No matter what kind of Android phone you may use, there may come a point when you want to change your number. It's something that could be warranted for any reason — from a desire to mix things up to a need to avoid unwanted contact — but it's doable no matter what the circumstance.
That being said, changing your contact number isn't as simple a process as something like changing your display name on social media. This is your personal (or professional, or both) phone number we're talking about here, after all. As irritating as the task may be, it's better to not be able to accidentally or whimsically change it and have regrets later, or give someone else the chance to change it without your knowledge or consent.
Another thing to keep in mind is that changing your number can have unintended effects, depending on the carrier you use. In some cases this could result in a loss of any saved voicemails, and many can't guarantee getting your previous number back if you change your mind. But if you're certain you want a new contact number for your Android phone, you have a few options.
Permanently changing your number
The most direct way to permanently change your Android phone number is to do so directly through your cell carrier. You'll need to contact them — either by calling customer service, using the official website, or visiting an official store — in order to get the ball rolling.
Not all carriers approach number changes the same way, so you should do some digging into the fine print before you make a move. For example, changing your number with AT&T is free if it's within 30 days of initial activation but will come with a $36 fee if it's been active longer. Verizon, on the other hand, won't charge you for a number change if you use the My Verizon app or go through the website, but will charge you $15 if you use customer service. Sprint won't charge you for a number change, but you can't switch more than three times in a 30 day period. And T-Mobile offers a free number change once per year if you use its ScamShield service, but will charge $15 without it.
Whether or not you get to choose your new number will also depend on the carrier. Some won't give you the option, others might allow you to decide the first three digits but not the last four, and so on. Similarly varied are the wait times between changes. Depending on the service it could take a few hours to kick in, or immediately (once you reset your phone).
Swapping numbers at will
You don't necessarily have to ask your carrier for a number change if you don't want to actually exchange what you have for something else. If for some reason you'd rather keep the old number but switch to another one (temporarily or otherwise), you can also go the SIM card route. Provided your Android phone is unlocked. To check:
- Open the Settings app and select Connections.
- Select Mobile networks, then choose either Network operators or Network providers (whichever option you see).
- Turn off auto-selection and scan for networks manually. If you see more than one available network, your phone is probably (but not definitely) unlocked.
An unlocked phone means you should be able to purchase a new SIM card from another provider, then swap the new card with your current one to change. The cost for a new SIM can vary quite a bit based on the carrier and plan associated with the card (different monthly data caps, etc.), and are often part of a no-contract monthly plan — meaning you'll need to keep paying per month to continue using them.
So in addition to the cost of maintaining your regular number, you'll also need to budget for the added cost of a new SIM card and its optional monthly payments if you want to keep using it. Though again, the cost will vary from approximately $10 to $50 or more, depending on the SIM card and plan.
Google Voice alternatives
One other workaround is going through a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service like Google Voice. You can think of Google Voice as a sort of proxy phone number you can set up for yourself that can be used to make calls or send texts without having to sign up with a particular carrier.
The catch with Google Voice is that you'll need to use the official app (or website if you're going through a computer) to make and take calls with the alternative number. Using the service also requires connecting the number with a Google Account, and only one number can be linked per account. Also, while calls between the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada are free, calling any other country will cost you anywhere from $0.01 to $9.50 per-minute.
Much like switching out SIM cards, using Google Voice won't technically replace your current Android number. Instead, you'll have an alternate number that exists alongside that one, which can be used when registering for various services to avoid spam, handed out as an official business line, or however else you want to utilize it.