How to switch to AT&T: Everything you need to know to make the jump


Sep 28, 2020 — 5 min read

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Before you make the switch to AT&T, let’s do some prep work so you get the best deal. AT&T has some great discounts and plans for new customers. Before you cancel your current carrier plan, let’s make sure your phone is compatible with AT&T if you’re bringing your own phone. Then we’ll go over the best deals AT&T has right now, how to transfer your number and which plan is best for you.   

Bring your own phone

As with most wireless carriers, you can bring your own phone (BYOP) if you switch to AT&T. Before you do, you must first make sure your phone is compatible with AT&T. If you have a relatively new phone, especially a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone, you should be all set since these phones are compatible with most of the major networks. However, you must make sure first, especially if you have an older phone or different brand than mentioned, so you don’t switch and then find out you need to buy a new phone. 

If you’re switching from T-Mobile or you bought your phone from a third party (not a carrier) you should be fine. If you’re switching from Verizon or Sprint, your phone will likely not work with AT&T. 

How to unlock your phone

  • T-Mobile: Check your T-Mobile account to see if your device is locked or unlocked. If it’s locked, you’ll need to call T-Mobile customer service at 877.746.0909.
  • Sprint: Unlock your Sprint device by calling customer care at 888.211.4727. If you’re a Sprint Forward customer you’ll need to call 855.639.4644.
  • Verizon: With Verizon, your device will automatically become unlocked 60 days after the purchase date, as long as it’s not flagged as fraudulent, stolen or lost.

Confirm your phone is unlocked and compatible with AT&T before you cancel your plan and start the switch.

Check your coverage

AT&T has one of the best network coverages in the country, only second to Verizon. However, you should be 100% sure you’re going to get the best coverage where you live and work, so enter your ZIP code on the AT&T network coverage map to make sure you’ll get the coverage you need. 

Determine the costs

How much will it cost you to switch to AT&T? AT&T has some great deals for customers switching to it, but first, let’s check all of your costs. You’ll need to check your contract with your current carrier to see if you will be expected to pay any early cancellation fees and if you owe any money on your phone (if you have an installment plan).

Don’t worry about paying the costs. Just write them down for now so you can have it as a reference. By switching to AT&T, you can get up to a certain amount to pay off your phone and any cancellation fees. Make sure you have your latest statement from your current carrier so you can send a copy to AT&T, as it will need to verify your costs. 

AT&T deals for new customers

Get $250 when you bring your own device

You can get up to $250 on an AT&T Visa Rewards card when you switch to AT&T and bring your own phone. Your phone must be unlocked and compatible with AT&T. You must be opening a new account or adding a line to an existing account and porting (transferring) your existing number to AT&T. This deal is online only.

25% off plans for military, first responders

There are discounted plans for military and first responders. You can get 25% off AT&T’s Unlimited & More wireless plan. 

15% off for union members

Union members can save 15% on Mobile Share Plus monthly fees. 

10% AARP discount

AARP members can save 10% on the monthly price and 15% on certain accessories with AT&T. 

Make sure you ask your AT&T representative if you qualify for any discounts. AT&T also offers discounts to teachers, nurses and physicians. Ask if your employer, organization or school qualifies you for any discounts as well. 

Transfer your number to AT&T

First, make sure your number is eligible for transfer. The web page will let you know if your number is eligible to transfer to AT&T. 

You will need the following information to give to an AT&T representative to initiate the transfer:

  • IMEI number
  • Name on the account
  • Account number
  • The billing address on your current statement
  • Account password or PIN

Once you have that, call AT&T at 844.650.4874. They are available 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday.

Which AT&T plan should you switch to?

The Mobile Share Plus plans come with 4G LTE data, unlimited talk and text, SD streaming, mobile hotspot, rollover data (expires after one bill cycle), unlimited text from the U.S. to over 120 countries and talk/text/data to Mexico. 

The unlimited plans from AT&T include unlimited talk, text and data in all of North America, 5G access and unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 120 countries. The AT&T Unlimited Starter plan comes with SD streaming and standard mobile security. The AT&T Unlimited Extra and Elite plans come with advanced mobile security. The Unlimited Extra plan comes with a 15GB hotspot per line, and the Unlimited Elite plan comes with a 30GB hotspot per line. Some extras you’ll get with the Unlimited Elite plan include HD streaming and HBO Max.

Should you switch to AT&T?

That depends on your individual situation. AT&T is a bit more expensive than its competitors, but the network coverage they offer is exceptional, and second only to Verizon. It also offers a good variety of discounts, so you might qualify for one of them. There are also some great features with some of AT&T’s plans, such as HD streaming, hotspot access, 5G access, free HBO and unlimited talk, text and data to Canada and Mexico. If all of this sounds good to you, and you have the budget for an AT&T plan that has the features you want, you should consider AT&T.

By Nicole LaMarco