Porting notes for Cincinnati Bell / i-wireless


This isn't Joyce, this is her son, Karl.  I just moved her from a Cincinnati Bell / i-wireless prepaid phone over to ting, and I wanted to leave this note in case anyone else is planning on doing the same move in the future.


(FYI, yes, Cincinnati Bell sometimes refers to their prepaid wireless phone service as "i-wireless".  The web site is http://www.iontheweb.com/, and it is not related to the iWireless T-Mobile MVNO.)


First, as ting's porting FAQ page notes, your phone number is not your account number!  Especially if you are using a prepaid phone (which means you don't get a monthly bill), it's highly likely that you've never seen your account number, but it does exist.

Next, contrary to what you might be told, you can—and need to—set a PIN on your account!  To be clear, I am not talking about the PIN that appears on the back of the cards you can buy to load more money onto your phone.  This PIN is not used when you call customer service, and it is not used to log in to the i-wireless web site.  This PIN will just be used for the porting process.  It's highly likely that i-wireless customer service will tell you that you don't need or have a PIN, and that is normally correct, but porting your number is not a normal activity!

Finally, and this part is pretty annoying, you need to set a PIN the day before you start the porting process.  This was according to one i-wireless rep, saying that it takes up to 24 hours for the PIN change to take effect.


With all that, here is the process to follow to get the information you'll need.  Remember, do this the day before you start the porting process:

  1. Gather the information you need to authenticate yourself to i-wireless customer support.  You'll need the name attached to the phone, the 10-digit phone number, and the date of birth of the person's phone.  Also, make sure that you have your existing mobile phone on hand.
  2. Call Cincinnati Bell wireless services support at (513) 565-3911.  When asked for the phone number that you are calling about, provide the 10-digit phone number, and follow the prompts "for more options" or "to speak to a customer service agent".  If I remember correctly, it was menu option 4 followed by menu option 6.  You will be prompted to the date of birth before you are transferred to customer service.  For reference, I found this phone number by going to http://www.cincinnatibell.com/customer_support/contact_us/by_phone/ and looking in the Repair Section, under Business, and then Wireless Services.
  3. When you are connected to customer service, be honest, and then make your request.  Say that you are planning on porting this phone number, and that you need the account number.  The account number for me was five zeroes followed by a nine-digit number.  If you get a similar account number, then you can forget about the five zeroes at the beginning; ting just needs the nine digits.
  4. Once you have the account number, ask to set a PIN.  If you are told that a PIN is not needed for porting, then say that you would like to set a PIN anyway.  If you are asked "what do you mean by PIN", tell them that you "would like a callback on my mobile phone, so that I can set a PIN, which is 4 to 10 numbers long, that will be used when porting my number".  The customer service agent should tell you to expect a callback on the mobile phone.  Acknowledge the instructions, and then end the call.
  5. Shortly after ending the call (within a minute or two), a call will come in to your existing mobile phone.  Answer it, and follow the instructions.
  6. Wait 24 hours, and then go to the ting site to begin the porting process.

At this point, you should now have the phone number, account number, and PIN.  If you are unsure about the exact name and address to enter for porting, you should check both the iontheweb.com site, as well as the my.cincinnatibell.com site.  Both sites use the same login details (mobile number and password), but once of those two sites will show you the exact name and address on the account.

One note about the callback described in step 4:  Although it is annoying, the callback serves a useful security purpose.   I was setting up my mom's new phone with her permission, but the only real information needed to talk to customer service was the name, mobile number, and date of birth.  Having the automated system call out to the mobile device is a critical security step that can not, and should not, be bypassed.  Of course, it can be annoying (especially if you're trying to set things up early), but it's a worthwhile tradeoff.


Anyway, that's it!  Many thanks to Yassmen for helping out on the porting troubles over the last few days (in ticket #232403).  Remember, this was a personal (not business) pre-paid Cincinnati Bell mobile phone number that was ported, so your experiences may vary if you have a plan-based mobile phone, or a phone on a business account.  Good luck!



  • Thanks for the helpful tips Karl!

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  • I just went through the pain of porting in from Cincinnati Bell Wireless (not the i-wireless unit).  Some information which might make it easier.

    • The account number you need for the port is your wireless account number, which is not necessarily the account number which will be on the bill.  (I have a bundle of services, so that bundle account number appears on my bill.)  The wireless account number appears at the bottom of those obnoxious daily "the end is near" text message they've been sending or your can get it by texting the word account to 4545 from your phone.
    • I was told this weekend at a CB store that I did not need a PIN set to port.  As stated above, you have to have a PIN set.  The good news is that when I called CB support, the tech set it for me and confirmed it to be in force while I was on the phone with her.   No 24 hour wait.   I subsequently called in and had to enter the PIN to get through to support, so I knew it was in effect.

    Cincinnati Bell Wireless ceases operation after February 28, 2015.   If you don't port your number out, it will be released when CBW shuts down.   So if you want to keep your number, you need to port it out to Ting (or some other carrier) before March 1, 2015.   CBW is a GSM network and Ting is currently a CDMA (Sprint) network, so a GSM-only CBW phone will not work.   (Some recent model unlocked phones can do both CDMA and GSM.)   Ting is currently Beta testing GSM, but I don't think it will be generally available before CBW ends, so you'll have to get a Sprint compatible device or go to another GSM carrier, like T-Mobile, with your phone until Ting has GSM service.    See:  https://ting.com/blog/ting-on-a-gsm-network-breaking-radio-silence/




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  • Unfortunately this information is completely WORTHLESS to me because once I did all of this and ported my number to Ting I found out that my phone cannot be unlocked. Now I have no phone.


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  • Yes, when we went to a CB store to get our phones unlocked, they said that they could only unlock newer phones, like in the last two years.   Thus two of our old Nokias are looking to be e-scrap.   The guy at the store said that there might be cell phone repair shops that could unlock older phones.   You might check out Cell Phone Repair.   They have stores in Centerville and West Chester.   I don't know if they offer this service, but you might look around.

    I "solved" the problem with an iPhone 6 and as I was typing I got my wife's # ported to a nice Nokia Mural a friend gave us.   Took less than half an hour.  (Goes soooo much better when on knows what he's doing!!!)


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  • Cincinnati Bell Wireless ceased operation on March 2nd.  They say that users have until March 12th to port out their numbers or they will be lost.

    Jonathan, I notice websites offering unlock codes for various brands of phones.  I have no idea about how good they are, but it might be worth checking out.

    I got the number for a Cincinnati Bell Halo flip phone ported to Ting, but when I try to bring the phone up with the Ting SIM in it, it stops, prompting me to "enter network key".   The unlock code given by CBW will not work here because I can't enter the # character and * is difficult!  I can put the unlock sequence in with the CBW SIM in place, but there are no Shazam! messages when I do so.  Nothing happens.   I spent 40 minutes trying to reach someone at CB who still speaks wireless.  I kept getting into phone trees which only offered press 1 for landline and 2 for long distance.  Landline person transfers me to wireless support# whereupon I wind up back in the phone tree which only offers landline/long distance!   Try again, only to find that I lost so much time that the wireless folk have gone home for the day.  I have a new number to try tomorrow...

    Things aren't going great with the Nokia Mural because it gets marginal coverage at our home.   I wonder if it is because being originally an AT&T phone, it might lack some bands TMO has?  I've had no connectivity problems with my iPhone6.

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  • Cincinnati Bell is now dead and gone for 3+ years.  I think it can be removed from the Carrier Porting Info page?

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  • Hey Rich, 

    Cincinnati Bell Wireless ceased operation, but CB still offers landline service that can still be ported to Ting.

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