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Can my carrier hijack my phone number?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by marioval, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. marioval

    marioval Newbie
    Thread Starter

    So I am sick of paying a ridiculously high bill every month with AT&T for such a limited plan and spotty coverage but I am stuck in a contract for another year. What I want to do is just port my numbers to another carrier then just deal with the consequences of not paying the ETF (bill collectors, credit score, etc). My biggest concern is that AT&T will somehow use the fact that I didn't pay the ETF to somehow claim my phone number and forcing me to get new phone numbers with a new carrier. I Googled it but couldn't find anything on this topic. Any insight will be appreciated. Thanks.

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  2. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert

    They likely will not port your number unless you pay the ETF first. Also, they can disable your phone by blacklisting the phone's IMEI number, effectively making it a brick. You did a contract, now you gotta deal with it.
  3. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User

    Sell your phone for as much as you can and pay the ETF. Get a cheap GSM phone that works on ATT. Doesn't ATT prorate?
    If you have a "good" grandfathered contract even with lousy reception, someone may want to take it over. ATT might work with letting you pay off the ETF with a different payment schedule. Have you complained to them about lousy reception?

    ATT must have its own fora, go find it and read it. If you can't, Howard Forums has a dedicated ATT forum. Call customer service.

    If your phone has been bought unlocked, usually the IMEI can't be blocked since the agreement isn't international. The EU does things differently. You can buy the phone, then shop for a carrier, so the IMEI is good for all. I've had EU phones on TMO and they can only deal with the SIM. The phone wasn't branded by a carrier.
    The SIM has the phone number and that they can block so you can't port it.

    That doesn't mean that you won't be in for one awful hassle, though. If you prefer postpaid accounts, you might not qualify for one for a long time. You would have to use a prepaid that doesn't require a credit check. It isn't a win-win situation any way you look at it. It also goes on your credit score. That will impact any needed credit purchase.
  4. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.

    I've never heard of that happening :thinking:

    Porting your number to a new carrier is usually completed within a few hours, then they bill you the EFT after the fact with your last bill. I don't think they can stop a number port.
  5. bjacks12

    bjacks12 Android Expert

    Man up, honor your contract, and pay the ETF. Is a few hundred dollars worth the hassle of all that?
    Mikestony and MLSS like this.
  6. sully5981

    sully5981 Well-Known Member

    I know back in the day (maybe five years ago) I had t-mobile and coverage was great. The I moved and worked in an area with no coverage. I contacted t-mobile with some griping here and there and said it was their fault there is inadequate service. I sent them proof of my new address and how it was located within their spotty service and they waived the ETF fee.

    I know some service providers will pay your ETF to switch
  7. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert

    Well, now that I think about it you're no doubt right. But it wasn't always so. Years ago Verizon did it to a guy I worked with and to my brother-in-law. That was back when porting a number was a new thing. And it took days or even weeks to get it done back then.

    I remember the 1st day the law went into effect requiring landline companies to allow transferring your number, I had mine ported to my cellphone. Couldn't wait to do it. But it was more than a month before it actually happened and I could discontinue the landline. SBC dragged it out as long as they could.
    kate likes this.
  8. dynomot

    dynomot Android Expert

    I know in the UK under European law we cannot port a number until either our contract term is up or we pay an ETF. Is this not the case too in the US?
    kate likes this.
  9. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.

    Interesting, the US is different. After you port your number US carriers will send you a charge you for the ETF (if you're still in a contract) along with your final bill.
  10. marioval

    marioval Newbie
    Thread Starter

    thank you everyone for the info but I still don't think my original question has been answered.... I'm willing to accept the hit on my credit and I'm OK if they brick the phones. my main concern is keeping my phone numbers. can att somehow take ownership of my phone numbers if I don't pay my etf? does anyone know? thanks.
  11. dynomot

    dynomot Android Expert

    I think the answer may be that the number is "owned" by
    AT&T to work with their network. Without you paying an ETF in your contact they will not release the PAC code to allow the use of the number on a different network.

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