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August 22, 2010

Port telephone number to Virgin Mobile from AT&T

Just recently Virgin Mobile began offering it’s Beyond Talk Plans.  Since I’m more into texting and web than talk, the $25 tier was the one for me: 300 anytime minutes plus unlimited web and texting (MMS/SMS).

For some time my expired 2 year contract with AT&T Wireless has been on a month-to-month.  Originally I had a Samsung D807.  When the LG Neon was available for their pay as you go plan (aka GoPhone) I bought several.

Even though I purchased a pay as you go type of phone, at the time it was just a phone upgrade for myself and others on my family plan.  We just swapped the SIM’s from the old phones to the new.

However, besides the excellent no contract pricing, the reasons I switched to Virgin Mobile are the reception at UCLA campus dorms is awful for AT&T and great for Sprint (who owns Virgin Mobile), and that Virgin Mobile had the LG Rumor Touch.  I have to say the phone is no iPhone, but for the price of $150 for the phone and $25/month for the 300 min & unlimited data – yep it’s wonderful it’s no iPhone!  And it’s really a pretty good phone for what it is: so-so 3″ touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, easy menu system, and so-so 2MP camera (needs image stabilization).

Now don’t make the mistake I did if you want to keep your existing phone number from another cell phone provider, which is activate the phone at Virgin Mobile’s website and then try to port your telephone number.  You can still transfer your number after the fact, if you have the patience to deal with the waiting and headaches of having your existing prepaid balance carried over if you’ve activated a new Virgin Mobile phone number before doing the port.  But why make it difficult on yourself?

Here’s how to port (transfer) your existing telephone number from another carrier, such as AT&T Wireless, over to Virgin Mobile:

Call 1-888-322-1122 from a land line phone and when the automated voice gives you options, choose or say “Start up service”.  At the next prompt, choose or say “Transfer my service to Virgin Mobile”.

You should be transferred to a Customer Service Representative.  Getting this far took me a while to figure out since the Virgin website currently doesn’t mention how to handle porting a telephone number from another wireless carrier to them.  The voice prompts aren’t too obvious either.

When the live agent answers, tell him/her you want to port your telephone # from AT&T (or your existing wireless carrier) over to your Virgin Mobile prepaid phone.  I’m not sure, but I wonder if you can’t transfer a prepaid phone number over to another prepaid phone – Because they asked me if my plan was prepaid with AT&T or postpaid.  Mine was postpaid.

They will probably ask whose name and address is on the account you’re transferring the phone number from, what the account # is, and the last four of the social security number on the account.

After you provide the CSR at Virgin Mobile the required information they will tell you how to program the AT&T telephone # into your phone.  Then they will tell you to wait about 24-72 hours for the transfer to go through.  There should be a text message/email you will get once the process (transfer) is complete.

An additional tip I have, if you have the same or similar phones I do, is to transfer the contacts over (albeit one by one) you can use the send via bluetooth option.  Good luck!


  1. mike says:

    Awesome news!
    Thanks for this write up! I had this very question hovering over me all day. I was burned recently by ATT and I’m looking to jump out of a contact and into something prepaid.
    I noticed today the Beyond Talk plan by Virgin and its quite tasty. I mean, UNLIMITED data/msg?! And, whats even better, they offer just a $10 a month extra on Blackberry devices. Coming from an ATT BB with contract and going to no contract BB with Virgin, sounds juicier than ever.
    Much appreciated!

  2. T. Wolf says:

    Great, glad to hear it – inspires more posts from me! 🙂

  3. Scarlett says:

    My daughter has been trying to get AT&T to port her number over to Virgin Mobile for a week. We’ve called VM at least half a dozen times and AT&T about 3 times. AT&T keeps saying call VM again and then “wait 24 hours.” No luck .. Glad it worked for you all, but it isn’t working for us …

  4. T. Wolf says:

    Sorry to hear that. I know it isn’t a pleasure when things that cost money don’t go smoothly, but hang in there if you can, to save the money you will when compared to full-fledged cell phone service. I have found that if you need to reach customer service it’s best to call in the morning – more staffing and chance that you can reach a supervisor (if needed) when things are not resolved initially. Hope things work out well for you soon. FYI – Not all my dealings with Virgin Mobile or Sprint have been smooth, but I’m glad so far in making the switch. The extra money is so worth it!

