regions to go through very annoying area code splits, which of course would mean half of the population in that area code would suddenly have to dial extra digits to call someone in that area code.

Would be nice to have an area code just for cells for people who want easy portability to different regions, but that would also cause problems such as people not wanting to call due to long distance charges.

Re:If they had a seperate area code for cell phone (4, Interesting)

riprjak (158717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8472093)

...like they do in Australia ;)

Sure, we have only 19odd million people, but from the outset our mobiles ("cell's") have had separate area codes, originally the area codes indicated carrier, but now we have number portability, we just recognise a mobile number from its 04xx (or +614xx) prefix but cant infer carrier anymore.

just a pointless $0.02
err!
jak

Re:If they had a seperate area code for cell phone (1)

jester42 (623276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8483985)

That's pretty much the same system we have in germany, too. There are designated prefixes for cell phones, grouped by carriers. Now you can take your number with you when switching providers.
But this is really not as cool as you might think because there are different rates when calling numbers of different cell providers. And calling a number of carrier A can be twice as expensive as calling a number of carrier B.

And now with the prefix-carrier relation gone, there is no way for to find out how much the call actually will be. I think there is a service number that i can call and ask but that's really not very userfriendly.

A couple of thoughts (1)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470860)

Cell phones still rely on area codes. Hence why you will need a new number when you move. You just switched area codes, and so there's a chance that your old number may be in useinyour new area code.

Secondly. The first link there (added by an editor it seems) points to the slashdot front page. Hope this helps those in charge make this site runa little smoother for the editors.

Re:A couple of thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8471224)

If you have nation wide roming you do not need to switch your area code. I had a 510 number when I was living in the 408 area code. Now I have a 510 number, live in the 408 area code and have the bill sent to the 309 area code. (Providers were verizon and sprint) So, no, you do not need a new number if you change area codes as long as you have a nationwide plan.

WTF? (3, Interesting)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470939)

I did exactly what the poster claims could not be done. Perhaps I got lucky, but here is what I did:

Was using a Sprint phone with Chicago suburbs area code. (And living in another state, I might add.) Moved to NYC. Bought a T-Mobile phone with a NY area code. A bit later, had T-Mobile port my Sprint number over.

Number portability is great! Because of cell phones, area codes are irrelevant, so I figured there was no reason to lose my old number which had served me for so long. (Plus I was getting random calls in Chinese, a language I don't know, meant for the former owner of the NY number.) I know zero, count 'em, zero people for whom area code has any relevance.

Re:WTF? (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8472485)

Especially in new york, now that we have 11-digit dialing.

On that note, can someone please explain to me what the heck the point of 11 digit dialing is? Isn't the semantic content of the leading 1 exactly null? Why not 10 digit? My cell phone allows it...

Re:WTF? (1)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473100)

> what the heck the point of 11 digit dialing is? Isn't the semantic content of the leading 1 exactly null?

That annoys me too, and I've wondered about this. Some theories:

- The US is technically "country code" 1. I'm not sure if this is the one we're dialing there, though. It makes no sense if it is, because it's not parallel with the other countries, i.e. I don't think you can just dial 44-whatever to call your friend in the UK. Anyone care to explain just how you do directly dial another country?

- I guess maybe it's there for compatibility reasons, so people who are trained to dial 1-800-yadda yadda or similar all their life won't get confused. Seems like optional 11/10 digit dialing would be okay though.

Re:WTF? (1)

_hAZE_ (20054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473218)

Dialing another country is easy..

011 + Country Code + Number

So like..

01144... ..would be a UK number.

They don't teach you that in school, though. You kind of have to ask around at work and find someone who's had to phone the London office. =)

Re: WTF? (1)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474792)

Umm, its simple. The leading 1 tells switching equipment you're about to dial 10 digits, not 7. Otherwise, there'd be no way other than a long pause to tell when you're finished dialing.

For example:
If you dial 413 5112, thats either a local call or the first 7 digits of a 10 digit long distance call. If the leading 1 wasn't required, the upstream switch would have to wait until it was sure you were done before connecting you. Who wants that?

--
lds

Re: WTF? (1)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8475670)

That's not exactly right...

