Port your phone number – TracFone and Net10 porting info

I thought that with all the time I’ve spent writing about the advantages of TracFone and Net10, there might be some people that decide they want to switch from one to the other, or from a different carrier to one of those two. So I thought I’d write a post with a few tips on how to do that best.

I recently ported a number from TracFone service to Net10. I was very nervous that something would get messed up and my number would get lost, but it actually went very smoothly. In my case, I went from a TracFone GSM phone to a Net10 GSM phone, and the underlying carrier on each phone was AT&T, so that certainly made my port an easy one. But I was very pleased that it was done in less than an hour.

One important thing to point out before I go any further, though, is that minutes and service days are NOT transferrable between these two brands. So if you have a lot of minutes and/or days of service left on your current phone, I’d advise you to use up those minutes with your current service before switching to another provider.

Once you are ready to make the switch, though, here are few basic tips to help you out:

  • As I alluded to above, a port will go most smoothly if the underlying carrier is the same for the old and the new phone (i.e. your old phone has an AT&T SIM card, and so does the new one). Switching from GSM to CDMA, or vice versa, will take a little longer (perhaps a couple of days).
  • Don’t activate your new phone until you are ready to port. Porting to a phone that’s already active will make the process more complicated.
  • In my experience it’s best to use TracFone’s or Net10′s website to initiate the port. If necessary, you can call Tech Support once the port is initiated, but in most cases it will go through without a problem.
  • My friend Jim, who is as knowledgeable about TracFone and Net10 as anyone I know, has put together a step-by-step tutorial, complete with screen shots of the steps, for porting to TracFone. His tutorial is actually designed for the purpose of  porting an inactive TracFone number to a new TracFone, which is another discussion for another time. But the basics are the same whether you are porting to TracFone or Net10, from one of those two companies or another provider entirely. Here’s a link to Jim’s tutorial:

http://thejmart.com/port.htm

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful in case you need to port your number or are considering a switch to TracFone or Net10. If you have any suggestions or questions on this article, please share them in the comments section. Thanks!

50 thoughts on “Port your phone number – TracFone and Net10 porting info

  1. When I made my decision to switch over to Tracfone I wanted to take my number with me. I was able to port my number over from Cricket to Tracfone within an hour without any trouble.

  2. I’ve been with Tracfone for several years, have ported several times, with results across the whole spectrum.

    My first time I ported my wife’s number from Alltel to Tracfone, and it couldn’t have gone smoother. If memory serves the Tracfone was working before I got off the phone with them.

    Later when I bought my first Tracfone, they tried numerous times but could never get me a number that was local for my area. They finally sent me a new sim card, but still couldn’t get a good number. Eventually they sent me a different phone that didn’t use a sim card, and then were able to get me a good number. All this went on for a couple of weeks.

    After getting a good number, sometime later I bought a new phone that did use a sim card, and was able to port to it with no problem.

    My latest port has been problematic. Just went from a Motorola W370 to a W376, but it took several days for the new phone to become usable. But of course my old phone became unusable immediately. And the new one has had problems dropping service where my old one never did. After reading some of your posts was able to determine that my old phone had an AT&T sim card, while the new one has a T-Mobile card. Finally convinced Tracfone to send me an AT&T card for it, haven’t received it yet but hopefully that will fix that problem.

    I really enjoy reading your posts, keep up the good work.

  3. This is such a great service!

    I had been thinking about changing over to Net10 for a while.
    About a month a go I lost my bag with all my life in it.
    so having to get a new phone anyway I did the swap,
    and to my great satisfaction it was sorted out very quickly.
    My misfortune did however lead me on to Net10 and only having to pay $15 for activation and minutes is realy great.

