Do Phone Numbers Expire? Do You Have To Worry About Losing Your Digits?

By Jake McEvoy •  Updated: 04/20/22 •  5 min read

Much more often than not, when we upgrade our phones, we choose to keep the same phone numbers we’ve always had. This saves a lot of hassle over having to contact everyone and tell them we have a new number. Will the digits we’re devoted to eventually expire, though? Let’s take a look…


“Who’s this?”, your nan will ask, even though your message says “Hi Nan, It’s Jake on a new number”.

A new cellphone number can be a real pain, especially when you have to call every person in your life merely to let them know about it, only for them to dismiss the message since it comes from an unidentifiable number.

Then, the next time you see them, they ask why you’ve been ignoring their messages.

For this reason, it’s much easier just to keep your phone number each time you acquire a new phone.

The problem is, not only does everyone above the age of what seems to be around 9 years old have their own mobile phone, but we’ve also become used to updating our phones on a yearly basis in order to keep up with the most recent models available on the market.

Do Phone Numbers Expire? Do You Have To Worry About Losing Your Digits?
  • Save

On top of that, an increasing number of youngsters are reaching the age when they are permitted to have their own mobile phones, and an increasing number of senior persons are embracing the new era of technology, resulting in an increase in the number of mobile numbers necessary.

When it comes to upgrading, something I’m personally guilty of (as are many others) is that I always stick with the same network since it’s the quickest and most convenient method to do so. Since I was approximately 15 years old, I’ve had the same phone number as a consequence of this.

Isn’t it true, however, that there is a limited quantity of phone numbers that are available? What happens when they’re completely depleted? Do people’s identification numbers expire after a certain period of time?

Can Our Phone Numbers Eventually Expire?

It’s true our phone number can eventually expire – but only if we haven’t used it for a long time. No matter how long we’ve been using the same number, it will not expire as long as we do continue to actively use it.

Simply remember to perform a chargeable action every 179 days (approximately 6 months) to prevent your SIM from going into hibernation due to inactivity. This includes making a chargeable call or text, topping up, or purchasing a Pack or Add-on, rather than simply using your minutes, texts, or data from any Pack or Add-on you may have.

When it comes to mobile contracts, you’re actively paying for your airtime every month, so there is no need to worry about ever losing your beloved digits.

The only issue that may arise here, is if you fail to pay your contract. In this case, you can lose your phone number and you will also have to pay off the remainder of any device plans.

Is Reusing Expired Phone Numbers Safe?

The use of mobile devices has become an integral part of our everyday life. So many parts of our daily lives are influenced by mobile phones.

When phone numbers expire, they’re then redistributed to a new person. The privacy of individuals and businesses is then jeopardised since it allows for the use of phone numbers in identity theft and other sorts of fraud.

Previously owned phone numbers have been used by fraudsters to gain access to password-protected services. People-search services have been used to track down private information connected with phone numbers, such as the user’s name and location.

Some hackers utilise SIM switching as a technique of gaining access to systems. When a criminal gains possession of a victim’s phone number, any accounts that utilise that number to verify the owner’s identification are forced to change their passwords and communicate those credentials to the criminal.

Scammers and fraudsters prize mobile phone numbers because they are used to identify people when they log into their accounts and change their passwords. A criminal does not need all of the security details to get into a victim’s account. They just need to get the phone number and use the two-factor authentication mechanism, which relies on text message security codes, to reset the password.

How Can We Stay Safe If Our Phone Numbers Expire?

While the world may not be able to keep pace with the growing need for phone numbers, there are steps you can do to avoid being a victim of fraud or identity theft if your phone number expires.

The first is just keeping note of the sites and services we join up for using our phone number, and ensuring that we update our phone number on these accounts if and when we receive a new one.

Wherever possible, use Google Authenticator or other secure means of verifying your identity that does not need the use of a phone number. Use your mobile phone number for identification as little as possible, and only for crucial accounts when you have no other choice.

If you discover questionable behaviour after getting a new phone number, act fast, especially if you have concerns about access to certain accounts. Contact your account provider as soon as possible to alert them of the situation.

Finally, when switching to a new service provider, ask whether you may maintain your old phone number from your previous carrier. Some companies provide this as an option to new customers.

This also saves you the hassle of having to update your contact information on all of your social and commercial networks. In the same boat are business owners that need to update their advertising materials. It’s better to maintain the same corporate phone number for new recruits rather than acquiring a new one when it comes to workplace phone numbers.

  • Save

Jake McEvoy

Jake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap