How to Check a Phone Number’s Availability: A Complete Guide

Cindy Ellis - May 23, 2023

rotary phone with flowers and books

Everyone has a unique phone number they use to make phone calls, send text messages, and receive calls/texts. Because everyone has a unique number, it’s possible that some numbers aren’t available. There are some exceptions where people may have the same phone number but not the same area code, which may work in your favor.

Regardless of why you’re interested, checking a phone number’s availability before making a trip down to the phone store will save you a lot of time.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to check the availability of a phone number. Plus, you may not know where to look. Thankfully, we have you covered. We’ll show you what determines a phone number’s availability as well as how to find information about a phone number. Read on to learn more about how to find a phone number’s availability below.

How Phone Number Availability Works

Phone numbers are assigned by phone providers based on the area (area code) and a pool of available phone numbers. Numbers that are no longer in use may enter the pool again after an allotted period if they’re not registered.

Phone providers won’t assign phone numbers to the same people, so once a number is being used it remains in use. For most situations, this is how phone number availability works.

Can People Have the Same Phone Number?

In most situations, no, someone can’t have the same phone number as you. Phone providers are careful and ensure that two people don’t get the same phone number. Doing so would cause many complications and open people up to scams and other problems.

However, for local numbers and businesses, it’s possible that two numbers will be the same or very similar. Still, there’s usually no need to worry. If you notice that a phone number is in use, though, there isn’t a good chance that you’ll get it.

Can You Get Your Old Phone Number Back?

Yes, you can get your old phone number back. There’s a process of recycling numbers and it varies based on your region, provider, and other outside factors you can’t control.

In most cases, old phone numbers are placed into a pool until they’re reassigned. From there, if you don’t activate the number in time you won’t be able to get your old phone number back.

That said, if you’re fast enough you can check the availability and get your old phone number back. Plus, if you call the phone company and request your old number there’s a good chance they’ll give it to you.

How to Check a Phone Number’s Availability

There are a handful of tools you can use to check a phone number’s availability. We always recommend starting with our phone lookup tool. Learn more about each method below.

Phone Lookup Tools

Phone lookup tools allow you to find information about a phone number. They’re simple, easy to use, and only require a phone number. However, if you want to learn more about a person you may need some additional information, but most phone lookup tools don’t require any to be useful.

To use our phone lookup tool to check a phone number’s availability, follow the steps we list below.

  1. Navigate to our Phone Lookup tool.
  2. Enter the phone number you want to check.
  3. Select Search.
  4. Scroll through the results until you find the matching number.
  5. Open the Full Report to learn more about it.

If you don’t find information when you search for a phone number, it’s safe to assume that it’s not currently in use. However, you may find some phone numbers that were in use but are currently not in use. These phone numbers are also available in some cases.

Contact a Phone Service Provider

Contacting a phone service provider will also get you the answers you’re looking for. You might want to visit the store in person for the best results but you can always call a phone store. Some of the best phone providers to contact about this include T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T because they’re some of the largest service providers in the United States. Depending on who you contact, you can get some answers pretty quickly.

That said, contacting a phone provider is a huge hassle. You’re better off running a quick search with a phone lookup tool. You’ll save more time and sometimes even money. Plus, you won’t have to deal with a salesman or customer service representative.

Reassigned Numbers Database

Another way to determine if a phone number is available is to check if the phone number has been reassigned. This method works best when you’re trying to get your old phone number back or if you’re unsure about who’s calling you.

To determine if a number has been reassigned you can use the Reassigned Numbers Database. The database is hosted and commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is a federal governing agency for phone numbers.

This database is a great tool but only in some situations. Plus, you’ll have to navigate through the database. While it’s a good database, it’s not as fast as our phone number lookup tool. Therefore, we only recommend using it when our tool isn’t helping in your specific situation.

Call the Phone Number

A fast way to determine if a phone number is in use is to call the number. Calling the phone number will prompt you with some type of response.

The person who uses the number may answer the phone or you could be directed to a voice mailbox. Alternatively, you can text the number and see if they write you a message back. You may also get responses that suggest the number you’re calling is no longer in use. In these cases, the number might be available.

Calling the phone number is a good way to check availability but it’s not perfect. It’s an uncomfortable phone call to have if you don’t know the person, and it may be a waste of time if the number is in use.

This method is also not 100% accurate. For example, you may get an error message but the number is still being used. For these reasons, we recommend using a phone lookup tool to start.

Check a Phone Number’s Availability Today makes it easy to find the availability of a phone number. The only thing you have to do is enter the phone number into the phone lookup tool. Plus, once you get more information, you can run public records searches and all other types of searches with our search tools.

If you struggle to find information about a phone number with our tools, then it’s time to contact a phone service provider. They’ll be able to give you more information about your specific issue. There are also plenty of federal databases you can check if you need help getting your old phone number back. Depending on your situation, these are all viable options.

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