  4. I had just the opposite experience with Net10 and Tracfone. I’d been a Tracfone customer for years and had previously ported a number from Verizon to Tracfone and then to Net10. My wife had a Net10 account but wanted to move to Tracfone. When I initiated the port of her number from Net10 to Tracfone, (via the website), I didn’t anticipate any problems, especially with their being the same company. Not so. Instead of porting the mobile number, they ported my land line from AT&T. I’ve had that number for 15 years and both my DSL and satellite TV used that line. That was going to be a problem for me. I called Tracfone who told me to call AT&T and back and forth. Tracfone would tell me that AT&T would not provide them with what they needed to perform the port, and AT&T had no record of communications from Tracfone regarding the issue. Finally Tracfone let me speak to “Andre”, a porting specialist (?). He gave me very specific instructions on what he needed from me, and from AT&T. We both followed those instructions exactly, and set out to wait the 10 business days (again) for the port to happen. On day 9 I got an email from AT&T saying the port could not be completed and to please call Tracfone. I did so again and of course they told me to call AT&T. I called AT&T and after about an hour they discovered that Tracfone had refused to port the number back to AT&T, and had no intentions of doing so.

    This all cost me about 12 hours worth of time, spent on the phone and web, for a mistake that Tracfone made. Their support people were not helpful nor knowledgeable (with the exception of Andre) and were obviously reading from a script. I was never allowed to speak to a supervisor or manager. AT&T however was very helpful through the whole affair. Their people were empowered to take action and access records, they knew the TeleCom laws regarding the issue, and were very pleasant. When I ended up having to order new services from them, they knocked off all kinds of money, in the form of Visa gift cards, and I got my service in two days.

    I never had any issues with Tracfone until the the support moved from South Asia (I don’t know if America Movil owned them at this point) to Central America.

    • PSquared – wow, that sounds like a terrible experience. I’m sorry you had to go through it. One thing I don’t understand, though, is how in the world they even got your landline number in the first place. If you were going from Net10 to Trac, your landline number shouldn’t have been involved at all. Do you have any idea as to why they would even have included your landline in the port? That is really confusing to me.

      • pbushx2,

        I had an online account with Tracfone that I used to buy airtime. My landline was required for registration.

  5. To follow up, finally received new AT&T sim card today and got my tracfone working right again.

    I thought (mistakenly) that when I ordered a new Tracfone from their website, since I was a customer already they would send me a phone for the same carrier I had already. I had a W370 and was on AT&T, bought a W376 and they sent me one with T-Mobile sim card.

    At the time I didn’t realize the difference (didn’t know how to tell the difference in sim cards until reading some of the posts here). I wondered why it took so long to activate my new phone, now I understand, because what happened is they ported my number from AT&T to T-Mobile when I activated the new phone. Then when I finally figured out why my service was so terrible on the new phone and convinced them to send me a new AT&T sim card, they had to port my number again, from T-Mobile back to AT&T. Each port took several days.

    On top of that, when they first agreed to send the new sim card, I waited several days and when it never came finally called them again and found that they had never sent it, had to go thru the whole thing again.

    Next time I buy a Tracfone I will try to find out first whose sim card is in it, not sure if that info is available up front though. They always want zip code to determine what’s available for the area, in my case this is obviously not the way to decide, as they seem to think AT&T and T-Mobile have equivalent coverage in my zip code area, but the phone was almost useless when it was on T-Mobile. The network was just in and out all the time. On AT&T it is rock-solid.

    My only problem now is I can’t send MMS to my computer (this did work on T-Mobile), makes camera pretty much useless. But not sure it’s worth the trouble to try and fix, the camera is not that great anyway.

    • Chas – there is a way to find out before you order which type of SIM their going to send you. It’s actually included in the URL of the phone order page. I’ll have to do a post on it sometime soon here.

      Also, they SHOULD be able to get your MMS working again, but as you said it might not be worth the hassle. When a switch is made from T-Mobile to AT&T, or the other way around, this sometimes seems to screw up the data services (web and mms). Is your web currently working correctly with the ATT sim?

  6. pbush, thanks for reply. I hadn’t tried my web browser since changing the sim, and you’re right, it doesn’t work either, finally says can’t connect to server after several minutes. Both it and the MMS go thru the motions (and deduct the minutes) but are never successful, MMS finally gives an error after several minutes and says to retry. I’ve wasted quite a few minutes with these already, any suggestions on the best approach to getting the problem fixed?

