Porting Notes for AT&T Business


For my second (and probably last) porting notes post, I have a bit of a big one for you.  I just (last night, actually) ported my number away from AT&T Business.  This post is a guide for anyone else who wants to do the same.

Besides the standard stuff you should already know (like your phone number), the Ting porting web page for a business number will need some information you might not already have:

  • The account number can be found on the latest AT&T bill.  In my company's case, it was a nine-digit number.  On Ting's page, make sure you enter digits only (no hyphens, spaces, or other symbols).
  • The account password/PIN for AT&T is actually a PIN.  Although the person who handles your company's AT&T account probably does have a password to log in to AT&T's web site, the PIN is something separate, and is more likely to be used for identification over the phone.  It's the PIN that you want to use.  If nobody in your company knows what the PIN is, then they will have to ask their AT&T rep.  The PIN can (and probably will) be longer than 4 digits.
  • The business name and address also comes from the bill.  It's entirely possible that your billing address has multiple lines (with things like "South Tower" or "Mail Stop XYZ", or other stuff).  Just use the street address portion (number and street name) and be on the lookout for any messages from Ting if that doesn't work.  If you work at a company with multiple offices, use the address of the office where the bill is sent to.  If your bill is going to a PO Box, then I don't know what you should do.  My suggestion is, try the office's real address.  If it doesn't work, Ting should let you know.
  • The tax ID number is your company's Employer Identification Number (the EIN)1.  Virtually every company has one of these numbers, because that's how they identify themselves to the IRS (you use a Social Security Number, your business uses an Employer Identification Number).  The EIN is nine digits, with one hyphen (like this: 01-2345678).  When you enter this number into the Tax ID field, do not enter the hyphen.  It's highly likely that the person who handles your company's AT&T account will not know the company's EIN.  Instead, the best place to look for this is on your most recent W-2 form (the one you get at the start of each year, to file your taxes).  The EIN is always on the W-2 form, typically right next to your employer's address.  It might also be on your paycheck, but that's not guaranteed.  You can also talk to your company's Payroll or HR group.

With all that, here is the process to follow to get the number port going.

  1. Talk to your manager. This should go without saying, but I'm saying it anyway!  Get your manager's OK before you continue.
  2. Talk to IT, and let them know the number is porting.  This is very important!  It's likely that IT will have records to update.  For example, if your business uses a Mobile Device Management tool (like Mobile Iron), they'll need to update their system to no longer reference your soon-to-be-personal mobile number.  If you're being allowed to keep the phone, IT should also have guidelines about getting company information off of the phone.
  3. Make friends with the person at your company who handles all of the AT&T stuff.  In order to do the port, Ting needs some confidential information about your business's AT&T account.  Your company's mobile phone person needs to trust you, and know what you are trying to do.
  4. Tell AT&T to release the number.  This action needs to be performed by your company's AT&T contact.  Also, to be clear*,*releasing does not mean cancelling!  Another term for this action is "notating the account", "notating the number", "releasing responsibility", or "releasing billing responsibility".  Basically, AT&T needs to be told that it is OK for this number to be ported out of the business account.  AT&T needs to keep the number active for now, until Ting comes along with the port request.
  5. Gather all of the information needed to port the number.  Basically, get all of the stuff I talked about above, like the tax ID number and the PIN.

At this point, you are good to start the porting process!  My second-to-last strong suggestion is:  Start all of this work a week early!  Especially if you are doing something like leaving the company, you're already going to have a ton of stuff to do, so it's best to take care of this part early, if at all possible.

My last strong suggestion is:  Be open about what you're doing!  Talk to your manager (to get his OK), talk to IT (to get their help), and talk to your company's mobile phone account person (to get their trust).  It's times like this when karma will come back to bite you:  If you've been genuinely nice to people, they will be more willing to extend their trust, and their support.  If you've been an ass, or fake-nice, etc., then it's very easy for them to say "No, Ting needs sensitive information about our AT&T account, so we're not going to help", and that is a valid reason!

When I did my port, the actual port (from the time I submitted the port to Ting, to the time that my number started working on my phone) took about 5 hours.  When I submitted the port to Ting, I was originally told that it would take up to 7 days, as if it was a landline number.  I don't know if that's normal or not.  I also never got an email saying that the port was completed, so keep an eye on your account's dashboard!

One last note:  I ported my number to a BYOD iPhone 4S, which was already active with a Ting number[2].  When the port completed, my iPhone was still not showing the correct number.  The solution was to do a "data profile update"3 by dialling ##873283#.  A message "Starting Service Update" appears, followed ~30 seconds later by a "Service Update Complete" message.  The phone dropped off the mobile network, re-connected, and my correct phone number was displayed.

That's it!  Although it's a long process to port your number out of AT&T business, it's definitely worth it.  Good luck!

~ Karl


[2]: Look at the most recent couple of posts on this thread: https://help.ting.com/entries/28014067-ESN-Checker




1 comment
  • Here's a followup to some of the notes I had at the end of my post.  I did end up getting an email from Ting saying that the number port was done.  The email came in about 12 hours after the number appeared on my phone, and it did include a link to a Ting help page with instructions on how to do the "carrier reset" (basically, the ##873283# number that I had to dial on my iPhone).


    I think that's it!  I'm not totally up and running on the iPhone, with my previously-AT&T-business number.  I hope your own port goes just as smoothly.  Good luck!

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