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Lesson learned about changing phone numbers

Some time ago we moved across the county settling in a midwestern state and in a major city with 4G service.  I kept my old cell phone number with its distant area code even though I upgraded to an HTC Thunderbolt.  After a rough start last summer, the 4G service here has settled down to be more reliable. 

I finally decided this past week that I was tired of explaining to take out pizza places that my phone calls were not hoaxes, and that despite the distant area code, I really was within a 15 min drive to pay for and pick up the food. There were more serious reasons, but it was one more of these conversations that tipped me over into wanting to change the phone number to the local area code and exchange.

Verizon's CSR assured me this could be done simply by reprogramming the phone over the air.  Wrong!   Do not do this

If it is a 4G phone, and you want to change the phone number because you moved to a state with new area code, go to a full service Verizon retail store. They will change the phone number and, most importantly, install a new SIM card for the service area.

Otherwise,. what happens is your phone "bricks" itself and becomes totally useless.  It took three people at the Verizon store over an hour to coax the phone into recognizing the new SIM card and rebooting property.  Luckily, I have some very tenacious people at a Verizon store to thank for getting me back on the air.  On the other hand, maybe the thought of having to explain why they decided break a new unit out of the box was the real motivation.  I don't really care, except my contribution to the morning was to remark that I was not leaving the store without a working phone.

As for the CSR who reprogrammed the phone with *228, she said that she forgot about the procedure for changing SIM cards in 4G phones.  It's an honest mistake, but one that cost me several hours out of my morning with no useful phone.  I'm an independent IT contractor and live on the phone.  Plus, it was a 22 mile round trip to the store. 

BTW: Verizon advertises that they do not charge for changing your phone number when you move.  They kept that promise.  My guess is the time these three spent getting my phone running easily ran up enough labor hours to impact productivity if not the bottom line.  It was probably still cheaper than a new phone at no cost to the customer only nine months into a two year contract.

Lesson learned ... if the phone has a replaceable SIM card, don't try to change the phone number over the air.