    • Chas – I would call customer service and explain the problem. Also explain that you’ve lost a lot of minutes. They’ll hopefully give you some free minutes to compensate for the lost time, and also they’ll probably tell you they need 48 hours to fix the problem. Be sure to get a case number from them, in case 48 hours go by and the problem isn’t fixed. Then you can call back and give them the case number so you don’t have to start all over.

  7. I was looking through the tutorial and I was wondering, how do I know what network was the carrier for my tracfone? I am purchasing a phone from Net10 and wanted to transfer my tracfone number. Any advice on determining that?
    Thanks

    • Jill-
      TracFone uses AT&T, T-Mobile, Alltel, and Verizon, as far as I know.

      If your phone has a sim card, it is either ATT or T-mo. Read the SIM serial number from the prepaid menu – if it starts with 890141, you have AT&T. If it is 890126, you have t-mobile.

      If your phone does not have a sim card, you are on Verizon or ATT. I think that the way to figure out which carrier you have is to dial *228. It’s been a while since I tried this, but I think that you will then hear a message indicating the carrier you are using.

  8. Hey, I’ve had a tracfone for like 3 years, and have ported my number from tracfone to tracfone 3 times, when new phone came out. Now I’ve got a net 10 phone, and I’m waiting for the port to complete from tracfone to that. Tracfone always took like 30 mins to complete, and I’m on DAY 3 with this one. Why is it taking so long? Also, I am schedualed to ship with the army in a few days, whats the average port time for this, as I need it done before I go. Thanks.

  9. The problem could be due to a variety of factors, but my best guess is that you are either going from CDMA to GSM, GSM to CDMA, or from one GSM SIM type to the other. If this sounds like a bunch of gobbledy-gook to you, it is probably most efficient to deal directly with Net10′s support department. Here’s a post I did a few weeks ago about getting fast customer service/tech support:

    http://pbush14.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/tracphone-support/

  10. I’m wondering what sort of complications there may be when porting a (landline) number to a TracFone that’s already been activated. I’ll be getting my first TracFone soon, and would like to try it out for a few days before porting my number and giving up my current service. Thanks for any info!

  11. Greg,
    Honestly, I’ve never attempted the landline port. I’ve heard of people doing it, but never done so myself. I would be extremely cautious to make sure the number doesn’t get lost, especially if it’s one you’ve had for a while.
    If you have a GSM TRacFone that’s already been activated, you’ll need to get a new SIM card, which TracFone will send you for free.
    It’s probably easiest to start with a new, unactivated phone and begin the port that way. There are fewer complications that way.
    Also, please be SURE that you’ll be getting a good deal by making this switch. Some people don’t realize how much they really use their landline. TracFone is really best for people that use under 150 minutes per month; Net10 is better for 150-300 minutes per month, and anything over that I recommend the new Straight Talk service.

  12. I want to purchase “regular” AT&T cell phone service and give up my Tracphone service (which I’ve had for 5+ years). I would like to keep my Tracphone number and transfer it to this new AT&T cell phone service. AT&T tells me this can’t be done as Tracphone “owns” the Tracphone telephone numbers and won’t let them be transferred to another carrier. Is this right? If not, what do I need to do? Thanks.

  13. MY PHONE IS UNABLE TO RECEIVE PICTURE MESSAGES BUT IT STILL CHARGES ME AND IT SAYS COMMUNICATION ERROR. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY ITS NOT ALLOWING ME TO RECEIVE PICTURE MESSAGE.

  14. Can someone tell me, is it possible to switch from Net10 to Tracfone while still keeping my current Net10 phone and phone number. I have called Tracfone, but never get a straight answer from them. I have called them at different times over the past few years and have only talked to one person that seemed to have any knowledge.

  15. MY PHONE IS A LG600GB N IT QUIT GIT PICTURE MESSAGE I USE TO GIT THEM WHEN I FRIST GOT IT I LIKE IT IF U COULD LET ME KNOW WHAT WRONG WHIT IT THANKS MY NUMBER IS

  16. Definitely go with Net10. The phones are the best ones offered by TracFone and the plans are the cheapest. THey sell the minutes everywhere, and like with all TracFone plans, you don’t need a contract and can set everything up yourself. Also, a flat rate of $.10 a minute makes things easy to manage and keep track of minutes.