A lot of places (New Jersey, Baltimore, NYC, ...) have ten digit dialing: even when making a call in your area code, you have to dial the area code, but you don't need the leading '1'! Maybe it's a matter of the switching equipment saying "OK, that was the local area code, discard it & read the next seven digits", but if that's the case I don't see why it couldn't just as easily understand "OK, that's a CA area code, route this call to California and send along the next seven digits".

Unless they never issue a prefix that matches the area code, i.e. "718.718.5512" is not a valid phone number.

Re: WTF? (1)

ldspartan (14035) | more than 10 years ago | (#8475884)

Well, I was attempting to speak to dialing in the usual course of events, not big-metropolitan area freaky-dialing :). I have no explanation for that.

Anyway, the reason the great grand parent poster's cell phone doesn't require a leading 1 is that it knows when you're done dialing; you hit 'send' or 'talk' or something else. Same number of keypresses as a leading one :).

--
lds

Re: WTF? (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476195)

Right, but the original question was in the context of the new york metro area, where 7-digit dialling is no longer allowed. All numbers are either three digit (in the from x11) or eleven digit (in the form 1xyzabcdefg, where !(y & z)).

But there is no 7-digit support in these areas. (1)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 10 years ago | (#8478743)

Aha. That does sound like the right answer to why the 1+ dialing is there in the first place.

But in New York (or on my VOIP [packet8.net] phone), where 11-digit is mandatory and 7-digit dialing doesn't work, you can't dial seven digits. So if you dialed 413-5112, that would logically have to be interpreted area code 413, exchange 511 [primeris.com] , and it should wait for the rest of the number.

But it doesn't do that. It just sits there and gives you a fast busy signal. I guess they don't want it to be inconsistent with the way the rest of the country does it, otherwise New Yorkers would be visiting California (where 7-digits is valid for local numbers) and ring random people trying to dial 213-555-6789.

Re:WTF? (2, Informative)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8483303)

On that note, can someone please explain to me what the heck the point of 11 digit dialing is? Isn't the semantic content of the leading 1 exactly null?

No. Among other things, it indicates the possibility that you may be dialing a number that will include a long-distance company identifier -- for example, 10-10-220-303-555-1212. The dialing plan in the US carries an enormous amount of historical baggage. Choosing a long-distance carrier, as well as the additions to the dialing plan to allow you to specify the carrier on a per-call basis, were added in 1984 when the Bell System was broken up. I don't believe the cell-phone companies are required to allow you to specify the long-distance carrier. Given the number of plans that don't make any distinction between local and long-distance, it seems unlikely that you would ever want to specify a different carrier.

Re:WTF? (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8483348)

Interesting. Best answer I've heard yet. But there's no area code 101 (I think...) so the 10-10 prefix still uniquely identifies that type of call. Ditto 011 for long distance.

Re:WTF? (2, Informative)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8485835)

But there's no area code 101 (I think...) so the 10-10 prefix still uniquely identifies that type of call.

Correct. There are currently [prodial.com] no area codes that start with 1. There are plans in progress [wikipedia.org] to add an 11th and possibly 12th digit to the North American numbering plan by 2030. If I live that long I'll be 77, and probably find it to be incredibly confusing. They may be optimistic about needing those extra digits, of course, since there's a chance that most useful devices will reside on IP-based networks by that time.

Area code relavance (was: WTF?) (1)

gnu-user (162334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8477867)


[snip] I know zero, count 'em, zero people for whom area code
has any relevance.


Shorthand response
7+-2


Longer response.

7 digits is the right number to remember. I see no compelling reason not
to limit to the best extent we can, the length of phone numbers.


Because of cell phones, area codes are irrelevant [snip]


Within a carrier network maybe. From anywhere else, this is not so. The advent
of number portability makes this more of an issue. Calls originating from
another carriers network are not routed ASN style, but regionally, AKA
area codes. While the extra routing penalty imposed may not have enough time
delay to be noticeable (I have no info on this) it certainly introduces a
lot of chaos. Given 7+-2 I believe the cost signifigantly outweighs the
benefit.

Another way of looking at this, IP routing is geographically and class based.

