Consumers in the top 100 metro areas will be able to change wireless carriers and take their numbers with them beginning November 24th when wireless local number portability (WLNP) rules come into effect. In an effort to make sure customers can maneuver through any unexpected pitfalls in the process, Cingular Wireless has created a checklist called “The A to Z of WLNP.”
Following are the “tips” included on the checklist:
– Know the details. Your new carrier will need to know information about your existing account. So for convenience, bring a bill from your existing carrier to your new one. If you don’t have a copy of your bill, know the exact details of your account, including name (for example, is it billed to “Bill” or “William” Smith), address, account number and phone number.
– Leave some time. The process can take a few minutes or a few hours. It could take even longer for your phone to be fully functional (such as being able to receive incoming calls).
– Timing Counts. Start the process with your new carrier. If you cancel your current service with your existing carrier, you may end up losing your number.
– Are you a free agent? You may be under contract with your existing carrier, who may charge you an early termination fee if you cancel your existing service while still under contract.
– Start from scratch. You may need a new phone when you switch carriers, even if you are keeping your number. familiarize yourself with your new carrier’s rate plans, coverage area and features, too, because you’ll need to choose a new plan.
– Larger cities first. WLNP is required to be available in the 100 largest metro areas on November 24th of this year. Some carriers may offer it in smaller markets before late May 2004.
– The “L” in WLNP. “Local” means when switching carriers you will be able to take your number within the same metro area but you may not be able to take it from one metro area to another.
– Need your consent. Your new wireless carrier will need your authorization to move your wireless number from your existing carrier. This protects you from carriers switching your number without your permission.
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