  5. Scarlett says:

    Okay, still no dice. We have had AT&T and VM on the phone with each other, with AT&T confirming YES THAT IS THE RIGHT PIN, but every time VM puts the request to port over the number through to AT&T, the computer says “not the right pin” and rejects it. No matter how many times we call, talk to people at VM, AT&T, and they talk to each other, the SAME scenario unfolds.
    It’s surreal.

  6. T. Wolf says:

    How sad. Seriously. Don’t know if this will work, but maybe changing the PIN to a different one (or removing it altogether) and then trying the port…. Situations like these are why people end up hating a company. It shouldn’t be so in the first place.

  7. Jandra says:

    How long did it take for You to port your number to virgin mobile? I am currently in the process and it’s been about 2 days

  8. T. Wolf says:

    It took about 24 hours. I have heard some people tell me theirs did take a few days, but it shouldn’t take more than 3 days.

  9. NPoulsen says:

    I just got off the phone with “William”, supposedly a member of Virgin Mobile’s number porting department. I requested to port a number from T-Mobile to my daughter’s new, but already activated prepaid VM Rumor Touch. I was told by William that I would have to cancel her current prepaid VM account, losing a $275 balance, in order to transfer her T-Mobile number to it. He told me that the only alternative method would be for me to purchase a SECOND VM phone that hadn’t been activated and then transfer the T-Mobile number to that phone somehow including the previous VM account balance from her current VM account. I was shocked that I would 1) either lose $275 balance in her current VM prepaid account or 2) be required to buy a new, unactivated VM phone which somehow could be programmed to accept the T-Mobile phone number AND transfer the $275 balance from her current VM account – even though it couldn’t be done with her current phone. Is what William told me true?

  10. T. Wolf says:

    @NPoulsen, I don’t know if what “William” said is true but it’s doubtful. If I were you I’d call back and get someone else at Virgin Mobile to try the port w/balance intact. My balance was $25, and I had the number ported after activating with the amount carried over.

  11. @ Thomas Wolf –
    Could you provide step-by-step instructions to transfer phone book data from an AT&T phone to a Virgin Mobile LG Rumor Touch? You mention a bluetooth process which I have never done. I understand both my AT&T Samsung SGH-A707 and the LG Rumor Touch have the bluetooth feature.

  12. Mike says:

    I’m currently trying to port over my number to VM from at&t, and the process is agonizing. I know at&t is expensive, but with expensive plans you get actual “legitimate” customer service.
    I can’t believe it would be this difficult to port a number over from at&t to another similar $100 a month type service, such as sprint, verizon, etc.
    Virgin mobile may be cheap in price, but their customer service is absolutely abominable. The first time I tried porting, and nothing happened, I called back, and the VM rep tells me “they didn’t have my pin on file to give to at&t”. I’m pretty sure I remember giving it, unless this is the same “insanity loop” of the pin number not working some reason, as mentioned by a previous poster.
    At the worst I may just have to get a new number, at the expense of a few cheapo business cards, and changing my records with different companies, etc.

  13. Pony says:

    Best set of instructions ever! I know this post is old but some things are treasures on the ‘net and this is one of them. If you follow his directions (make sure you have the necessary information: name/address/account number from AT&T – get your last bill, last four SS# of acct. holder, serial number of new phone) it goes easy as pie! Customer Service has definitely improved – “Sharon” ported (transferred) my number (about 15 minutes on landline with her to give all my info, she even gave me step-by-step instructions to set number in my phone since I was unfamiliar with it), then I got the message my phone was ready for setup in 2 HOURS! Not 24, not 36, not 72 – 2 HOURS! “JT” set up my account and I was back in business in 1 afternoon! I even had a slightly complicated case – the company that I purchased the phone from had already setup an acct for me and a new number – no prob, “Sharon” deleted that acct (no balance, no payment method attached), and started my new one with my old phone number so I could keep it. I will add – the longest delay was actually me trying to think up a 6 number PIN that I’d remember! (Decide on yours before calling is my only add-on here…) Thanks for the excellent advice. Oh, my phone is Rumor Touch – love it so far (my 2nd day and customizing my settings, lol) Thanks again!

