How I Changed My Cell Phone Service BUT Kept My Old Phone Number (& Got Cheaper Cell Phone Service!)
So I've been a customer with Verizon Wireless for many many years! In fact, Verizon Wireless is the first and only cell phone company I ever signed up with! It was around 20 or so years ago when I first walked into the Verizon store in my neighborhood in Queens, NY to buy a cell phone and get my first ever cell phone plan... back when cell phones first became popular! The flip phone days!
Now many years later my cell phone bill has become extraordinarily high! It just doesn't make sense to me why my bill would be so high since I barely even use my one flip phone. I just don't wish to deal with Verizon anymore. It seems like every time they lower my bill it just goes right back up again!
So recently I lost track of my payment schedule and fell behind on my payments with Verizon. The next thing you know my cell phone was turned off! The worst thing about my cell phone being turned off was that I got locked out of my main email account and couldn't find a way back in. According to Verizon Wireless I had to pay $458 to get my cell phone turned back on. I was under the impression that I needed to pay that amount immediately. At that exact moment I didn't even have $458 to spend on a cell phone bill. However, when I called Verizon customer service they told me I could make a promise to pay payment arrangement for the $458. I made a payment arrangement with a credit card that I knew would get declined, because in all honesty I was just ready to move on from Verizon altogether. But first I had to get back into my email account and change my security settings so I could access my email without having to receive a code on my phone! The payment arrangement bought me some extra time so I could figure out my next moves.
I didn't want to lose my phone number, but I didn't want to stay with Verizon and continue getting robbed! That's when my good friend found a website called Number Barn! Number Barn is a online business that specializes in porting and parking phone numbers. What most people don't realize is that cellular phone companies do not officially own your phone number! You actually have the right to transfer your phone number to a different cell phone service provider if that's what you wish to do. At first I tried to use my Verizon pin number to transfer my phone number to Number Barn but that didn't work! Turns out that I had to create a transfer pin with Verizon! I couldn't just use my regular pin number. I figured this out one day before my payment of $458 was due. I was really cutting it close! If Verizon had turned off my phone again I would not be able to get a transfer pin from them nor would I have the ability to transfer (port) my phone number to Number Barn and park it there (until I found a new cellular service provider) unless I paid the $458 that was due. It's important to understand that your phone has to be active (not deactivated) in order to transfer/ port your phone number away.
So all of a sudden my cell phone didn't have service anymore! Then I saw that a withdrawal of $7.63 had posted to my bank account. $5 for the porting fee and $2 a month for parking (plus 18 cents tax) and 63 cents Local utility Users tax. Wow! Number Barn was really quick with transferring/ porting my phone number into their "barn of numbers" so to speak... so that they could hold my phone number and keep it "parked" until I got hooked up with my new cheaper cell phone service provider. Wonderful! My phone number was saved! Now it was time to search for cheap cell phone service!
My good friend told me to look for some bodega type of wireless store near sunset and western in Hollywood. So I took a drive and actually found a place called Sunset Wireless! They specialize in I phone repair however they also offer other services like unlocking phones and cheap cellular service. So I walked in and explained my situation to the young man who worked there. I told him that I wanted cheap cell phone service using my cell phone number that I had parked with Number Barn and I was hoping to use my current flip phone or another new flip phone that Verizon had sent to me that I didn't use yet. The man at the store told me that the phone I had already been using with Verizon wouldn't work but the new phone could possibly work if it's unlocked. If it wasn't unlocked then the man said he might be able to unlock it for me but he wasn't sure. I asked for a price quote for unlocking the phone but he wouldn't provide me with one. So the man tried to charge my new flip phone (which wasn't charged) but it wouldn't charge. Turns out I misplaced the battery! So the man went on to tell me that the cheapest phone service he could provide me with was H20 wireless for approx. $22 a month. However, if I purchased one of his cell phones along with activation the total would be $90 upfront. Otherwise just $30 for activation with an unlocked phone.
I went home and told my friend what the guy at the store had told me. My friend decided to look on amazon for a cheap cell phone. He told me that most of the unlocked cell phones on amazon were around $200 but he did manage to find two cell phones that were unlocked for around $30 a piece. I purchased the cheaper one for $27.36 with tax. A BLU Z5 -GSM Unlocked Dual Sim -White! It's a 2g/ 3g phone! LOL It's one of those old phones with the keys right on the front of the phone... There is no flip! There were a few bad reviews for this phone, but considering that I'm not even trying to be on the phone that much I figured I would take the chance and try it!