Not surprising... (1)

VisorGuy (548245) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470962)

And we all still get to pay for it, too.

port painless (2, Interesting)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471002)

our port was handled overnight (verizon --> t-mobile) but that may be plain old luck. interesting about the region-to-region defect.

here's a permanent fix -- how about a permanent number assigned to you for life, like a SSN. dial it, get your friend. yeah, i don't like that idea either, but it certainly is *portable*.

3 Months and port isn't complete (3, Informative)

gregRowe (173838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471018)

I've been trying since December 6th 2003 to port my landline number to a verizon phone (bought on December 6th). We were told it would take 3-4 days to port the number. I expected 2 weeks.

So far it's been 3 months and I've made more than 25 phone calls to Verizon - and still the number is not ported. To make matters even better the landline carrier, Frontier Telephone of Rochester disconnected my number today. I immediately called Verizon (yes, Verizon) about this. They tried to get a conference call to Frontier but Frontier was closed for the day.

Can someone please tell me what to do? I filed a complaint with the FCC a week or two ago. I tried contacted a local TV news source but they didn't want to help me (or couldn't). I also left a message with the NYS attorney general tonight. I really don't know who to contact.

I switched to Verizon because I was unhappy with Frontier and it wouldn't cost much more to use Verizon and have 2 phones with many more features than my landline carrier. Instead I'm faced with 3 months of phone calls to Verizon and Frontier and both companies pointing the finger at each other (and me wanting to point the finger at both).

Verizons customer support has been very friendly and seemingly helpful but the fact of the matter is that after 25 calls and 3 months time the number still isn't ported.

When I call Frontier they promptly tell me that I should be dealing with Verizon - not them. Their reps are typically very rude. A while back I was lucky enough to get a nice rep who put me in touch with her supervisor. Her supervisor was nice and contacted their porting department (which I can't contact). He said their porting department wouldn't tell him why, but that Verizon wasn't giving them the information they needed to port the number.

To the best of my knowledge Verizon has sent at least 4 port requests. 3 have been ignored and one was denied.

I almost forgot! We were never offered a temp number for the wireless phone so we can only make outgoing calls on it. This has been a major hassle.

Sorry about the rambling nature of this post but I am extremely upset...

Greg

Re:3 Months and port isn't complete (2, Informative)

vericgar (627150) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471632)

learn to turbo [macwhiz.com]

In other words, go right to the top - contact the Verizon CEO.

Re:3 Months and port isn't complete (2, Informative)

Alcemenes (460409) | more than 10 years ago | (#8472611)

It looks like your problem lies with Frontier, not Verizon. Try getting in touch with your state's PUC (public utilities commission or sometimes public service commission.) The PUC is like an 800 pound gorilla that can make telcos jump on command. There's no guarantee this will work but a lot of times they can help.

Re:3 Months and port isn't complete (1)

gregRowe (173838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474150)

Thank you for the information. It turns out that the port was completed last night. For a few hours the calls rang the disconnected landline. Late that night calls started ringing the cell phone.

I'm not done though - 3 months is FAR too long for this process to take. Someone needs to be responsible for this.

Thanks again,
Greg

Re:3 Months and port isn't complete (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474795)

I switched from Verizon local to Verizon wireless in December without a problem. Sounds like Frontier is your problem.

Sic Eliot Spitzer, the NY Atty. General, on Frontier and see what they do. If the guy can strike fear into the heart of Wall Street, he ought to be able to shake up a phone company.

Re:3 Months and port isn't complete (1)

WirelessMike (715106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8480157)

You need to contact your state's Public Service Commission. This will get it done-- Period. Outside of that, if your home phone number has been disconnected, your new provider for that phone number is most likely the holdup. Your wireline provider will not disconnect your dialtone unless they have already sent confirmation of the request from your new provider to port your number. That's the last part of the "port-out" process. Stay on your new provider for that phone number and call your state Public Service (sometimes "Utilities") Commission.

