PTel and started the process of moving its services and customers to the T-Mobile network.
Changing from Sprint, a CDMA based operator, to T-Mobile which uses GSM is a big deal. It means that PlatinumTel customers need a SIM and a new phone and their numbers need to be ported from Sprint's network to T-Mobile's.
PTel has been easing the transition with free phones and discounted airtime and has been doing ports from CDMA to GSM for over seven months. A month ago they announced that their Sprint based CDMA service would shut down Aug 26th. Customers who don't migrate by August 25 will lose service.
Up to now the port process has been at least partially manual with customers needing to call PTel to port. With the deadline fast approaching, PTel's phone support has been getting swamped, with users reporting busy signals and long hold times. Today PTel launched an online migration portal at ptelc2g.com to speed up and simplify the process.
I was one of those procrastinating PlatinumTel CDMA customers but I just used the migration portal to initiate my port. Before you start will need to have a Ptel SIM. I ordered one last month so I figured I should be good to go.
The migration site loads quickly and works smoothly for the most part. However I encountered one glitch, or maybe it's a revenue generating feature. The migration form asks for an airtime PIN number. A current customer would normally have either a PAYGO balance or an active monthly plan, so there should be no need to add airtime. For PAYGO customers topping up sooner than they need to will also result in a loss of paid for service days. The web form won't let you leave the PIN field blank.
A user posted on PTel's Facebook page that PTel customer support told them to enter all zeros in the field if they didn't want to add a PIN. I entered 14 zeros and the form submitted. PTel representatives on the Facebook page are saying that users need to contact PTel to manually transfer balances from CDMA to GSM. I suspect that when my port completes my GSM phone won't work because I will have a zero balance in my PTel GSM account. That doesn't bother me as I have another non-PTel phone that I will use during the transition.
If you are counting on you PTel GSM phone working immediately after the transition, I recommend either adding a PIN on the migration form or initiating your migration by sending a Facebook message to PTel at www.facebook.com/messages/ptelmobile or by calling them at 866-225-5631. Be sure to indicate that you want them to transfer your balance at the time of migration.
Migration is supposed to take 24 to 72 hours, I'll update this post when it does.
Update: My migration to GSM completed in 48 hours. My CDMA phone worked up to the time that service switched over to GSM. I did had to create a new My Account online profile but that went smoothly. PTel transfered my pay as you go balance and expiration data to the GSM account.
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