A cell phone with a 212 area code?

This article from the Wall Street Journal last week – The Landline That Refused to Leave – reminded me of a question that many friends and colleagues ask me, “how did you get a cell phone with a 212 area code?” About 4 to 5 years ago when I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I took advantage of the FCC policy that enables consumers to take their landline numbers with them when they move and transfer them to a cell phone number. The “Local Number Portability” policy also enables cell phone users to transfer their numbers between cell phone providers so that they can keep the same phone number. So, thanks to the FCC, I have enjoyed one of the most sought after area codes on my cell phone. The article highlights that nearly 16% of the US population lives like me with only a cell phone and no landline. And the trend indicates the percentage will increase. But, the WSJ article indicates, that some individuals and families (luddites perhaps?) opt to keep a landline because of poor or spotty reception and cell phones are not always charged when you need them to be. How many of you have taken advantage of the FCC’s policy? Do most Americans even know that you can move a landline number to a cell phone or even cell phone numbers to another cell phone provider?

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  1. Sadly, I think most people are still very unaware of Local Number Portability. Phone companies don’t advertise it unless you’re shopping for new service. They don’t want existing customers to know they can dump their phone company, but keep their phone number. They also do everything they can to try and make it a lengthy process.

    I just got a 212 number from a landline company in Manhattan, and I’m in the process of porting it to a cell phone. I feel like I’m getting a new car or something. It’s very exciting!

  2. I think it would be great for all of us to get a number and use it anywhere we want, cell, fixed, etc

  3. Hey, guys
    If you want to 212 cell phone number, pls contact with me at becker.goodman@gmail.com

  4. I’ve had a 212 cell phone since 2004. I got it the same way you did. I had to wait three months for the number to be ported, though. They said it takes longer to port land lines and kept offering to assign me another number so I could start using my phone, but I held firm.

  5. I do have an att cell phone with a 212 area code, I live on the UWS in Manhattan nearby Lincoln Center. I have to move abroad and I’m wandering if I could “freeze” my 212 cellphone account (I was told no by att wireless) or if it is possible to sell my number and how much could I get for it.


  6. to JC –

    I’ll buy your 212 ASAP! contact me at bites-the-dust@hotmail.com

  7. I have a 212 cell phone ending with a 7600. I have it at Verizon Wireless. I notice that Verizon Wireless does not issue 212 numbers for cell phone. I think the only way is if you port a landline or tmobile/att issues them once in awhile.

  8. It’s usually free. You also control your number after a new bill was passed back in 2004 by President Bush. As long as you pay your bill you are good to port to a new carrier. This website give a timeline for number ports with all the major carriers and prepaids


  9. Many people have their cell phone with 212 area code phone numbers, as an example they set up a store that actually sells phone numbers (only 212), must be exclusive: http://212areacode.com/

  10. Thanks for the comment! Makes sense to have an exclusive store for that area code.

  11. It seems most New Yorkers tend to associate the traditional (212) area code with Manhattan, the (718) area code with the outer boroughs, and consider the other NYC area codes (917, 347, 646) less desirable to have, at least for business purposes.

    For most of my life, I’ve lived outside the city line (by less than a mile – walking distance actually) and therefore always had a (914) landline, which I didn’t like. My first cell phone account, which I purchased in the Bronx, was a (347) which I still have. I use a service called Toktumi (which I highly recommend) and pay $14.95 a month extra so I can have a (718) number on a landline outside the city limits. I’m considering using a similar service (Toktumi doesn’t offer a 212) to get a (212) number as well, but I’m still unsure, given my budget and all.

    Anyways, to answer, I’ve encountered a (212) cell number on four occasions, the reason for which being all different. In one instance, I knew someone who lived in Manhattan but ported her number to her cell and canceled her landline service. Another business partner of mine paid a large fee to purchase the number from a third-party vendor not associated with telecommunications. An additional acquaintance of mine used a forwarding service to transfer calls from his landline to his cell. Again, all three of these are not examples of a true (212) number being genuinely assigned to a cell phone. I’ve only seen that happen once, with a client of mine who purchased an account with T-Mobile, and was randomly assigned a (212) number without even putting in a request for it. The irony of it all was that she had just emigrated from Senegal to NYC earlier in the year and honestly had no clue that she, by pure luck, found something which hundreds of native New Yorkers can’t.

  12. Thanks for sharing your story and that of the women from Senegal. Sometimes luck just plays a part of it!

  13. Paying $15 a month EXTRA is just pathetic.

    I live in Canada and was visiting USA for a month in 2014. I purchased a prepaid SIM from T-Mobile in Los Angeles and asked for 212 when activating the service. I got the 212.

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