Cingular - ATT Wireless (3, Interesting)

mc_barron (546164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471027)

Did this a few months ago, when they were two separate companies. Attempted to bring my Indy number with me to Chicago. No dice. Said that it was out of the area, even though i wanted to sign up for a local plan - I just wanted to keep my number. For what it's worth, customer service and technical ability was sub par on both sides of the equation. Waiting for the day when we all just have one number (perhaps a IPv6 domain, with subdomains for each of our telephones/computers/gizmos) - that way it's ours till death. Can't wait for the future.

Just set the billing address elsewhere. (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471101)

One of my friends has got his parent's cellphone bill for years. Nobody wanted to let them get a number local to all the people they call (as if local means anything to someone with a no long distance cell phone plan with an RV). Their son still lives in that area though, so they use his address and everyone is happy.

If you want a number local to someplace, odds are very good that you know someone there who can collect your bills, and forward them. With everything online lately, you don't really even need physical bills.

Read the fine print (2, Interesting)

toast0 (63707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471116)

Most of the phone contracts I've read indicate that the carrier has the option of switching you to a local number if you remain outside your home service area for a specified period of time (I think i've seen 3 to 6 months). Since I'm not in the market for a time contracted phone, I only read the contract notes I see in the newspaper or in direct mail, so ymmv.

Number portability vs. LOCAL number portability (1, Interesting)

Subgenius (95662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471130)

Perhaps the reason you can't move your number across the country is because (from my understanding) the system was designed to mimic landline LNP (LOCAL number portability). Numbers can generaly only be moved if there is a common rate center (not nessearily an area code). If most of the cell phone providers operate out of a common local central office or location, moving is a snap. IF, however, they are outside of the same local area, the LNP rules do not apply.

This applies to cell phones and landlines. I found this out the hard way when I tried to move our company's 100 DID numbers cross-town. Some companies (SBC, for instance) WILL create a new 'virtual rate center' (fancy name for a foreign exchange prefix for inbound only), but they will charge for it.

The distance exception to LNP has been a hot button for most of the cell companies (Check back issues of the Washington Digest from NECA (http://www.neca.org) (National Exchange Carrier Organization) for more info.

-arg

carrier-switching out-of-area-code-number-porting (2, Interesting)

disappear (21915) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471644)

Funny thing, I just went through this today [livejournal.com] .

Now, my process isn't finished yet, but supposedly it'll be done in the next 24-36 hours.

My problem wasn't that T-Mobile couldn't port my number from Sprint, but that they wouldn't sell me a subsidized phone if they did. I could pay $200 for the "free" Nokia phone, and prices for other phones went up from there. Because of the way their commissions work, they only got commissions on local phone numbers.

So I bought a SIM chip from T-Mobile, ordered a phone from elsewhere, and we'll see what happens when the phone is delivered on Saturday.

Re:carrier-switching out-of-area-code-number-porti (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473767)

That's tantamount to a charge for porting the number. I'd write the FCC. Worse thing that can happen is nothing.

Bahahahaha. (-1, Flamebait)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471700)

On the behalf of everyone living outside the US, and thus having mobile phone number portability which actually works:

Suck shit.

I ported three phones in January (2, Interesting)

jht (5006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471940)

I have three phones, all linked on a family plan. We keep two of them here in Massachusetts, and one is with my wife's parents in southern New jersey. But all three have local MA numbers. They were originally with T-Mobile, but I moved them to Cingular in late January. There were no major problems with the port - my phone and my wife's phone went over within a few hours, and the third phone ported a day later. For the day it took, dialing their number from a landline would fail, but dialing it from one of the already ported cells would work fine.

No problems since, either. And the GSM service up here is better with Cingular than it was with T-Mobile.

Why's this a issue? (2, Informative)

Bruha (412869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8471981)

If you move you just update your billing address.. if you dont care that your new neighbors will have to dial long distance to speak with you then it's fine.

If you want it to be a local number for where you're moving to then yes you'll have to change your number. The current switching network used worldwide Landline/Wireless will not allow what you're asking to be done. It would be chaos. Until all the SS7 traffic is converted into some sort of IP based system then it might be possible but until then I'd say try verizon wireless. They have a ez move program.

My Experience With Verizon (1)

Breakerofthings (321914) | more than 10 years ago | (#8472551)

Moved from South Florida to Seattle;
kept my nationwide plan, kept my number, kept my contract.

