When I last wrote about H2O Wireless, our kids dirt cheap mobile carrier, I mentioned that our daughter’s texting costs were bringing the monthly H2O fee close to the $25/month device fee on Emily and my AT&T account.
The move has come sooner than I’d expected, because in the process of debugging her iPhone  with some SIM swaps we lost all data access. I tried contacting H2O wireless to see if they had a fix, but I couldn’t get through. I didn’t try too hard — the H2O web site is increasingly clear that prepaid plans aren’t supposed to have data access. I figured we were living on borrowed time.
Our first attempt at porting failed though. I did it at an AT&T retail store; they had the impression we couldn’t port an AT&T MVNO number to AT&T because the porting software wasn’t designed for that use case.
i was going to let things lie for a bit, but then my daughter started getting 2-3 AT&T texts a day demanding she finish her porting. When I called up to stop the bloody things I was transferred to the “porting department’, where I ran into one of those miraculous people who actually know how things work.
Turns out the problem was not the MVNO to AT&T port. The problem is that nobody knows what the account number is for an H2O Wireless prepaid account. H2O’s correspondence and web site imply it’s either the phone number for the H2O phone or my phone number associated with the master account and credit cards.
Wrong. The account number is the SIM Card number, known to iOS settings or iTunes as the ICCID number. In addition you need to know a “passcode”, which is typically the last 4 digits of the ICCID number (supposedly customers can change this, but I’ve never seen that).
My AT&T porting center expert tells me the port is now authorized, so it’s back to the AT&T store to complete the process and pick up a new SIM. I’m told her number will continue to work until that final step is taken.
 An old 32GB iPhone 4S we fondly call the “DemonPhone”. It has been my primary tech support pain for years — possibly due to occult hardware issues, but also due to Apple’s bugs, DRM flaws, and hacked together online services. H2O hasn’t necessarily helped; adding a low quality and low service mobile carrier to a buggy phone puts the D in Demon.