So you're thinking about switching to AT&T.
Maybe you're not happy with your wireless provider and you're just shopping around. Or maybe you have already made the decision and just want the lowdown on how to switch to AT&T. While changing wireless carriers can seem daunting, rising competition between wireless providers makes it an attractive option.
Between new s3210ervice offerings, like unlimited talk, text, and data plans, installment plans for buying a new device, and most carriers giving you money to pay off your early termination fees, you might just find an AT&T switch promotion that makes it worth it to you.
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Regardless of your reason for wanting to change cell phone companies, you'll need to know details like what's involved in the process and whether you'll need to buy a new device.
You're in the right place. I'm going to give you an overview of the benefits of switching to AT&T, whether you'll need a new phone, plus answer some frequently asked questions about making the move.
In This Guide
Promotion to Switch to AT&T
Virtually all of the major wireless carriers offer some type of incentive to get you to switch over, and AT&T is no exception, featuring LTE network coverage that falls second to Verizon. Deals for switching to any of AT&T's cell phone plans change on a regular basis, so be sure to check the website when you're ready to make the change so you can take advantage of all current promotions.
AT&T's offering at the time of this writing helps with the costs associated with changing carriers. The company will reimburse you up to $650 per line that you port over to AT&T service. This money can be used to cover either your remaining device installment payments or your contract early termination fee.
Be aware: it's very important to read the fine print to avoid any hassles or confusion while going through the process of the AT&T switch promotion. There are specific terms which must be followed in order to qualify for the reimbursement money:
- You must be switching to AT&T from Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile.
- You must trade in your current smartphone, and it must have a minimum trade value of $10.
- You must purchase a new device on the AT&T Next plan. This is a lease program that allows you to make installment plan payments over 30 months and gives you the option to upgrade after a certain amount is paid off.
- You must turn the final bill from your old carrier into AT&T within 60 days, and your old carrier must confirm that it's been paid. The bill must be connected to the smartphone you're trading in.
If you don't owe anything on your old phone or you're not under contract, you won't be eligible for this offer. Payment is made in the form of a prepaid Visa debit card and will be equal to the amount you owed on your final bill or $650 (minus your trade-in credit), whichever is less.
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Switching from Verizon to AT&T
Making the switch to AT&T from Verizon is fairly straightforward.
How to Switch from Verizon to AT&T
- Choose between buying an AT&T phone and BYOD. Verizon's cell phone plans are designed for the CDMA network, while AT&T utilizes the GSM network (If you're unsure of what each network type is, we have a guide that covers the differences between the two). That doesn't necessarily mean you can't bring your own device - if you have a 4G LTE capable phone you may be able to use it on your new plan. Older Verizon phones aren't typically compatible with AT&T.
- Choose a device and data plan. Evaluate your options for wireless service and choose from the best cell phone plans that meet your needs. If you're buying a new phone, you'll need to make this selection as well.
- Have your phone number ported. If you're keeping your old number, AT&T will request a transfer from your old carrier. Regardless of whether you purchase your new phone online or in an AT&T store, you will continue to have use of your old phone until the transfer is complete.
One advantage of bringing your own device when you make the switch from Verizon to AT&T is that Verizon phones are unlocked. This means that you won't have to request an unlock code to use your phone on another carrier.
Pro Tip: Want to transfer a landline number to your cell phone? No problem. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) requires wireless service providers to offer landline number porting.
Read More: AT&T vs Verizon
Switching from Sprint to AT&T
If you want to switch to AT&T from Sprint there are a couple of things you should know, particularly if you want to bring your own device. As I outlined above, there are two technologies used for cellular phone service - CDMA and GSM. It used to be that there was no way to bring your own phone from one network to the other, however, some newer phones are designed to function on both the CDMA and GSM networks. These include:
- Some LTE devices
- "Global" phones, which are CDMA phones designed so that you can use them in other countries
- Some newer iPhone models
You will need to consult with AT&T to find out if your specific phone can be used on their network. You will also need to ask Sprint for an unlock code your phone for use on another carrier. Don't know how to unlock your phone? We can show you how to unlock iPhones as well as Android devices.
