We live in a technology-driven world where almost all aspects of our lives are virtually connected to our phone numbers. Our identity, important contacts, bank information, social media accounts, and online shopping details are just some of the things that have something to do with our personal phone number.
For these reasons, changing your phone number seems like a major change in your life that you have to deal with and work on.
Most online communication platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Messenger recognize a user through his or her phone number. Given this situation, changing your phone number is a laborious process and a major decision that brings in a trail of other responsibilities.
Are you wondering how to change your phone number in the U.S.? If your answer is "yes", you need to equip yourself with as much information as possible to avoid having to deal with hassles and problems later on. Remember that changing your phone number is an irreversible change that may erase important voice messages that you're keeping.
Furthermore, unless you create a suitable backup plan, it may also erase all your number's pertinent data and call history and forfeit important accounts that make use of your phone number to confirm your identity.
Here are the most important factors to consider if you want to change your phone number in the U.S.
1. Ask Your Carrier for the Costs of Changing Your Phone Number.
The cost of changing your number depends on your carrier and the type of contact number that you're applying for the change. For instance, a personal phone number might demand fewer requirements and paper works than a business number.
Moreover, a toll-free number that starts with 1-800 would essentially cost more, and the same thing goes for vanity or specialized numbers (numbers that spell a particular word or phrase).
For your reference, here's how much it costs to change your personal phone number according to the top mobile carriers in the U.S.
- AT&T - $36.00
- T-Mobile - $15.00
- Sprint – Free
- Verizon – Free
2. Save Important Contacts.
If you're thinking about changing your phone number, make sure to save all your important contacts on your device. Modern technology allows us to save vital information and files on our devices using cloud storage.
If you're unable to utilize such a feature, find a workable means for you to save or backup any important information that you won't be able to access anymore once you change your phone number.
3. You Won't Be Able to Access Your Old Voicemails Anymore.
This is one of the most irreversible changes you'll have to deal with if you want to change your phone number. For most network carriers in the U.S., particularly AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon, changing your numbers go hand-in-hand with the removal of all your old voicemails. You will not be able to access them anymore once you get hold of your new number.
If your carrier is Verizon, changing your phone number may also erase all your device history. However, this would depend on the type of mobile device you're using.
4. Follow the Network Carrier Instructions.
Most mobile network carriers require specific procedures for active subscribers who wish to change their phone numbers. Depending on your carrier, you'll need to follow these procedures by logging on to your personal account online or by personally visiting any of their customer service centers for direct assistance.
Here are some pointers that you'll need to be aware of before requesting a number change.
For AT&T Subscribers:
- Request for the change online by logging on to your "My AT&T" account, by visiting the nearest AT&T center, or by getting in touch with their representatives by phone.
- The service is free within 30 days of activation. After 30 days, expect a $36.00 service fee for the change in your phone number.
- Make sure to write down the details of your important voicemails since you won't be able to access them anymore.
- Your monthly service charge will be prorated between your old and new numbers.
- The changes will not affect your installment plan and subscription contract.
For T-Mobile Subscribers:
- Visit the nearest T-Mobile store near you for direct assistance or call their hotline number.
- T-Mobile allows its subscribers to change their phone numbers once per year for free. Additional requests for number change have $15.00 charge. Prepaid plan holders are exempted from this fee.
- All voicemails will no longer be accessible, and you'll need to set up a new voicemail box. Additionally, call records from the old phone number will no longer be accessible.
- It usually takes up to 4 hours to activate the change.
- For landline carriers it takes an average of 3 days for the caller ID system to show the correct information.
- Access to T-Mobile.com using your new phone number would be available after three days.
For Sprint Subscribers:
- You may request for a change in your phone number by visiting any of their customer service centers or local stores. You may also visit and log on to sprint.com to make the change online. - To change your phone number online, click on the "My Preferences" tab and then click on "Change My Phone Number". - Select the number you want to change by clicking any of the menu's applicable options (change in area code, relocation to another state, etc.). Finally, click "Next".
- There is no fee in changing your phone number, but note that you will be assigned a random phone number, and you cannot choose the digits.
- Sprint does not allow its subscribers to change their phone numbers more than three times within a period of 30 days.
- The change is irreversible, which means that you will have no more access to your old number, call record history in their system, and voicemails.