  14. House says:

    Just switched from AT&T to VM, and the process went smoothly! I accidentally activated the phone with a new number, but called the next morning and they began the port process. They said it could take up to three days, but my old phone would work until then. I was out and about with only the old phone, and it shut off approx. 25 minutes after I called VM. I went home and called them, and they finished re-activating my phone then and there. All in all, it only took maybe an hour max for me to get up and running with my ported number on my new VM phone, and the service thus far has been waaay better than my four years with AT&T. Good luck everyone!

  15. George says:

    Hey twolf thanks a bunch for directions on the porting over of my att #. Went smooth as butter!

  16. Hal says:

    switched to VM from Sprint.
    Following the VM website – transferring from another carrier – entered all my information from Sprint, including pin, account #, picked and plan, paid with credit card – then it says I have this new number. WTF, seriously WTF. Why did I enter all that information from my old carrier if they were giving me a new number?

    so I called VM customer service as your blog entry suggests. The representative says no problem they could help me… asked me all that information again – Sprint account number, pin, account info, etc. WTF, so annoying.

    Anyway, she told me it would take anywhere from 24-72 hours.

    About 4-5 hours later I received a text message and activation/service transfer is completed.

  17. Saji says:

    I purchased a VM cell and had it activated and ported my Sprint # at the same time. The girl said it could take 24 hours. I got home and my old phone was still workng for a few hours then suddenly the service stopped, the problem is the VM service isnt working either!

    Now I have 2 phones of which the, “account is not authorized to place this call.” I have no land line, and cant get in touch with anyone to use their phone to call customer service.

    It seems Sprint has cancelled my account and, Im assuming, VM has begun the #port but it must not be complete. I guess I will wait until tomorrow.

    I kind of want to talk to my girlfriend and I will need to call my bass in the morning, I was also supposed to go over to my dads but I need to call him first before I leave… this was a bad day to do all of this.

  18. Is there a separate pin number ATT could be asking for? I gave them them the 4 digit SSN and it didnt work.

  19. Nancy L. Dias says:

    I am currently an ATT Gophone customer and am getting ready to switch over to T-Mobile prepaid plan, I would like to Port over my existing cellphone number, I have read the comments in this post about porting from att over to virgin mobile. Would I follow the same instructions that “Pony | April 24, 2011 at 3:03 am” posted to accomplish this… is beginning to sound extremely difficult, and you would think it would be so simple……if you would let me know of anything I should be aware of I would greatly appreciate a reply.

    Thank you very much~

    • T. Wolf says:

      Nance, I dunno personally if you can port GoPhones tel#’s, but read that some say yes and some say no. What I do know is that while porting any phone (be it landline or cell) they do need for the number your trying to port to still be on an active account with you. Good luck on porting!

    • Nance says:

      Thank you T. Wolf for your response, much appreciated. I called T-Mobile today, and they let me know that I would be able to port my ATT Go Phone Number over to T-Mobile…spoke with a very nice Cust. Ser. Rep. who actually was an American and spoke perfect English……I also called ATT Go Phone Cust. Service and again they were quite helpful, again I spoke with a very nice ATT Rep. again who spoke perfect English who gave me my Acct. Number, which doesn’t appear on my GoPhone Acct. page…… far, very pleased with both T-Mobile and ATT customer service, I have read on line about horror stories with cell phone customer service…, I had no problems and never waited more than a few minutes to speak to both cellphone services….I guess I was “Lucky” today….

      Thank you again for you help…

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