I happened to have an old, deactivated Samsung Galaxy S3 lying around and an active one whose screen just went dark. Searches on how to transfer the phone number led to a lot of dead ends and frustration. So i winged it based on common sense.
I suppose this trick will work on any set of closely related phones that use SIM cards, but the best chance of success is to have identical phones.
After trying to call *228, taking out the battery and finding and noting my IMEI number in the end I just decided to swap the SIM and SD cards. And that worked!
So that makes the hardest part of this just getting the SIM cards out, and that’s not too hard at all. I used this video as a guide, though I think this guy must have had contact glue on his fingers to get that thing out so easily!
I doubt that the apps came over, but the phone number immediately worked, which is my primary focus right now.
Swapping SIM and SD cards permitted me to move a Verizon phone number from a malfunctioning Samsung Galaxy S3 to one that had been deactivated. I did not need to note ESID numbers, call Verizon support or do anything else whatsoever. I don’t think it was even necessary to move the SD card, but perhaps by doing so some of the pictures and application data will be available on the new phone.
References and related
Helpful Youtube video.