My thinking is that I sign up for Visible, then buy a Verizon-compatible iphone, then port my old number. Or if I need to buy the new phone first for this to work, I can do that too.
Will either order work (buy service or phone first) for porting number? And will I be able to port my number, without the cellular modem working on my old phone? (I do have alternate access to my AT&T online account of course.)
I wouldn't recommend craiglist or eBay because sellers could sell you a device that is either locked and/or reported lost or stolen. These blacklisted devices will not work on the Verizon network. Swappa is a nice marketplace where devices are verified that they are not blacklisted.
You would need to contact AT&T to request for your account number, porting PIN, and ZIP code associated with the account.
Thanks for the reply.
To answer my question, yes I activated my phone, no it didn't need to connect to the AT&T cellular network, and yes it would have worked in either order.
As for used phones, I've been doing this for about 12 years. I buy only used phones, it makes zero sense to buy a new phone, just as it usually makes no sense to buy a new car (except lately with used prices being so unusually high). Eg buying a one-year-old low-mileage car, you've saved the steepest part of the depreciation curve, and you have basically the same car.
Same with phones. Same with computers, I buy all CPUs and GPUs used from ebay, and get twice the compute power for half the price, on average.
As long as you buy from a highly-ranked seller with a large number of sales and a long history, your risk is lower than buying used from a big-box store, because 1) they have a numeric reputation to protect and will refund you promptly if dissatisfied, and 2) ebay has very strong protections that big-box stores don't (it's more up to the flip of a coin by the sales person or manager).
So, again - been doing this for 12 years. Buying from ebay is solid.
Craigslist - it is trivially easy to check if 1) the phone is carrier locked, and 2) the EMEI number is reported stolen and/or otherwise blacklisted. This should always be done before agreeing to purchase. When I buy from Craigslist, unless it's some trivial commodity, I tell them this requirement upfront (or if not a phone then other such verifications), and I insist on talking of the phone first. When meeting in person - always somewhere that I can see their license plate when they arrive - if it's something that could be stolen, I ask them point-blank if it is stolen, and gauge their reaction.
IOW, it's trivially easy to avoid buying a stolen or inoperable used phone in perfect, brand-spanking-new condition.