Moving Off AT&T

Old skool phone

I’ve been meaning to move to a different mobile provider for years, but the story about how AT&T supports – and continues to support – a propaganda network that actively spreads disinformation finally broke through my inertia.

For others who want to move off AT&T and port your number, I want to share one hiccup in the process that I experienced. This documentation assumes that:

  • you are out of contract with AT&T;
  • have unlocked your phone;
  • have a SIM card for your new carrier;
  • you are porting your existing number to your new carrier.

The transfer documentation for many services states that you should swap in your new SIM card before starting the transfer. With AT&T, if you have SIM protection enabled (which you should, and might be enabled by default, which is a good thing), you will need to respond to a text message that asks you to confirm the number transfer.

And, if you have swapped out your AT&T SIM card to your new SIM, you’ll never get the message.

So, if you’re moving from AT&T to another carrier, your sequence should look something like this:

  • verify that you are out of contract, and/or are okay with any financial penalties from switching mid-contract
  • verify that you have an unlocked phone;
  • select a new provider;
  • get a SIM from the new provider, and leave this out of the phone;
  • initiate the number transfer;
  • respond to the text from AT&T confirming the transfer;
  • remove the AT&T SIM card and replace it with the SIM from your new carrier.

Then, do a happy dance because you are no longer supporting a phone carrier that supports propaganda and disinformation!

(and yeah, I know, AT&T owns, well, everything. But their mobile service is terrible and expensive, and every journey is made up of small steps.)

Image Credit:
“Phone, Telefon, Fernsprechapparat” by Dr. Mattias Ripp, released under a CC 2.0 Generic license.