Switching Carriers and Unable to port number

I'm not sure if this is the right forum, so apologies in advance if it is.

My wife is currently with Sprint (has been for 14 years). To make a long story really short, she made the decision to switch to Verizon, due to some service issues, and billing issues, and she could get a better deal with Verizon. The problem we encountered was when they went to port the phone number, they couldn't, because it was with a local wireless provider. She has never been a subscriber of the local wireless provider. The only thing we could figure, was that Nextel and the local wireless provider were partnered together around the time my wife signed up with Sprint (around the same time as the whole sprint/nextel merger), and that this must have been the source of this.

So my question is, do we have any options on keeping her phone number? The closest thing I can come up with is if Sprint has some sort of service to simply hold a number and forward all calls/texts to another without providing cellular service, but I don't know if they do (kind of like a google voice number). Somehow, we can also switch to AT&T if there are any options along that route, but my wife doesn't want to use them.

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