1. MrJedi's Avatar
    About a year ago my wife, my sister, and I all ported our numbers from Sprint to VM. My wife and I have had our numbers for over 10 years on multiple providers, and my sister's number was a 3 year old number from Sprint.

    Recently my sister switched back to Sprint and neither Sprint nor Google voice would allow her to port it because it was coming from a pre-paid account. I looked at the T&C and this is what I found:

    Mobile Phone Number
    The mobile phone number we provide for your use is and will remain our property. If you cancel your service or your account is deactivated, we may give the mobile phone number to another customer without notice (unless you transfer the mobile phone number to another telecommunications provider in accordance with applicable regulations). We may also change your mobile phone number at any time, although we will notify you prior to any change. You can request to change your mobile phone number up to three times each year.
    The section I put in bold seems to make it clear that the number can be ported out. The paragraph is poorly worded in my eyes as in regards to "The mobile phone number we provide for your use...." does that include numbers ported in? I have not dug real deep in the FCC yet, but the only thing I have found about number porting is this: Portability: Keeping Your Phone Number When Changing Service Providers | FCC.gov I just don't see how legally VM can prevent porting out, and why Google or Sprint would not do it. I would think Sprint would want to bend over backwards to convert you to post-paid.

    tl;dr Am I the last person to know (as with many things) that you can't port out numbers from a pre-paid service, or was my sister lied to?
    glarepate likes this.
    05-29-2012 12:00 PM
  2. anon(235100)'s Avatar
    I'm interested in any responses to this because that'd suck.
    05-29-2012 04:43 PM
  3. MrJedi's Avatar
    From what I have read elsewhere this can be a problem in both directions (Sprint to VM & VM to Sprint), as well as both Boost (Sprint to Boost & Boost to Sprint) and VM to Boost. Granted people going to Boost seem to have the least amount of issues if you call and ask for a portability specialist. I am thinking what it comes down to is the person in the store was being lazy because within the same network it is a pain apparently (moving a number from one internal billing system to another vs creating a new entry and waiting for an external source to release it).

    Now this doesn't explain the issue she had with Google. I was able to get all the way to the payment page with no issues. However, if you do have issues I see it being a pain to deal with for multiple reasons. 1) There is only a voicemail system to talk to people, no live operators. 2) Requests for help in the GV forums are sporatic at best.

    One of the things I have learned via those forums is that some of the NPA-NXX (Area code+ Exchange) can't be ported to GV regardless of the carrier. I typed in some Random 785-341-XXXX numbers and every single one I tried could not be ported to GV. Some were active Sprint cell phone numbers gave you the option of the GV integration Sprint and Google teamed up on, not real porting. It is listed as a Manhattan, KS number. All the other 785-NXX numbers I tried that are listed for Manhattan, KS didn't work either. The error it throws out seems to be the key: "This number appears to be from an area we don't currently support for porting." There is a thread that has a list of about 100 different NPA-NXXs from all over that have the same issue.

    I don't know the ins and outs about porting but maybe the licensing required by the FCC to be a telco with the ability to port-in numbers is purchased in blocks, and Google decided to stick to geographic areas that are more densely populated. This would explain why a 913-530 NPA-NXX can be ported and a 785-341 NPA-NXX can't.

    tl;dr Porting to Google Voice seems to have more to do with the NPA-NXX being ported than the current carrier, and the Sprint store CSR didn't know what he was talking about.
    05-29-2012 05:44 PM
  4. LeslieAnn's Avatar
    They try to make it hard, but others have ported in and out.
    glarepate likes this.
    05-29-2012 07:06 PM
  5. fastobe's Avatar
    My horror story is that I spent a year trying to get VM to port my landline number that I have had for almost 20 years. I gave up and accepted VM's new number they issued, killed the landline, and contacted my friends and businesses and let them know of the change.

    This is good know. If VM will not port my number if and when I change carriers, my Google Voice number will become my new "permanent" number.

    My understanding is that phone numbers are supposed to be "portable" per the FCC, but getting this to happen is probably another thing.
    05-29-2012 11:31 PM
  6. MrJedi's Avatar
    I guess I should clarify the reason I looked in to this is because the CSR told my sister she couldn't port the number because she was coming from a pre-paid service, when in reality he most likely could of ported it and was either too lazy to do it, or completely mis-informed. This freaked me out because at some point I plan on porting my number to Google Voice regardless of staying with Virgin or going elsewhere. So when she was told she couldn't port because of pre-pay and Google wouldn't port either I made the incorrect assumption the two were connected.

    The important part was the Google porting issue. I won't have any initial problems it it appears (the amount of time it takes to complete once initiated may be problematic I have found). Others may. The Sprint portion of it ended up being an FYI to others.

    fastobe, carriers do have to allow you to port your number out, but not all numbers can be ported to all carriers for various reasons. Google Voice didn't initially allow numbers to be ported in and neither did MagicJack. Last summer I ran across a AT&T MVNO that only did data and text plans that did not allow porting in and recommended using Google Voice. I don't know all the ins and outs of this rule, but suffice it so say that you should be able to transfer any number to any tradional carrier. The process just may not go as smoothly as you might like :-)
    05-30-2012 04:38 PM
  7. mjs2011's Avatar
    I started a 2 year contract with Sprint last night and they told me that they could port a Virgin Mobile number, but that on the VM end, dealing with them to do it is a complete nightmare and it sometimes takes them 2 weeks to do it.

    I just chose to get a new number for the sake of convenience.
    05-30-2012 04:46 PM
  8. emburybrett1's Avatar
    I know this is kind of late in all but in the last two yearsi have lost 3 number because they would not port my number. The first was At&t i left after the started to slow my "Unlimited" data plan that i had for years with my iPhone then android they told me that since one of the line still had a year left on the plan i couldnt port my number without closing the whole At&t down since it was under my name. ( I didnt get it but im was just sick of At&t with price changes ever bill and dropped calls) The next was virginmobile they said i couldnt and i didnt really say much since i never could get anyone in the US to help me always some one in India and i couldnt understand. and finally Verizon Ilove my Droid 4 and Razr Maxx but after my first bill and them telling me that the bill was final I told them i would be sending the phones back to them. (Could NOT pay $350 for 2 lines!) This last time port my number though went just fine it was with sprint. I really liked my phone but when my phone did nothing but roam and slow downloads i couldnt use the phone with out going outside to place a call and data is useless if you dont have wifi and after giving my number out to every one 3 times in the last 2 years i said i was done and i had to fight with sprint to port my number after i said that they cant hold my number by law they finaly said they couldnt stop be so when i called virgin mobile it only took 3 hours and my phone and number is working fine. and for some reason i get fast download then sprint and havent dropped a call yet not sure how that works when virgin mobile is a part of sprint.
    08-01-2012 12:20 AM