Are you ready to cut the cord? The telephone cord, that is.
According to a report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control National Health Information Survey (NHIS), only 45.9% of households still used a landline at of the end of 2016. This is less than half of the country. Many other reports expect this number to continue to decrease as the use of mobile phones and smartphones are considered “the norm.”
Mobile phones are not just for the younger crowd, either. It is also common for businesses to rely on mobile-friendly communications and virtual phone numbers as a cheaper alternative to office landlines.
While many households own both a landline and a cell phone, families are finding that they can save a lot of money simply by canceling one in favor of the other. And since smartphones carry far more benefits than their counterparts, they are easily winning this battle.
Those who want the same money-saving benefits can simply cancel their landline carrier and switch to a new service, and the process is easy. If you have had your landline phone number for years and don’t quite want to “start over” with a new one, it is possible. This is accomplished through a process called “porting.”
The Benefits of Porting
Landlines are simply not as common as they used to be. For example, it is easier for renters to switch apartments and houses without a landline. Children can remain in contact with their parents, even if they are out of the house. And it is easier to contact someone in case of an emergency if the landline is too far out of reach. More and more individuals are canceling the landline service in favor of just using their cell phones.
The phone number is a different story. If you have lived in your area for years, and you are not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, it is most definitely worth it to keep your phone number. The best reason to keep an old number is that you do not have to notify anyone of the change. This includes family members and old friends. But do not forget other essential people who will still have it, such as doctor’s offices.
When you port your landline number to a cell phone, no one is aware of the change, so you will not have to worry about contacting anyone outside of your telephone service provider. Below is a basic outline of the process and how to get started.
The Porting Process
First, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has certain regulations about porting, as well as what companies can and can’t do for their customers. As long as your request for porting is a valid one, they legally cannot turn you down. However, you should know that this rule only applies to cell numbers. This is not always the case with landlines. If for any reason a provider states they cannot make the switch, it is likely because you live in a new city with a different area code. If you believe that a provider is illegally turning down your porting request, you should file a consumer complaint with the FCC.
That being said, since your telephone service provider (such as Verizon and Sprint) are the parties responsible for porting, you won’t have to do much except make the initial request. But it is best to review your individual provider’s guidelines and related fees before making the transition.
When making the change:
- Make sure you read and understand your current contract. Certain providers are allowed to charge “early termination” fees if you end the contract before its time. If you have any outstanding balances, you may also be charged for that amount.
- Many people will make the mistake of cancelling or terminating their current services right away without choosing a new one. If you do this, you may lose your phone number. Instead, begin service with your new company first so they can help you make the switch.
- Give your new provider the phone number you have on file, as well as any other information they need. Once they have confirmed everything, they will give you the go-ahead for canceling your service with the previous provider.
- The porting process itself should not take more than a couple of business days. If you see that it is taking longer, contact them through their customer service line. You will know that porting has been completed when you see that the landline does not work anymore. Any incoming calls should show up on your cell phone.
Extra Tips For the Porting Process
- If you want to keep your current cell phone number and your landline number, you should open up a new mobile line. For a port to occur, there needs to be a device assigned to it.
- You may want to alert close friends and family of the switch just in case any issues arise. This is unlikely, but during the transfer, their primary way of getting in contact with you may not work over the next few days.
- Let your telephone service provider know if you have any genuine questions or concerns, especially if you have not gone through the process before. Their job is to make sure that the transition goes smoothly while keeping communication open.
As stated earlier, there may be fees involved with porting. When you want to know how to cancel your landline and keep your number, all parties involved must be transparent about what these fees are and exactly what you must pay.
The good news is that some telephone service providers are allowed to either waive or negotiate porting fees. While this is not always the case, there is no harm in simply asking.
As for the cost of porting, providers are generally seeing a drop in landline services in favor of mobile, which means you might see some competitive pricing in the market. Feel free to shop around for the best options before making the switch.