No Problem.
They let me change my billing address, immediately, keeping my South Florida number until I was ready to change it.

Yeh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8472869)

This is kinda silly and boring topic.

The US is ruled by corps, so you get screwed over.

Places like AU have consumer councils that actually do something, so we have no problems with our phones.

Number "Portability" (2, Informative)

_hAZE_ (20054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473233)

From my understanding of what "Number Portability" was to bring to cell phone users, the ability to keep your number and move to another state was NOT on the list. I understood that number portability was implemented so that someone could move from one cell phone carrier to another and keep the same number.

That's not to say that isn't possible, and I've heard several stories of people who have moved and kept their number. I think that is totally up to the carrier in question and their infrastructure and billing systems. I do not think this was an FCC-mandated feature.

To be honest, I'm surprised the FCC allows it.

You can read more about number portability, success and horror stories, provider discussions, and cell phone capabilities over at Howard Forums [howardforums.com] . Very good, very high traffic. It's like Slashdot for cell phones. =)

joke (1)

1eyedhive (664431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473686)

i got a new cell for X-mas, intending to transfer my (verizon) landline number to the (AT&T) cell, after 2 months and NOTHING but empty support promises and a temp number on the phone, i said 'screw this' and now just have the two plus call forwarding, cheapre in the long run actually. This portability thing is a joke.

Took 3 weeks to move the number (1)

filenabber (628550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474230)

I just moved 2 nnumbers from one carier to another (same geographic location though) took almost 3 weeks for the entire thing to happen - they said they were having system problems. They finally got it working though.

wrong definition (1)

Cyn (50070) | more than 10 years ago | (#8474865)

number portability means you can take your number between carriers - not between geographic regions. Putting aside the "but they could!" factors, the simple fact remaining is that you should want a local number to wherever you are living - how else can someone in that area call your cell phone from a land line? Oh, they'll just dial long distance. Thanks ass.

Well, they should've bought a nationwide free long distance unlimited minutes cell phone if they wanted to be my friend!

That aside - the main reason is more likely so they can more accurately guage need for towers and coverage saturation. Actual roaming varies greatly, but there are trends to it - but for a yearly "where should we add towers" judgement, it's much cleaner to say "well, we have X customers here - so we have enough towers for now." than to say "our towers have noted X customers here, and time regression indicates that Y of them tend to stay in that area. After running this algorithm against every geographic location, we're confident that we should never have let numbers slide all around and we want to kill ourselves."

Re:wrong definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8485804)

Actually, there are 2 forms of portability in the US that have been defined: service provider portability and geographic portability. The former is what was enabled recently for cellphone subscribers. The latter is unavailable to wireline and wireless subscribers.

Number portability? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8475609)

I thought "cocaine" was the big lie.

Depends on the market (1)

Fizzlewhiff (256410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476067)

Not all markets offer portability right now. Only a few markets were required to. The rest is happening in May I believe. That may be your problem.

Kinda on topic but you might be able to help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8476077)

