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AT&T forcing phone number change on some subscribers

(Image: AT&T/Graphic: The Desk)

AT&T has started notifying a small handful of its customers that they will need to get a new phone number after the telecom sold off certain assets in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The issue affects customers who signed up for AT&T’s service in either of those two territories, then kept their number when they moved to the mainland United States.

Two years ago, AT&T sold its assets in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to Liberty Latin America, a move that affected more than one million customers at that time.

Customers who remained in Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands were switched from AT&T to Liberty, while those who moved to the mainland before the sale were allowed to keep their localized phone numbers.

Starting this month, though, customers who moved to the mainland will have to choose another phone number if they want to stay with AT&T.

In a notice sent to customers and obtained by The Desk, AT&T said its sale of assets to Liberty meant that “we will no longer be able to support your wireless number.”

As a courtesy, AT&T said it would offer affected customers a $100 Visa Rewards card and would waive any fees that are typically associated with phone number changes.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).