Read More: AT&T vs Sprint
Switching from T-Mobile to AT&T
T-Mobile phones operate on GSM just like AT&T phones, making the switch pretty easy. And because T-Mobile has excellent bring your own phone policies, you won't suffer any service complications when you switch.
How to Switch from T-Mobile to AT&T
The steps for switching to AT&T from T-Mobile are essentially the same as switching from any other carrier:
- If you're going to buy a new phone from AT&T you'll need to pay off your remaining T-Mobile balance before you can take advantage of any deals for switching to AT&T. This includes any remaining device payments and all months of service left in your contract.
- If you're bringing your own phone, you need to submit a request for T-Mobile to unlock your device for use on another carrier. This wireless provider now allows you to unlock phones through the T-Mobile Device Unlock app. The app is only available for Android - you won't find it in the App Store - so you should contact customer service if you need to unlock iPhones.
Even though most phones will work on both carriers, it's best to check with your new carrier to verify that you can keep your device. You will then want to compare cell phone plans available from AT&T to figure out which one best matches your needs and budget.
Related: AT&T vs T-Mobile
Questions to Ask Before Switching to AT&T
Changing carriers doesn't have to be intimidating. Here are answers to some common questions you may have about switching to AT&T.
How Do You Activate an AT&T SIM Card?
If you order a new phone from AT&T your SIM card - which you can learn more about here - should arrive already activated. If you're bringing your own phone, you can order an AT&T SIM card from the website, or you can buy one in an AT&T store. You'll then need to call customer service to have them activate your new card.
Can You Take Your Existing Phone to AT&T?
If your current phone is from T-Mobile, then you should have no problem bringing it over. If it's from Verizon or Sprint, you may be able to, but you'll want to check with AT&T to be sure. Verizon iPhones are the most likely models to be eligible for this process. Whether you're bringing a Verizon iPhone or that of another carrier, be sure to use iCloud backup to save your data before the switch, just in case (iCloud backup is activated from within your settings).
Will AT&T Buy Out My Contract?
At the time this guide is being written, AT&T does have a contract buyout offer of up to $650. Eligible costs include remaining contract months and device payments. You are responsible for paying these costs upfront and will be reimbursed in the form of a prepaid Visa card. It will take about 4-6 weeks to receive your card once you meet all of the criteria I detailed at the beginning of this guide.
Can I Transfer My Phone Number to AT&T?
Yes. You submit a request on the AT&T website, and the carrier takes care of the rest. While you are waiting for the transfer to be approved, you will still be able to use your old phone. Once the number is ported to your new AT&T device, your old carrier will automatically cancel your account.
Does AT&T Have Coverage in My Area?
It's highly likely that you can get AT&T phone service unless you live in an extremely remote area. You can check for coverage on our website.
How Do You Port a Phone Number?
When you're switching to AT&T and bringing your own phone number, the company takes care of porting your number. Just be careful not to cancel your old service until the port is complete or else your number will become unavailable for use.
Even though AT&T wireless isn't the cheapest cell phone service out there, it does offer one of the most reliable LTE networks available. With its new unlimited talk, text, and data plan, and a wide selection of flagship phones like the newest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, this provider may be the best choice for you.
It gets better: if you have other services, like U-Verse TV or U-Verse wireless home phone, you may be able to have all of your services bundled into one bill. You simply sign into the AT&T website with your email address, and you'll be able to view all of your account information. You can even see your data usage or upgrade to that shiny new Samsung Galaxy you've been eyeing. Even if you're not a U-Verse TV subscriber, this provider makes it simple to track your account activity.
There you have it: now you know how to switch to AT&T. If you've decided against this provider, don't worry - we've got you covered. We also guide you through the switch to T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, or even prepaid providers like Consumer Cellular and Straight Talk. You may find your biggest problem is choosing among all the great options!