So, before I went back to Sunset Wireless with my new prehistoric unlocked cell phone to sign up for some cheap cell phone service, I decided to check out two other stores that I found in Glendale. That's when I got the bad news! The new cell phone I had just purchased from amazon was not going to work. One of the stores in Glendale offered me a new flip phone, activation and service for $130 and the other store offered me the same thing for $138. This was approximately $40-50 more than Sunset Wireless had quoted me! So then I called Sunset Wireless and they told me the same thing. The phone I purchased on amazon was not going to work. I needed at least a 4g phone. So my friend and I went back onto amazon and found a 4g Nokia for approximately $50 that would arrive 3 days later. That seemed like a long time to wait... I had already been without phone service for a while!
However, as I was on my friend's phone explaining to the Sunset Wireless guy that I would purchase the phone on amazon and bring it into his store for activation he hung up on me. That's when I realized that perhaps for approximately $20 more and less waiting time I should just spend the $90 for the 4g flip phone, activation and first month's service with Sunset Wireless (and their cell phone service provider H20 Wireless).
So the next day I walked into Sunset Wireless and told the guy that I would pay the $90 he quoted me. He told me that he would have to port my phone number to Sunset Wireless from Number Barn. So I gave him all the information he requested... My name, address, account number and pin number for Number Barn. The man told me that I would receive an email from Number Barn letting me know that my phone number was porting to Sunset Wireless. He then told me he had something else to do but that he would initiate the port in around 30 minutes. He told me I would have to wait for my number to port to Sunset Wireless (which Number Barn said could take 3-10 days) and then I would come back to Sunset Wireless to pay the $90 and get my new phone and my new phone service. Ehhh... more waiting! I suppose it will all be worth it in the end when I'm only paying around $20/a month for unlimited cellular talk and text! Just have to hang in there right?
So the next day I checked my email to see if my phone number was porting to Sunset Wireless. No email! I logged onto Number Barn's website! Nothing! I had a feeling that Sunset Wireless forgot to initiate the port... or the guy just didn't care! He's probably not making much money on my sale! So I went onto their website and filled out a form reminding them of who I was, the $90 they quoted me and how they were supposed to port my phone number from Number Barn to Sunset Wireless for H2O service. I wanted to call them from my friend's phone but my friend was too busy taking care of business to let me use his phone... So I went back to the Sunset Wireless store in person to figure out what went wrong. It appears that the porting had failed. So the man tried again a few times and finally it appeared that the porting was in process! Hurray!
I checked my email the next morning just to be sure, and thank goodness I did receive an email from Number Barn stating "Transfer Away Processing." Marvelous! At this point I've been without phone service for exactly a week! And to be very honest with you... it feels great! The only issue I've faced is not being able to access my chase bank accounts online because they have to send a pin number to my phone. I tried to get chase to send the pin numbers to my email but that is not an option. So this is where I'm at right now!
In retrospect, had I known what I now know, as soon as my Verizon Wireless service was turned back on with the promise to pay arrangement, I would've searched for a wireless store like Sunset Wireless immediately and had my phone number ported directly to them instead of using Number Barn. However, Number Barn has been very helpful... and who knows? Maybe my number will get ported to Sunset Wireless quicker then the estimated wait time. That would be great! Then again, it's quite a relief on my energy not to have to respond to phone calls or texts! I am enjoying my new found freedom from that pesky little electronic device called a "cell phone" that everyone seems to be super dependent on in 2022!
So that's the story for now! When the port gets completed I will update this article with the good news! Til next time... Getting overcharged for cell phone service but don't want to lose your current phone number? No problem! Just port your number out to a new cheaper cellular phone service provider! Eureka!
UPDATE NOVEMBER 3rd (One Day after publishing this article): Excellent News! I received an email today stating that "Your request to transfer your number to another carrier has completed." I should have phone service by the end of the day! Hurray! The whole porting process with Number Barn took less than 2 days... Not 3-10 days as originally stated on their site! Wonderful!
UPDATE NOVEMBER 4th: I have phone service! And not only that... even more surprisingly... I was charged $80... not the expected $90 for my new phone, activation and first month's plan! A $50-$60 savings compared to the other quotes I received! Thank you Andy at Sunset Wireless for providing me with exceptional service and pricing! Awesome!
Jennie H is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!