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If the company pays for a cell phone for an employee (including the monthly service fees), and then that employee decides to leave for another job, can the employee take the phone number with them?

Is this a reasonable request for the employee to make when leaving?

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    I suspect this answer will come down to how the company agreement with the cell phone provider works.. – enderland Aug 2 '13 at 0:30
  • was the number yours before you joined the company and they just reimbursed you, or was it their number and you just were assigned the number and phone. – mhoran_psprep Aug 2 '13 at 0:31
  • @mhoran_psprep The number did not belong to the employee before the phone was assigned. – ChipJust Aug 2 '13 at 0:32
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    If that number has been used to contact customers of the company, then chances are they do not want you to receive calls intended for the company after switching jobs. If it was just a perk and/or used for internal communication with your team, it may be something they grant, and the worse thing that can happen is you ask and they say no. – jmac Aug 2 '13 at 0:49
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    @ChipJust - Whom ever signed the contract and paid for the phone is the person who owns the number. In the end it would be based on the contract itself. Its not a resonable request if the employee didn't pay for anything connected to the account. – Donald Aug 5 '13 at 12:46
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It depends entirely on the company's policy.

For example, I had a company-paid cell phone and account at a previous job. When I left, I took the number with me -- but only because the company decided to let me do so. (Now if I could just get my former employer's name to stop showing up on caller ID.)

There could be legitimate reasons for the company not to do so. For example, if people inside or outside the company expect to call that number and discuss company-confidential information, the company might not want let the employee keep the number. In that sense, it could be like an e-mail address.

Is this a reasonable request for the employee to make when leaving?

Yes, it's a perfectly reasonable request. And either "Yes" or "No" is a perfectly reasonable answer.

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Because that number was never owned by the employee they should not expect to be allowed to keep that number.

The company may want to assign that number to the employees replacement. Or they want to be able to forward that number to the replacement. Or they may want to just leave a information message on the number.

The company doesn't even have to justify to the employee why they want to retain the number. That phone number is a corporate asset, and they have the right to control that asset.

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