  17. I’ll be transferring my son’s phone # from tracfone => net10 next week (he absolutely *has* to have a qwerty keyboard since all of his friends do). His tracfone still has a year of service days left (but no more minutes). I know the days can’t be transferred to net10, but can I add them to another tracfone that already has existing service? It seems like once the tracfone is deactivated by porting the phone number, the service days are gone. But if I transfer the service days first, then we would lose the phone number, and he wants to keep his current number. Is there a way to do this simultaneously? Could I transfer most, instead of all, of the service days first without deactivating the tracfone?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    • Hi Jnorden
      I don’t think there’s anyway to do it safely. If you were willing to take a risk with the number, you could try to transfer the service time and airtime ONLY over to another phone, then immediately port your number from TRacFone to Net10 using Net10′s site. In theory the phone number should still be available for a port even if you deactivate the phone, but I’ve never tried it before and it seems a little risky.

      Another way you might try is to port the number, then reactivate the old phone using a cheap airtime card (like the $10 card available on TracFone’s site). This will result in a new number being assigned to that phone, and if it’s a GSM card you will need to wait for a new SIM card to be shipped to you (free of charge, and usually be overnight mail). Once the phone is reactivated, you should then be able to transfer the remaining service to another TracFone. If you go this route, you might want to avoid adding a bonus code when you add airtime to reactivate the phone, as that could make it harder to transfer the remaining minutes. Along hte same lines, it might be better to wait a few weeks or even a month, after reactivating, to transfer the minutes, so it will look less suspicious to TracFone reps. I know this sounds kind of like you are scheming to beat the system, but remember, you PAID for all those remaining minutes of talk time and months of service!

  18. I tried to follow instructions for this website and the link provided for porting my tracfone number to net10. Looked like everything was going on smoothly. The port was completed in 2-3 hours and when I went ahead to activate it, to my horror, I find the new net10 phone active with a new number! Help, what should I do? Is my old number gone? I have been using it for a long time and would hate if it is lost

  19. Hey, you guys.

    I was just wondering if there is ANY possible way to port my current Net10 phone number to Cellular South. I am wanting to have more of an actual plan, but I want to keep my new number. Any suggestions? ANYTHING at all??

    Thanks!
    Desiree

  20. Quick question. If I am porting my number from Verizon to Net10, do I need to activate my Net10 phone to port the number from Verizon correctly?

    It says you have to be an active member of Net10 (in the port info they provide) and currently, I am not since my phone is not active. I have the phone with the sim card, I filled out the website, and now I am waiting.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Krisa, if you’ve gone through the online steps to transfer your number from another carrier, you have done everything correctly so far – even though you don’t have a current Net10 phone. Hopefully they’ve given you a case number that you can use to check online to see if you are ready to complete the port process to your new phone. One way to test is to place a test call to your old phone number. If the Verizon phone still rings, the port is not complete. If it doesn’t ring, then you are probably ready to completely activate your net10 phone. When that happens, go to net10.com, click on tech support, and then enter your case number to see if you are ready to complete the port. Your new phone will be activated at that time.

  21. I currently have Tracfone with the Motorola W376G flip phone.
    I am looking at switching over to Net 10. I know they are the same company.
    I wanted to find out if I can port my Tracfone number to Net 10
    without buying a new phone from Net 10 and keeping my existing W376G phone that I am currently using. Net 10 sells the Motorola W376G phone also.
    This way I can do the port and just buy the Net 10 phone cards.

    Thanks

    • Hi George
      Unfortunately this won’t work. The phone that Net10 sells is actually the w377g, not w376g. The only difference is the software that’s on the phones. Unfortunately, no Net10 phone will work on TracFone, nor vice versa. If you can find a Net10 w377g, however, you could port your number from TracFone to Net10. You would lose your existing minutes and service days in that case, however. If you can find a new w377g somewhere, keep in mind that you’ll get 300 free minutes and 60 service days on activation, which will probably make up the cost of the phone.