I was with Sprint because I had a job at Best Buy and they had a great employee plan there. However after getting fired for "requesting too many days off" (I was part time and gave them my entire summer's schedule, asking for one day a week max off - their definition of part time is working 4 hours a week). In my manager's words, once a week was too much to have off, and she told me "It's not worth my time for you to work here".
Anyway long story short, I no longer had an employee account with Sprint but continued with them until I could find a cheaper plan with someone else. Their cheapest at the time was $45 a month, which is rediculous. At the time I didn't have any yearly plan or anything, and it outright said that on their webpage. I also called customer service to make sure I had a month to month plan with no cancellation fee and sure enough I did. However next time I called customer service I asked again to confirm that I had a month to mhttp://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~wacourse/html/voices /schaffer.htmonth plan, and mentioned that I was thinking about changing carriers but was waiting for the bill to go into effect so I could keep my number. Well, minutes after that my account shows up with a year long contract started back in June when I started the account! They retroactively put on a yearlong contract, which I certainly didn't agree to.
I call and ask what's the deal and the customer service person tells me to just tell them when I cancel my account and they won't fine me, so I go ahead and find the cheapest account possible which is with TMobile. When I get them, I try to get the same number as with Sprint (the law was now in effect) but they tell me they can't, I have to go to Sprint to get the number changed over. Sprint says the same thing about TMobile. I try again, but it ends up that Sprint is supposed to, but refuses unless I go into a Sprint store and present two forms of identification. That's odd, because later on they'll say all I need for identification to get an account with them is my birthdate. Yet, they refuse repetedly.
Anyway, now I'm stuck with two accounts, so I try to cancel my Sprint account. This was soon after the bill to keep your number went into effect, and I had to wait for 3 hours on hold at 1AM at night just to get a customer service rep at Sprint. I can only hope it's because they were flooded by people leaving them. I speak to one customer service rep who at first doesn't believe me but after a long time talks to his manager and approves that I shouldn't have the contract and shouldn't be charged for cancelling. He forwards me to the cancellation department... who promptly refuses to cancel the $150 fee. They say they can't find who I was just talking to, to confirm that I had permission to cancel the fee, and when I talk to the manager he insults me. He also informs me that according to record I've not once talked to customer service before, even though I've had a good 3 or 4 phone calls with them. I say I never agreed to yearlong service and never signed any contract. He responds with that by giving them my birthdate when I signed up I was agreeing to a legal contract. More haggling back and forth, with him getting ruder as the night wore on, but end result me telling him to immediately cancel my account several times because I want nothing to do with Sprint.
I check my phone a couple of days later and it's still on. They just won't do a thing they say. I call them up again and just agree to the $150 charge from the beginning and the first guy is able to cancel the phone. He asks if I want it til the end of the month, since I'm paying for the entire month, and I agree since no one had my new number yet. I make sure I'm getting it until the end of the month, but lo and behold as soon as the conversation was over the phone was cancelled.
I got my sprint bill for $150 + December, and tried to pay online (as the customer service guy told me I'd be able to). However, again they were wrong, my login was gone since it was based on my phone number. This left me with two options, pay by check or pay over the phone by calling customer support. I decide for the phone because by now I don't know whether the check would make it in time. They dont give me any trouble paying over the phone... it goes very smoothly with me just telling them I want to pay off my balance and it all works. However next month I get a $5 payment service charge. WTF is a payment service charge?! Not counting the many other things that I question the legality of here, is charging someone to pay you even legal? Because they never said a word about charging me to pay over the phone!
Anyway long story short, this topic brought back these horrible memories of about 3 months of dealing with lying after lying after lying customer service reps from Sprint and being screwed out of $150 by them. Does anyone think I have any reason to go see the school student legal service, or have you had problems like this with Sprint before?

Sorry if this is too off topic I've read /. a lot but never posted.

More implortantly (1)

zaqattack911 (532040) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476222)

"Cell phones are Safe -- a big lie?"

As many of you know cellphones, and other wireless handheld hardware emits RF radiation at low levels. Since I am considering using a cellphone as my primary phone line (as in not paying for a land line), I realised that the use of cellphones in this manner is quite new (within the last 10 years lets say). I can't help but wonder if this will pose a health risk in the long term.

A recent study [popsci.com] just published by Popular Science [popsci.com] magazine found a "link between microwave radiation emitted by GSM mobile phones (the most common type worldwide) and brain damage in rats". Even "hands free" sets that you can buy for cellphones are believed to worsen [rfsafe.com] the levels of cell phone radiation in the brain. Even the FDA website [fda.gov] says that "There is no proof that wireless phones are absolutely safe". Most people ignore these risks because nobody is dying from cell phone use today, but could this cause a health disaster in the future? I am sure many slashdotters are quite attached to their cellphones, what do you think about this risk?

Re:More implortantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8477252)

Dude, please don't feed the trolls.

Re:More implortantly (1)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8479366)

Wow, are you a bot? Because that's what it reads like.

Re:More implortantly (1)

zaqattack911 (532040) | more than 10 years ago | (#8480023)

uuuh, I don't get it :)

I formulate a paragraph of a subject of major concern, and this makes me a bot?

Can't prove a negative (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 10 years ago | (#8500858)

Although a small number of people disagree [feyrazon.org] it is widely believed you cannot prove a negative.

