The ins and outs of living in Puerto Rico

Keep Your US Cell Phone Number in Puerto Rico

You may have asked yourself if you can keep your US cell phone number in Puerto Rico, well the answer to that is YES! There’s one caveat though, if you wish to renew your cell phone plan with one of the local offers, with the exception of Sprint, the other companies may ask you to get a local number. What some people have done to keep the number and get the latest deals and offers is to do it while they are visiting their home state, there is also a way to do it online, but shipping may have to be to an address in the state pertaining to the area code’s market.

I have kept my US cell phone number while living in Puerto Rico for 4 years now. I have several reasons for wanting to keep the number. One reason is that I have family members that live in such remote areas of the US that they don’t have cell phone signal, so they call from their home phone and calling to a Puerto Rico area code is considered long distance for them, as opposed to their state area code.

Also, there are services that use your area code to direct the call to the appropriate office, for example the offices of Poison Control. Our 2 year old gave us a bit of a scare when she decided to eat a good deal of minty toothpaste! Following the directions on the back of the toothpaste tube that said to call poison control, we called using our house phone. Well, the person in the other end did not know any English, and there was no one there that knew any English. We then called using our cell phone just in case and voilà! An English speaking person answered! So we asked how were the calls routed and she said that it is based on the caller’s area code. =)

Same thing happens with our online bank. They say they close at a certain time, we had to call them and it was just after their closing time! So we called using our cell phones and because the area code is based on an area that is 2 hours behind, guess what, they were still open! =)

I’m still doubtful about calling 911 with my cell phone though. I have witnessed 2 very bad car accidents and I have called 911 using my cell phone to report the accident and I have yet to have anyone pick up the call. One time the phone rang for about 5 minutes and no one answered, When I called 911 once using my home phone, the call was answered immediately. So I’m not sure why both times I called 911 using my cell phone, the call was not answered.

There are definite benefits and reasons why you should keep your US cell phone number in Puerto Rico. But I highly recommend getting at least a basic home phone service with a local number. Many places and businesses are not able to call “long distance” to your US cell phone number. In our case, I live in a gated neighborhood and the “tele-entry” (dial keypad that calls you to let people in using your phone) calls the house phone because it can only call local numbers. So if you want to use your US cell phone number while living in Puerto Rico, great! I have kept mine, but I highly recommend getting a local phone number for the house, even if it is the most basic plan.

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  1. I have a verizon phone and plan from Minnesota. What coverage and reception
    can I expect in Aguadilla Puerto Rico? I am planning to be in PR for about 1 year.
    Thanks. Mark

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Mark, Minnesota eh? Minneapolis is one of my favorite cities! I simply loved visiting Minnepolis! =)

      As far as coverage and reception with Verizon, quite honestly it should be “OK” but not great and you will likely not get 4G since “Claro” took over Verizon and they are switching over to GSM signal while Verizon is CDMA. I do have a friend that refuses to switch his phone from Verizon after 5 years here and he does complain of bad service on occasion and the fact that he is always “roaming” but hasn’t gotten charged outrageous fees.

      So if you are wanting only voice and text you should be ok for the most part but data coverage will be very slow.

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