So, you've just received and activated your shiny new Republic phone and discovered that it's been assigned a phone number located nowhere near you. You've heard that Republic assigns your new number based on your shipping address. You might be thinking, how did they get it so wrong and what can I do about it? No problem, you've found or been directed to this, Change My Phone Number. You head to the Republic app to change the number as described but, alas, there are no local numbers to be had. Usually, this works brilliantly, however, in some cases, Republic lacks available numbers in your local area. Among the areas Republic is challenged to provide local numbers are Washington state, Oregon, parts of Florida and New Hampshire. If this describes your situation, this article is for you. The workaround presented will explain how to acquire a local number from a carrier or service provider other than Republic, even if you have no current business relationship with them, then transfer that number to Republic at minimal expense.
Two steps are required for this workaround to succeed. Choosing which alternate carrier or service provider to acquire your target number from and making certain that number will, indeed, transfer to Republic.
Let's tackle making certain your target number will transfer to Republic first. Republic, like all service providers, relies on a Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) to host phone numbers. LEC is telephone industry jargon for phone company. Republic uses its parent company, Bandwidth.com as its LEC. Bandwidth needs to have a "presence" in the rate center where the number you wish to acquire and transfer is located. A rate center is a geographic area, usually but not always a city or town. The rate center your target number is located in is determined by the area code and prefix (first six digits) of that phone number. No carrier has presence in every rate center, however, Bandwidth has presence in most rate centers.
You'll need to determine that Bandwidth has the required rate center presence, so that your target number will transfer to Republic. Fortunately, a great publicly available tool, Local Calling Guide, can help with that. Here's how to find a rate center with Bandwidth presence as local to you as possible.
- Start here, Local Calling Guide: Telephone Company Search.
- For Company name enter Bandwidth.
- For NPA enter your desired area code.
- Click Submit.
- You'll be presented with a screen that looks like the following.
- Clicking the link under Prefix information will produce a list of rate centers within the specified area code where Bandwidth has presence. That list may be multiple pages long.
- Locate and click the name for a desired Rate Center local to you.
- Doing so produces a page with information for your selected rate center.
- Generally, the information is unimportant with the exception of the list of exchanges within the specified area code and, perhaps, the local calling area.
- A number located in any of the listed exchanges should transfer to Republic. You might want to print that list of exchanges for later use.
- To test enter a few random numbers from any of the exchanges using Republic's number checker. For example:
Having determined a Rate Center with numbers that will transfer to Republic, the next step is to acquire the target number itself. The best source is one of the big four wireless carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon. If you have an old deactivated phone (it need not be a smartphone), the path of least resistance is to take that phone to the appropriate carrier's store and ask that they activate it on their least expensive pay as you go plan with a number from one of the exchanges previously noted. If you don't have an old phone, purchasing a cheap prepaid phone is an option. AT&T GoPhone's can be had for around $15. Other carriers' prepaid phones are options as well. This method offers the greatest likelihood of having some number choice.
If you're not particular about choosing a number beyond knowing that it will transfer to Republic and prefer a do-it-yourself approach, read on.
The easiest do-it-yourself method is to purchase and activate a T-Mobile SIM. T-Mobile SIMs cost roughly $5, are readily available (BestBuy, Walgreens, Walmart, etc.) and may be activated on T-Mobile's website, no phone required. To do so:
- Point your web browser to T-Mobile.
- Enter the SIM card serial number from your T-Mobile SIM starter kit.
- Enter a "Phone" serial number also known as an IMEI number. Since you're not using an actual phone, go here, Random IMEI Generator. Click Generate IMEI Number then copy and paste the result into the required field on T-Mobile's website.
- Enter the Activation code from your T-Mobile SIM starter kit.
- Click Next.
You'll be asked to create a T-Mobile account. The following information is required:
- Date of Birth
- Email Address
- City (Use the Rate Center city you identified previously.)
- PIN (You'll be asked to create a four-digit PIN.)
- Decline the offer to transfer your current phone number and select your Area Code.
- Click Next.
You'll be asked to select a prepaid plan. Scroll the page until you see the $3 pay as you go option. T-Mobile will ask that you review your selection and fund your account. You can skip funding the account. Your newly acquired number will transfer without doing so. Please note your new phone number.
Now that you have your target number on your temporarily reactivated phone or SIM, all that is left is transferring that number to Republic. Guidance for that is here: Number Transfers.
If you used the T-Mobile method, use your newly acquired number with a 1 prepended as the account number. For PIN, use the PIN you created for your T-Mobile account.
When your transfer is complete the old phone used or the SIM activated will be canceled.