  22. I was amazed to find this blog because switching from Tracfone to Net10 is exactly what I’m planning on doing. I’ve been satisfied with Tracfone for several years but I text alot and there are no Tracfones with keyboards so I’m going to switch to Net10 which has a Samsung T401G with a qwerty keyboard. My current Tracfone is a Motorola and I’m worried that there will be issues porting my number between the two but now that I’ve read your blog, I’m thinking maybe it won’t be as bad as I imagined.

    Thanks!

  23. some of y’all are lying. it does not take a friggin hour. it has been a day, and my port isn’t near finished. they said it’d take up to 10 days

  24. I have a problem trying to port in my tmobile number to a new tracfone. Tracfone keeps telling me I have provided the wrong account number (my tmobile accout number), but I have not. Tmobile has told me that the problem is that I need to activate the Tracfone first for the port in to be completed. I have spent a lot of time with tracfone on this, not any help at all. Can someone please tell me what I may be missing? One thing to mention, my tmobile phone and account is really old, I have had this for like 6 years…does that make a difference? I have no idea about the sim card thing…
    Thanks for any help

    • Hi Chistine
      Have you tried getting in touch with TracFone’s executive resolutions department? They are the next level of customer service, and are more competent and have more authority to speed things along when there are problem cases. Specifically, you might want to try to get in touch with Elston in that department. I gave out his contact info (email), along with the Exec resolution info (ph. number), in this post:
      http://pbush14.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/tracphone-support/

  25. I am planning to switch from Tracfone to Net 10. How long does the porting take? I don’t want to a situation where I am waiting days for the port to complete. Also, I want to be sure that my phone number does not get switched on me. I read a previous post where someone was porting and ended up with a different phone number. Thanks.

  26. HI George
    Did you get this figured out yet? It shouldn’t take more than 24 hours, but usually happens in less than an hour. It helps a lot if you go from a “g” phone to another “g” phone, or from a “c” phone to another “c.” For example, from t301g to LG 620g, or from Kyocera 126c to Samsung r451c. If you cross them up, the porting might take longer.

  27. Net10 has been great to me. I had a friend who said he had a big issue with customer service but hey I guess that’s the tradeoff for only paying 50 a month for unlimited text/talk.data/411. I heard they use the Verizon and ATT towers for their service so that’s a pretty darn big coverage area. Also they don’t really have the flashiest line of phones but clearly Net10 is all about the value so no real complains there.

  28. I think that Net10 is a great compromise plan for those of you guys who can’t get on this iPhone. YEah, iPhone is the best at everything, but it’s also way out of many people’s price range. I think that if you’re a discount shopper looking for stuff on the cheap, Net10 is about as good as you can do for signal quality.

  29. I successfully ported my home land-line number to a Tracfone last year by following the directions on their website. So I know it works.

    But now, we’re looking to port our Verizone Wireless family plan numbers to three separate Tracfones. I have done some online research and the advice seems to be to port the added lines or secondary numbers on the family plan first, because once the main number that the family plan is under is ported, the whole plan is shut off.

    So I’ve got a new Tracfone LG420G and I went to the Tracfone site for porting the number, but I’m already stumped – some of the information they want is the Verizon account number, last 4 digits of the plan owner’s SSN and PIN or password — but all of that information is for my husband’s main plan number. My secondary number doesn’t have its own plan account or PIN or anything like that. I don’t really know what to do next or who to contact for help – if I fill in my husband’s info for the account info, for all I know they might port his number instead and my (and our son’s) secondary lines will be deactivated automatically.

    Any thoughts or suggestions on how best to proceed? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Fairy Dust
      I’m really sorry it’s taken so long, I’ve been a bad blogger the last week or so!
      Did you get this figured out at all? I’m pretty well stumped too, and I’ve never had a contract phone account so I don’t have any personal experience with this. But based on what you are saying about the password, account number, etc., I agree with your assessment that there’s a risk of them porting the wrong number and canceling the account.

      You could try calling executive resolutions at 1-800-876-5753. They have more knowledgeable reps, with more authority, than the regular 800 number. Tell them what you are trying to do and how you are having problems. I can’t guarantee that they will be able to help you, however. It’s even possible that they could tell you that they will help, and still screw it up. I’m just trying to be up front with you on this because I know how frustrating it would be to lose your phone number.

