Making Portability Work For You
By Carlo Longino, Mon Nov 24 15:00:00 GMT 2003

The power in the US wireless business has clearly shifted to the consumer. Here are some resources to help you negotiate the switch and get the best deal.


Here are plenty of how-to articles on the Web detailing the process of switching your number of service from one carrier to another, the steps to take, and questions to consider:
- Alan Reiter gives a good rundown of the process with some tips, and also assesses the impact of WLNP on camera phones and their users.
- NumberPortability.com, as you expect, has plenty of info and forums about switching.
- Business writer Om Malik gives his advice to consumers on making the switch.
- CNet and The Wall Street Journal get in on the fun too.
- Consumer Union's gone a bit militant with their Escape Cell Hell site, though it seems to be stuck in "server not found" hell at press time.

For information on other people's experiences with other carriers, HowardForums are an excellent resource, and PhoneScoop and Mobile Burn can help you decide on a new handset.

Lastly, if you do switch, take care with the disposal of your old handset. Mobile phones are full of lead and other harmful chemicals and substances, and there are plenty of places to recycle them. Most carriers will recycle phones, and many women's shelters accept them as well to distribute to victims of domestic violence so they can be used to call 911. Here are links to carriers' pages about their recycling programs:
- AT&T Wireless refurbishes and donates usable phones, others are recycled.
- Cingular sells its used handsets to a third party and donates proceeds to the Special Olympics.
- Nextel recycles, and gives the proceeds to the American Red Cross.
- Sprint PCS' recycling proceeds go to Easter Seals and the National Organization on Disability.
- Verizon's recycling program supports victims of domestic violence.