So there will never be proof that RF doesn't cause cancer. Ever. Just like you can't prove Santa Claus doesn't exist.

However, there's no way for your tissues to tell the difference between a UHF TV transmitter 5 miles away or a low power cellphone held up to your head.

Wow someone needs to learn to read! (1)

ageoffri (723674) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476356)

Before you go blasting the number portability you really should read up on what it was meant to do.

It was meant to allow you to switch carriers in the same area that you are currently in. It wasn't meant to let you just do whatever you wanted with "your" phone number.

Personally I had no problems with using it to switch from Verizon to T-Mobile the day after Thanksgiving last year. Little less then 24 hours after I walked out of the T-Mobile store my new phone was active with my old number. Much better service for about the same price.

A VERY Short Explanation from an LNP Engineer-- (5, Informative)

WirelessMike (715106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476671)

The FCC, In it's original mandates to wireline LECs to implement LNP (Local Number Portability) limits portability to a wireline rate center. That is, the area you can call locally on your phone without toll charges or extended area agreements (referred to in the industry as EAS). The reason for this is extreme difficulty in automated billing systems and the technological limitations with "querying" every single call to every ported number in the United States. Respecting these logical and proven limitations, the FCC has retained the same limitation (portable withing the rate center, only) in their mandate on wireless number portability. In other words-- It has never been expected, nor demanded by the FCC or the industry to try to make numbers portable across large geographic regions. There is no "theory" on this matter. LNP has been tested and implemented throughout the United States. It's been working since 1997, when the original mandate came out to wireline LEC (LEC, by the way, stands for Line Exchange Carrier or "service provider"). Wireless rate centers are much larger than wirline rate centers and can overlap several wireline rate centers, but they can only port numbers to the limitation of their presence in the rate center of the carrier they are porting from. So, the wireless carrier cannot port a number to anywhere in their rate center-- They can only port a number to anywhere in the DONOR's rate center. This is how it is supposed to work, and this is how it DOES work. The technology required by service providers nationwide to port numbers over large geographic regions (often referred to in the industry as "geographic portability") is not yet available, and what is available is far too expensive to justify the charges to customers like yourself to recover the cost. Keep tabs on the FCC to find out when it WILL be available.

Re:A VERY Short Explanation from an LNP Engineer-- (1)

automandc (196618) | more than 10 years ago | (#8480588)

I won't speak to the rest of WirelessMike's comment, but his statement that

LEC, by the way, stands for
Line Exchange Carrier or "service provider"

is inaccurate.

LEC [bldrdoc.gov] actually stands for Local Exchange Carrier (according to Federal Standard 1037C [bldrdoc.gov] which is the government's canonical glossary of telecommunications terms.

Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) are the "baby-bells", your local phone company (Verizon, SBC, Ameritech (do they still exist?) etc.). The other half of the coin is IXCs, which stands for Inter eXchange Carriers, i.e. long-distance telcos like AT&T. Of course, with deregulation, it is all confused now as to who does what. Typically, when you get a phone line, you get it from a LEC, and when you place an interstate call it is carried by an IXC (even if you pay someone else for the long distance service).

number mapping mechanics (1)

vikk (753813) | more than 10 years ago | (#8476711)

From what I understand, the number mapping between switching centers determines the "portability" of your number. Your cell phone actually has two numbers. The first number is the "alias" number that people call. The second number is the "real" number assigned to your phone by your service provider. Both numbers have to be within a certain call center radius in order for the mapping to work. When you port a number, the system is essentially mapping your alias number to a different mapped number.

Sorta related.... (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#8482919)

But does anyone know if you can port a number from a Tracfone to another cell ( either a contract based or another Tracfone)

Two forms of local number portability... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8485849)

...are defined in the US: service provider number portability and geographic number portability. The former has been around for some time for wireline subscribers and is what was enabled recently for cellphone subscribers and allows you to change service providers but does not allow you to move to NY and still use a San Fran NPANXX. The latter does not assume change of service providers and does allow one to keep a localized NPANXX -- this is as very complicated using today's legacy switching technologies and is (as yet!) unavailable to wireline and wireless subscribers.
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