The Federal Communication Commission’s Local Number Portability (LNP) rules state that individuals who stay in the same geographical area can switch telephone service providers without changing your existing phone number. If you’re tired of your service provider, you can keep your phone and your number and switch to a new provider that will make you happier.

Before Making the Switch

You should not terminate your account with your current service provider until you’ve found the new service provider you want to go with. The new service provider will take your information (including your current service provider information, your 10-digit phone number, name, and any other applicable information) and will begin the process of switching you over. Your new service provider can tell you when it’s okay to terminate your current provider account. Your current provider can not refuse to port your number for any reason.

Early Termination Fees

Many providers charge early termination fees if you leave before your contract is up. You’ll want to determine the cost of these fees and decide whether the switch is worth it. While it may cost a few extra dollars on your final bill, often times it’s worth the switch if you’re able to get better service and prices with your new provider. Ask the new company whether they charge extra for porting your old number. Some companies are willing to waive the fees if you ask.

How Long it Takes

The FCC has a deadline for porting what they consider “simple” ports. The process should be complete within one business day for simple ports like wireless to wireless, wireless to wired line, wireless to VoIP or the remaining combinations of those processes. There may be a period when you have two phones that answer to the same number, but this shouldn’t last long. Overall, it’s a relatively short process that can lead to a lot of benefits.

The Benefits of Switching

While you might think it’s a daunting process to switch carriers, it’s really very simple. There are a lot of benefits as well. When a carrier believes you might switch over to their company, they’re going to do what they can to ensure it happens. This often means great discounts and bundles that will save you money each month.

You can also get better service with fewer dropped calls, higher quality sound and better clarity, and more. Mobile phone companies are extremely competitive and the benefits of that go directly to the customer in the form of improved service, faster networks and better features. Because the new company handles the porting, you don’t have to do anything but give them a call.

Many people get caught up in the iPhone vs Android phones argument without considering their cell phone carrier and whether they could improve in that area. If you’re tired of your cell phone service, but love the phone, switch it out and get the benefits of a brand new provider.