Can I port my number from an AT&T Go plan, from an iPhone with broken cellular?

  • Old phone: iPhone 7 - owned, unlocked, but cellular modem has quit working completely. Wifi still works. (I don't care to fix it, as AT&T coverage is bad at our new home, Verizon good, and it's time to upgrade the device anyway.)
  • Old service: AT&T "Go" prepaid (active)
  • New phone: Don't know yet, probably an iPhone 12 or so (used from ebay or craigslist), unlocked, obviously for Verizon network.

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.)




Novice III

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.