Sendero Group Travel Blog

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Thursday, December 27, 2012


Major hassle changing AT&T phone numbers

If anyone has moved and had to change home land-line phone numbers, you know that AT&T offers a free service where the old number plays a recording to refer callers to your new number. This is quite important if you have had a number for a long time and can’t easily contact everyone to tell them of your new number. For a fee of something like $19 per month, you can also forward the old number to the new one so callers reach you directly and don’t have to redial a new number.

Turns out the number referral recording service is not an option with wireless numbers. Once you shut off a wireless number, it is disconnected and there is no means of forwarding or referring that old number to the new one.

These days, many people just keep their wireless number when they move and don’t worry about changing it to the local area code. There is only a slight inconvenience because you have to dial the local area code you are in if your phone number originated in a different area code. Hard to tell anymore where someone is calling from because numbers are so transportable.

If you should want to get a number in your new area code, I did find a somewhat complicated work around to deal with forwarding the old wireless number to the new one.
  1. Set your old number up on a non-smart phone IMEI. If you are on the new Mobile Share plan, the minimum per line cost is $30 per month. However, Family and other plans have a charge of $9.99 per month for a dumb phone with no data, voice or messaging services. Find someone in your family who has one of those options. If you put that old number on someone else’s account, you will have to do something they call Transfer of Billing Responsibility.
  2. Pick a new number. You can pay $35 to pick a number you like either online or at an AT&T store.
  3. Once the new number is set up, ask them to forward your old number to the new one. This will forward voice calls but not text messages. Make sure texting is turned off on the old number and make sure people who text you have your new number.

Hopefully someday AT&T will realize they can offer a forwarding service for a small fee and make money providing the convenience of changing phone numbers.

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