For Verizon Subscribers:
- To change your phone number if your carrier is Verizon, visit any of their local stores for direct assistance. Otherwise, if you wish to make the changes online, visit verizon.com and log into your My Verizon account. - Select "Devices" from the navigation menu and click on "Device Overview". Click on the device that you want to change. - Scroll down until you see "Change Mobile Number", then click on "Manage". Select your ZIP code or State to continue. - Verizon allows its subscribers to select the first 6 digits of their new phone number. - Set the date on which you want to implement the change in your phone number, and then click on the "Continue" button. - Review the information, and finally, click "Submit".
- Make sure to check all the details because you will not be able to make any more changes once you click on the "Submit" button. Also, you will not be able to go back to your old number or old access voicemails.
- After clicking on the "Submit" button, read the confirmation page thoroughly. It will provide you the details on how to activate your new phone number.
5. Block Certain Numbers All Over Again.
Once you change your phone number, you will need to make changes with your phone's settings all over again. If there are certain numbers or a list of contacts that you blocked in your old number, you'll have to manually apply these changes in your new number to avoid receiving calls from them.
6. Know That There Is No Such Thing as a "Brand New" Phone Number.
When it comes to phone numbers, there is no such thing as "fresh from the box". This means that your number could have been somebody else's contact number several years back. In this case, the chance of evading telemarketers and spammers is not thoroughly 100%.
Perhaps, you can evade them for several weeks to months after changing your number, but it's just a matter of time before you'll receive another call from a telemarketer.
You need to understand that changing your number may help you avoid your ex- or a person who's troubling you. It may also help you make a fresh start if that's what you're aiming for. However, if it's merely to avoid spam calls, the change could be more drastic than helpful.
Most carriers process requests for change in phone number in the same manner. For basic and personal numbers, they will only let you input your area code, and then they will assign you seven random numbers for your new digits.
This means that the probability of you getting second or third-hand digits can never be far enough. This is something that you must closely consider before finalizing your decision.
7. Understand That a New Area Code or "Never-Been-Used" Number Is Not Always a Guarantee.
If you really want to have a fresh and "never-been-used-and-abused" phone number, the only way to get one is to try your luck at applying in a newly-launched area code. This is a very rare and unconventional option that is difficult to acquire.
You may have heard from the news or read somewhere that the North American Number Plan was implemented sporadically within the United States and Canada. This implies that new area codes may sometimes be launched and become available when an existing one is depleted.
The new area codes become necessary to cover up for the shortage and accommodate more phone numbers under an area code.
In this case, you may get a brand new and "fresh from the box" phone number in a specialized area code that everyone is unfamiliar of. Most key cities and metropolitan areas in the U.S. now have a limited amount of area codes available. Therefore, getting hold of a new set of digits in your choice of area code may not guarantee you anything at the moment.
8. Inform Your Employer, Family, Friends, and Bank/Credit Institution About Your New Phone Number.
Inform people about the change/s in your contact details, especially the ones that you constantly interact with. Information dissemination is probably the hardest to manage once you change your phone number. You'll need to visit your bank or credit institution and ask them to update your contact details.
The same thing applies to your business partners, investors, colleagues, and other important contacts.
9. Update Your Social Media Accounts, Email Accounts, and Other Online Accounts.
Social media apps, email platforms, instant messaging apps, and online shopping accounts are usually linked to our phone numbers.
Unfortunately, if you are going to change your phone number, you'll need to update your online account information as well. This means that you'll have to go through several verification processes to confirm your identity and enable your account changes.
Once you change your phone number, log on to your online accounts and update your personal information. You may also need to change your log-in details for some apps and websites. Therefore, make sure that you remember very well your answers to the security questions which you set when you created your account.
Remember that apps/websites have different ways of verifying their users' identity, particularly e-wallet apps, shopping apps, and online banking apps that send OTP's (One-Time Passwords to complete a transaction).
For hassle-free access, check beforehand how your decision to change your phone number would affect your access to these apps.
10. Make Sure That You're Doing the Right Thing Because There's No Turning Back.
To change your phone number without going through a lot of hassles and regrets later on, contemplate your decision carefully. Is the trouble worth it? Would it serve you better to have a new phone number?
If you are certain about your decision, and you're willing to go through the process of changing your contact details for good, then go for it by all means. No law prohibits anyone from changing their phone number, especially if it's for a good reason.
Whatever your reasons are for changing your phone number, the most important things to understand are the pros and cons. As long as you're willing to make all the necessary adjustments and updating processes that go with this decision, you have every right to choose what's meant to stay and what's meant to change in your life – and that includes your phone number.