Staying with the same mobile phone carrier?

I’m currently on a family plan with T-Mobile. Each year, our yearly contract ends and my father signs up with a new contract (usually with a different member of the family, since you have to be a non-customer for over 60 days or something to take advantage of the new customer deals). We tend to stick with T-Mobile because it generally has the best cell phone plans for family. We don’t bother trying to haggle with customer service, as renewing a contract never really ever has the same perks of signing up for a new contract. I’ve complained about this numerous times, and even blogged about it. I hardly use my cell phone, given that I don’t have a girlfriend/wife or kids. I get the seldom call from my parents, which I’ve trained them to call my VoIP phone number instead, and sometimes use it to call some friends or co-workers. Once in awhile, I have an emergency for it, but overall I probably use at most 200 minutes a month. I don’t care about internet connectivity or getting email on my cell phone.

Anyway, that time is coming up and the worse part of all this is that if we stick with T-Mobile, we will all get new numbers and I have to tell everyone what my new number is. Sometimes I miss a few people, and they get mad at me. Anyway, I now there’s that law that allows you to port your cell number to a different carrier, but nothing that really says much about keeping your cell number with the same mobile phone carrier.

A few years back, I thought about this scheme, but didn’t really research much into it. I was thinking, I can port my number to a temporary mobile phone carrier, and then immediately port it back to whatever company that I wanted. I mean if I was a small mobile phone carrier, I can make money off this by charging a service fee of lets say $35 + any additional charges to get it to work. Ungsunghero then suggested instead I could just sign up for some random plan and I have 30 days to cancel it if I don’t like it, even if I sign up for a 1 year contract.

I emailed MyRatePlan, asking:

I understand how number porting works. I was wondering if there’s an median service which I could port my number to and then port my number back onto a different plan.

For example, let’s say I’m a Verizon customer. My contract has ended and I want to take advantage of a new contract. The only problem is that number portability doesn’t work within the same carrier.

Is it possible to port my number to say a small carrier which provides the service of temporarily holding cell numbers and the port it back to Verizon on my new contract.

If that is possible, does such carriers exist today? If so, would you please kindly tell me about them.

Thank you.

Their reply was short and to the point:

Thanks for writing. Creative idea, but it won’t work. Even if you ported to a prepaid carrier (ie, one with no contract) then tried to port back, you would get flagged as an existing customer for about 6 months and your application would be rejected.

Verizon does offer some discounts on phones to those that renew their contract. Not as much as for new customers, but if you want to stay with them and keep your number as well as get a new phone, that is probably your best option.

Ungsunghero confirmed that there was a 6 month period where the mobile phone carrier is allowed to not take back the number that was ported away from it. Darn. All that scheming gone to waste. Ungsunghero suggested that I should just sign up for a new plan on a different carrier on my own, but that’s really not the point here. Let’s say I switch to Verizon or Cingular or even Sprint PCS, a year later when the contract expires, that means I have to once again switch to another carrier even if I liked the service I’ve been getting. Oh well.

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