      Aside from calling TracFone directly, which in itself is far from fool-proof, my only suggestion is to try porting first to another carrier that is more hands-on during the porting process. Maybe something like Page Plus, which has real, live dealers. You can search eBay for “Page Plus Activation” or go to the page plus site and look for a local dealer http://www.pagepluscellular.com/Why%20Page%20Plus/Store%20Locator.aspx.

      You could then port your number first to Page Plus (or the other intermediary provider of your choice), then port from that middle man over to TracFone. Or maybe decide that you want to stick with the middle man, I don’t know.

      Obviously, once you get to the point where you have only one number remaining on your VZW account, you should be able to use the online form.

      One other tip – to make the port process go as smoothly as possible, you might want to look for phones with model numbers ending in “c.” These phones will use the same technology as VZW, and make it go more smoothly. Porting to a “g” model number is possible, but may take a few days longer.

      Hope this helps!

  30. Hi and thank you! I actually went ahead and tried the porting with my own secondary Verizon Family Plan line because I’m not that in love with it that I’d be upset to lose it, so I figured that made me a good test case :) Turns out the whole thing went pretty smoothly. I did the port online and even though it does ask for account, password or PIN, etc., which is all connected to the main number vs. my secondary number, I still made sure that on the very last screen the number being ported was definitely mine. I went ahead and clicked submit and a ticket was created. That was a Friday night.

    Sunday afternoon (I don’t use my cell much at all) I tried to send a text to our son and my VW cell tried but failed, so I thought “aha!” and logged back in to the Tracfone site, where at first the message was that there were some problems with my new phone (the Tracfone LG420G that I was attempting to port to), and I should call Customer Service.

    I decided to try to keep it all online and started over at the activation screen picking the last option (ported number ready for activation). I went through the entering of many digits about 4 times – the first set would always be accepted, but the second set would always come up Invalid, please call Customer Service.

    However, the new LGTracfone, while not working, WAS showing that my secondary line number had ported! So encouraged by that, I finally did what I’d had to do when I ported our land line to a Tracfone last year — I pulled out the SIM, put it back in, then turned the phone back on. And voila! I was up and running with all services available and my 10 free minutes.

    And everything’s been fine since – yay! I checked our VW online acct and it showed that my line was “off service” or something like that, which seemed good.

    Next step is doing the same thing with our other secondary line – my son’s phone. I’m still waiting for the Tracfone he wanted to come in via WM site-to-store (we took your advice and ordered that way because if we buy the phones locally then come with T-mobile instead of ATT, and ATT here now seems to offer the best coverage/service.

    Sorry for how long this was, but thank you for all the help your blog has provided!!!!

  31. If I knew what I was getting myself into with “porting” I would have found a building to jump off!
    I had a safelink{tracfone} phone for almost 2 years. I lost it. I was sent a replacement phone. but..I didnt want to get a new phone no# so I asked if I could keep the same no# for the new phone, I was told “no problem.” I was still sent a new no#. However, I continued to ask about the old no#. I got sented another sim card with another new no#. I didnt like the replacement phone. So I decided to buy a Huawei from cricket. “I have a idea.. That maybe I could get that old phone no# switched over to my new cricket phone… “To make a very stupid and long story short, I have the old no# that I wanted on the replacment phone…, and the no# from the new cricket phone has also been transfered to the replacment phone. I shit you not

  32. I have a tracfone phone and would like to keep it but have net10 service. Is it possible to keep my phone and make the switch?

  33. is there anyway i can stop my number from porting from straight talk to net10?
    my straight talk phone broke and now im just worried about getting my net10 phone hooked up even if i dont have my old number

  34. Hi, I was wondering if anyone could tell me approximately how long a port from a CDMA Tracfone to a GSM Net10 phone will take? It has been 24 hours and I was told it could take up to 2 days but having done some research on this, I found that some people wait much longer than that. How long should I wait for the port to complete before contacting customer service? Also, I am not sure what it means that your old phone is supposed to “stop working”…. does that mean that it just won’t make calls or there won’t be any service, or does it shut off, become unresponsive? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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