How Do I Switch My Cellphone Provider to At&t Wireless?

If you want to switch to AT&T cell phone service, you may be able to bring your old phone and phone number with you. You must check to make sure that your phone and phone number are eligible to switch.

Cell phone providers are notorious for changing their plans frequently, as well as changing which phones they offer. A savvy customer can save quite a bit of money over the long term by being willing to switch providers when a better deal comes along. Here is how you can switch to an AT&T plan, while keeping your old phone number (and phone, if you want).

Switching Without a Phone

If you don't have a phone you want to bring with you, and you are fine with changing your phone number, switching to AT&T cell phone service is easy! Just make sure that your old phone is paid off and that your previous account has been cancelled. Once you have that, contact AT&T customer service to get set up with a new phone and a new plan.

Keeping Your Phone

If you like your phone and want to bring it with you, you'll have to check for compatibility. The first step is getting your phone's IMEI number, a unique identifier you can obtain by dialing #06# on the phone you want to check. Once you have that number, go to AT&T's customer service page, and check to see if your phone is compatible. If it is, great! If not, ask if obtaining a replacement SIM card would help.

Unlocking Your Phone

Next, you must 'unlock' your phone. Many phones are locked to only operate on one carrier network. The unlocking process is different for each phone and service provider. So, consult your current company for guidance. Note that you may be potentially expected to pay off your phone's lease or pay an early termination fee if either of those applies.

Keeping Your Phone Number

Many people want to keep their old phone numbers when switching service providers. If you would like to keep your number, search for "Port Eligibility" on AT&Ts home page. This will take you to a page where, much like checking for IMEI compatibility, you can see if your phone number is eligible to switch with you.

Number portability is a freedom guaranteed in the United States by law, so if for some reason your phone number comes up ineligible, contact the customer service department for your current provider.


Once you have verified that both your phone and phone number are eligible to port, return to the AT&T portal and search for 'BYOD', or 'Bring Your Own Device.' You'll need a few pieces of information, including:

  • The Social Security number associated with your old account (sometimes, however, all you need is the full name).
  • The account number, PIN, and other login data from the account you're transferring from.
  • An AT&T SIM card. AT&T provides this for free when activating a new service line.

When at the portal, select the make and model of the device you are bringing with you, and the plan you would like to use. After providing this information, wait a few days for your new SIM card to arrive in the mail. Alternatively, you can arrange for in-store pickup if an AT&T store is located near you. Once you have your SIM card, navigate back to the BYOD portal, which will walk you through the steps of activating your phone and new account.

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Why Did GetHuman Write "How Do I Switch My Cellphone Provider to At&t Wireless?"?

After thousands of AT&T Wireless customers came to GetHuman in search of an answer to this problem (and many others), we decided it was time to publish instructions. So we put together How Do I Switch My Cellphone Provider to At&t Wireless? to try to help. It takes time to get through these steps according to other users, including time spent working through each step and contacting AT&T Wireless if necessary. Best of luck and please let us know if you successfully resolve your issue with guidance from this page.

Why does GetHuman Write How-to Guides for AT&T Wireless Problems?

GetHuman has been working for over 10 years on sourcing information about big organizations like AT&T Wireless in order to help customers resolve customer service issues faster. We started with contact information and fastest ways to reach a human at big companies. Particularly ones with slow or complicated IVR or phone menu systems. Or companies that have self-serve help forums instead of a customer service department. From there, we realized that consumers still needed more detailed help solving the most common problems, so we expanded to this set of guides, which grows every day. And if you spot any issues with our How Do I Switch My Cellphone Provider to At&t Wireless? guide, please let us know by sending us feedback. We want to be as helpful as possible. If you appreciated this guide, please share it with your favorite people. Our free information and tools is powered by you, the customer. The more people that use it, the better it gets.

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Asked 9 months ago
Updated 9 months ago
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