If you’re contemplating switching mobile phone carriers, you’ll need to know some things to make your transition go as smoothly as possible.
Your goal is probably to keep your current mobile phone number and move as much data as possible from the old carrier to your new one. The possibilities for change are myriad; users are toting thousands of different handsets now and the carriers they switch to will have dozens of choices for new handsets.
I’ll assume you’re moving to a smart phone. Chances are you may be a new iPhone customer, on either Verizon or AT&T. (Yes, some customers are moving from company V to company A, too).
Here’s the basics (Thanks to Jenny Weaver, my Verizon contact in Phoenix, for sending this along):
1. If you want to keep and transfer your current phone number to your new device, do not cancel your current service provider just yet. Your current account and phone number must be kept active until a sales representative transfers your current, active number to your new account during the sales transaction. Once this happens, your former carrier will be notified that your account is now terminated, and your friends, family and business contacts can continue to reach you at the same number they all know.
2. Don’t erase your contacts; keep them in your current phone for easier transfer. Depending on your current device, there are applications and programs available to move your contact information to your new phone wirelessly. For example, if you’re already an iPhone user, your contacts will sync automatically via iTunes.
3. Turn that old phone into a gift card, or donate it to a great cause: When you’re making a new purchase, you have two great options for that used phone:
— Trade it in: Regardless of carrier, Verizon Wireless accepts all devices and models. You can use the company’s website (www.trade-in.vzw.com) to gauge how much your device is worth and receive a Verizon Wireless gift card for its estimated value. For example, a 32GB iPhone 4 in good condition has an appraised value of $285. Those switching to other carriers should check with the company on trade-in options.
— Donate it: Through its Wireless HopeLine program, Verizon recycles used phones from any carrier and uses the proceeds to provide wireless devices, airtime and grants to local domestic violence shelters. With your donation, you’ll help someone in need and do your part for the environment.
4. Pick a service plan that best fits your family’s lifestyle. Most carriers offer family plans or bundled services. Check with your sales representative for the best plan to fit your needs.
Finally, if you’re now using something other than an iPhone and want to save any voice messages on your old phone, you’ll need to follow another set of instructions.
You must do this before activating your new iPhone 4.
Start at this Verizon support page:
Getting ready for iPhone 4 – Saving your existing voice mail