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Some AT&T customers are losing their phone numbers in exchange for a $100 gift card

Some AT&T customers are losing their phone numbers in exchange for a $100 gift card

Imagine owning your mobile phone number for a few years and then having that number taken away. AndroidPolice says that is the issue that AT&T subscribers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are facing. The problem started in 2019 when the nation’s third largest carrier sold its mobile phone business in those two markets to Liberty.

Some AT&T customers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are losing their mobile phone numbers

However, a small number of users with Virgin Island and Puerto Rican area codes who mostly used their phones on the U.S. mainland were able to continue on their merry way as customers of AT&T. But those days are coming to an end as the wireless provider is now telling those subscribers that while they can remain AT&T subscribers, they must change their phone numbers. AT&T will give those that comply, a $100 Visa Reward card.

AT&T apparently is no longer able to provide customers with phone numbers in the two markets that they sold off to Liberty. Those numbers will be used for AT&T subscribers located in the mainland U.S. instead. The customers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will not only receive the aforementioned $100 gift card, they also will be refunded the number change fee.

In a statement, AT&T told AndroidPolice that “Since the sale of our wireless operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we are only authorized to use those territories’ phone numbers as part of a temporary arrangement. We have started to transition a small number of customers who will need to change their wireless numbers to mainland area codes. We realize this is an inconvenience, so we’re offering these customers a $100 Visa gift card and crediting any number change fees.”

AT&T also revealed that the number of customers involved in the number change is small and that most former AT&T customers in the two markets ended up moving their accounts to Liberty. As we already pointed out, only those who used their phone mostly on the U.S. mainland stayed with AT&T and are being forced to change their numbers. And only those who are forced to make the change are being notified via email.

This email has a heading that says, “Exclusive offer to help you change your number.” The remainder of the message says, “Hi (name of customer). We want to let you know that we will no longer be able to support your wireless number ending in xxxx in the future due to the recent sale of AT&T Wireless in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While this means that you will need to change your current wireless number to a mainland number to stay connected, we’re here to help.”

AT&T does say that affected customers do not need to accept its deal right now

Interestingly, those in the two affected markets who transitioned over to Liberty might have problems transitioning back over to AT&T if the mood hits them. Reddit subscribers in the AT&T subreddit say that phone numbers cannot be easily ported over directly from Liberty to AT&T. In fact, one post in the subreddit mentions that Liberty will not allow any ports to any wireless carriers.

One workaround suggested in a response found in the same subreddit suggested that the numbers need to be ported to a another carrier before being moved over to AT&T. That’s not Liberty playing hardball, it simply needs to be done this way because Liberty and AT&T use the same point of sale (POS) and billing system. As a result, it would appear to the computers involved that you were trying to port a number over to the same company where the number now resides which can’t be done.

AT&T says that affected customers do not need to accept the deal that the carrier is currently offering. However, the carrier notes that these subscribers are going to lose their current phone numbers eventually and at that time, the deal offered by AT&T may be less valuable than the one now being dangled by the wireless provider.


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